You Were Not The Same After That (Ben Folds and WASO review)


25. Aug. 2006, 15:18

Just got back from seeing Ben Folds with The West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth. I went with a few uni friends. We were sitting a fair bit back, row V and right over on the side. Ben knows how to put on a show. He kicked off with Jesusland after being carried out on the back of the conductor. not my favourite song but with the orchestra it just blew me away, really fantastic. After that song people started yelling, as they usually do at his concerts, however the majority of people seemed to be obnoxious upper class nitwits. Ben Folds explained that some people in the audience wanted to yell and blow shit up (ie me) where as this wasn't the usual sort of place for that. He then went on to play Zak And Sara which was also very well done but this lack of audience activity completely ruined at least the first half of the concert. Ben Folds is renowned for his participation with the audience but for the first half of the show it was non-existent.

He played [track artist=Ben Folds Five]Philosphy[/track and did a wicked solo for that where people started to get into it and clap while he was still playing. Things started to pick up when someone yelled “[track artist=Ben Folds]Rock This Bitch[/track]” after he finished and some others (including myself) joined in. Ben explained Rock This Bitch to the people who hadn't been there last year (or heard of it on Ben Folds Live) and told us that he would not be rocking this year's bitch. Instead he played for us a song he wrote yesterday called Perth. If someone has a recording of this please please please send it to me. It was awesome. Basically it was about hippies in Freo and how far away we are from pretty much everything else. He played [track artist=Ben Folds]Adelaide which as aright right after and at some point later then played [track artist=Ben Folds]All You Can Eat[/track] by himself without the orchestra. I love that song and he did it really well. How ever while he was playing this song (also during [track artist=Ben Folds]Gracie[/track] earlier on) that a lot of people there weren't familiar with his works.

This proved to be disappointing with songs that usually go really well with the crowd. He played [track artist=Ben Folds]Not The Same[/track] where he normally gets people to do the harmony for it. By the second chorus he gave up on us and waited until the end of the song to get it going again when he could tell us to damn well sing. Again during the encore where he played [track artist=Ben Folds]Army[/track] and tried to get a human horn section it didn't work (I swear that Kate, myself and the two girls on the other side of her were the only ones singing along to that song.) The other encore song was [track artist=Ben Folds]The Luckiest[/track] which I thought was a really great closing song for him.

He tried to get the audience involved telling many antidotes about the songs before playing them, most about the songs, some about other factors such as him and the conductor agreeing that American's have big arses'. However the audience just weren't into it, I guess most of them aren't used to his kind of show. So in conclusion: Ben was awesome. The audience annoyed me. I must see him again in a more lively setting. While playing with WASO was a unique experience and I'm very glad that I went, I had a good time but I fell that if you enjoy an artist, especially someone who is usually loud like Ben is you have to show them by being loud right back. Again, if anyone has that Perth song he made up can I please have a copy. The only other thing that I would've prefered is if he played some of his more rockier songs, and more from Ben Folds Five but that wasn't really possable due to the audience.


  • schtef

    He played a Perth song?!?! When I saw him on Wednesday he apologised for not having a Perth song and was like I'll write one tomorrow... and he did! I'm pretty sure that was the first time it was ever played so I doubt anyone has a copy of it! We did the harmonies for 'Not the Same' and I could tell people were singing but we just got drowned out by the orchestra and Mr. Folds - the acoustics of the Concert Hall are based that way. When they finally stopped playing and he did the conducting of the audience's voices you could actually hear us! It was a different crowd but I still thought it was a good show.

    27. Aug. 2006, 1:48
  • Grantsetsfire

    I was at the same show and felt exactly the same way. What pissed me off the most was when all the snobby types got up and left. I heard them complaining about his use of the word fuck. Why did those people bother turning up considering it meant that maybe people who would made the atmosphere a lot more fun couldnt get in. Was no where near as much fun as the outdoor one last year. Ben was still amazing as usual hopefully next year he will come back and play by himself wieth his band.

    3. Sep. 2006, 8:37
  • M3gaBight

    I thought his use of the word fuck was awesome. It felt like he was defiling the place.

    3. Sep. 2006, 12:40
  • ChudleyCannons

    Man. So jealous. I'd like to see him with a Symphony, however, I don't think I'd like to lose the personal shows. Nice review. Sorry the crowd sucked. That happens from time to time. And he doesn't play a whole lot of Ben Folds Five songs anymore. Army. Brick. Philosophy. Narcolepsy. One Angry Dwarf. An ocasional Pyser or Last Polka. I've seen Kate once. Same with: Emaline. Mess. DCYP. Missing the War. Evaporated. Bizzare Christmas Incident. All in the last year. But, it's more like here's a random two or three for you today. If you get a recording of that Perth song, I'd love to get ahold of it too. I've heard about it, but I haven't heard of a recording. On either the .com, .org or thesuburbs....

    4. Sep. 2006, 9:16
  • splintax

    didn't end up going, but some of my friends did. Sounds like it was great, suppose I should go next time :/ I don't really like most of his newer stuff though.

    4. Sep. 2006, 15:30
  • ellycopter

    i'm seeing him play with the sydney symphony tonight, i'm really looking forward to it. i'm not all too familiar with ben folds five songs, not as much as his solo stuff anyway, but it should be a lot of fun anyway. the show i'm going to is at the opera house so i suspect the audience may be similar to what you described here. apparently in the sydney morning herald this morning there was an article about him where he said he was going to try and limit swearing during tonight's show, probably because of the reaction at shows such as yours. but i guess an opera house show audience would just be like that. i'd like to see him alone without the orchestra, but i reckon the orchestra should add an interesting effect if nothing else. unfortunately last time he was here i wasn't really a fan yet so i missed out on that. but it should be good anyway. anyway, great review. after the show tonight i'll probably write a review as well, you should add me on here by the way cause you've got good taste. :]

    6. Sep. 2006, 4:16
  • CHumPy2

    obnoxious upper class nitwits - You go too far. The people who may fit in the bracket of upper class were probably just the supporters of WASO, and without their support, events like this might not be have started. Another point - Do you forget that you are upper class? I also question your interest in the music when you place such a high emphasis on audience involvement. Sure it's good to sing when he asks you to sing, but I was there to hear him and WASO, not the audience. Also on that note, do you think perhaps because you were sitting towards the back you missed some of the audience's noise? I was towards the front/middle range of seating, and while it was obvious not everyone was singing, there was a fair bit of volume coming through.

    14. Sep. 2006, 4:22
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