Ben Folds, House of Blues San Diego: 5/12/2010

There are a few shows I do not miss when they come through town (if I can help it). And two of them are in May this year: Nada Surf on May 24 at the Belly Up Tavern (yay!) and Ben Folds which happen on May 12 at the House of Blues.

My first thought about opening act Kate Miller-Heidke from Australia was, “Why her?” Once I got over the shock of her 80’s inspired red, sequined prom dress and her husband/guitarist, Keir Nuttall looking exactly like Ben Folds (well, at least from a distance), I realized she was an awesome match. Her vocals rivaled Ben folds skills on the piano. Classically trained but wildly creative, Kate throws her voice and captures you for the duration of her performance. Favorites of mine included “Caught in The Crowd” (which reached the top of the charts in her native land) and this awesome song:

Note: This version was filmed by VEVO @ SXSW 2010.

Ben Folds strolled on stage to his solo piano waiting for him to storm the hall. Starting out with “Annie Waits” and left us wanting and not waiting for more. Mixed into his set, he weaved stories of his life including the recent loss of one piano, some keyboards, amps and tapes due to the flooding in Nashville. And then took at least half of the set to satisfy requests. I managed to recall most of the set list from the evening (not necessarily in exact order… at all):

  1. “Annie Waits”
  2. “All You Can Eat”
  3. “Landed”
  4. “Bitch Went Nutz”
  5. “Army”
  6. “Not the Same”
  7. “Jesus Land”
  8. “Rockin’ the Suburbs”
  9. “Brick”
  10. “Still Fighting It”
  11. “Kate”
  12. “You Don’t Know Me” (w/ Kate Miller-Heidke)
  13. “Levi Johnston’s Blues”
  14. “Zak and Sara”
  15. “Morgan Davis”
  16. “The Ascent of Stan”
  17. “Carrying Cathy”
  18. “Steven’s Last Night in Town”
  19. “Fair”
  20. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces”

Some “of the best moments in his show included:

  • His drum solos  in “Steven’s Last Night Town” and “One Angry Dwarf”, where the techs built the drum kit around him.
  • “You Don’t Know Me” duet with Kate Miller-Heidke. Really, this was just too cool to describe. Well… Here it is from Indiana University last September.
  • The incredible fan base. I never actually wrote about any of the previous Ben Folds shows I have been to, but I have to say, they completely amaze me. He tours through San Diego once a year (maybe) and yet the fans know ALL of his albums PLUS all of the rarities. You know, the ones that aren’t officially released and tucked away under someone’s mattress (or perhaps drowning in a Nashville basement, ouch… to soon).

Another awesome show that I’m pretty sure many of you missed… or else you really should have come over to say “hi.” Next time I guess.


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