Last night, I was excited to get photo credentials to shoot Ben Folds Five at Chicago Theater.
I’m a long-time fan. My brother introduced me to them after his band opened for them back in 1999 or so. I’ve seen them live and seen Ben Folds solo.
As a photographer, you only get three songs to shoot, and I always hope for at least one favorite. But last night, BF5 didn’t play a favorite in the first three songs. They played three lame sleeper lullaby songs that made shooting from the wings of the theater even worse, because all I shot were variations of Ben’s different faces whilst singing and the one or tow variations of the bass and drummer.
I don’t always think straight when photographing, but only one opener was familiar, and I can’t remember what it was. I was singing along behind my viewfinder, though.
As soon as our three songs were up, they blasted into Philosophy as if to say, “Fuck you, Photographers! Now we’ll stand up and bang around.” Then they followed that with “Selfish, Cold and Composed.”
They played a new song that kicked ass. Ben stood up and said, “Those of you who have seen the set so far have accused me of a Catholic service: standup sitdown standup sitdown.”
It got a laugh.
He played one song with muffles in the piano wires that took him about 2 minutes to awkwardly place them. One song, Ben had to count off explaining that he doesn’t have the new song in muscle memory yet.
The concert felt more strained than strong. There were a few people who were really into it. There’s nothing as funny as couples who are headbanging to his music, because they have no idea how to move to piano-lead rock and roll.
BF5 is playing on Colbert tonight so be sure to check it out. I heard the song they’re playing, and then left.
Hopefully, the tour will pick up steam, because it really can’t get any worse.