Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, it’s a seedy place. Very dark and gangsta. It’s a scary place for a “hipster” and anyone else who isn’t adjusted to a place like this. This is the place where one of the most whitest musician’s out there. Entering the venue, The Tower Theater, one could notice the distinct variety in the audience. There were senior citizens, there were hipsters, there was preppy people, there was teenagers. Ben Folds has a way of reaching out to all these different demographics and bring them all together in the most dangerous town in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
Folds came with an opening act, California’s own Lady Danville. This came as a surprise to see Danville play again after seeing them open for Jack’s Mannequin back in April. The group came out almost dressed in the same way they were last time (if that’s the case then ew). The three piece pop group came out and performed a handful of songs including some new material. They even did “I Want You Back” which had the audience laughing.
After playing for a mere 25 minutes, including the stereotypical cover of MGMT’s Kids the band left stage, they played so much less than they did for Jack’s Mannequin. Sadly they only played for a short period of time but they were phenomenal nonetheless.
After a twenty minute wait the lights went down. The anticipation was building. The supporting band came out and they began to sing the chorus to “A Working Day” while everyone was screaming Ben Folds just casually strolled out onto the stage. Hitting several major chords on the piano he began to continue the first song of the night.
Following “A Working Day” Folds proceeded into a song about a cripple entitled “Doc Pomus” which he closed out with on a fast pace. At the end of the track he began to address the audience and talk about the following track. You rarely see an artist have the ability to converse so naturally with the audience. He discussed how the album was conceived and the next song was born, and then he played “Belinda” and the crowd roared with laughter after hearing the story.
Yep, that’s right. After “Belinda” Folds went on to talk about how he loves to cover songs and how he went on to iTunes so he would play the number one song. Guess what was number one, yep Kesha’s Sleazy. The song itself is disgusting and nasty but the way Folds performed it was amazing. He turned a trashy pop song into a hilarious rendition, just like Bitches Ain’t Shit.
Folds followed up his Slezy cover with an old track of his own entitled Gone. It was a nice way to slow things down after the cover track. The audience was slowly rocking back and forth to the keys that Folds was hitting on the piano. After the song he began to talk about how the next song was born before Way To Normal was released. How he was on mad pain pills and there was one news story in the news other than Britney Spears and then he played Cologne.
Following the slowness of this song it immedatiely picked back up as Folds began to play a track off the latest album called Saskia Hamilton. Catchy as fuck and a very danceable track especially live, there was a girl a few rows ahead of us who was wasted and was dancing like she was at a club. Redonk.
Folds then went back into the slow portion of the night by playing Bastard off of Songs for Silverman which had me singing along and my girlfriend looking lost and a little confused because I don’t think she ever heard that song but it’s one of my favorites off of that album so I was pleased as punch. Folds kept up the slow portion even more with a track from Rockin’ The Suburbs called Still Fighting It, you know that one song about growing up. Yeah great song, even better live. As he slowly moved on through the night I was wondering how long would he play and what would he and would he not play.
Folds went back into the new material with From Above which has a nice catchy ring to it and sounds all healthy and fun live. Following the end of the song he began to talk about the next song he was going to play but he was being heckled by fans screaming crazily Rock this Bitch. He was trying to set up the track off of Way To Normal called Effington, about how the messed up the name of the town and wrote a song called Effington about a town calling Effingham and how the mayor contacted him.
Right when I thought he was going to start up Effington he began to deviate from the planned program and began to improv on the spot. Improv is one of Folds’ strongest attributes, just look it up online. He began the Upper Darby rendition of Rock This Bitch. In the lyrics he made fun of the people for wanting to hear it and how it was like the 7000 time he’s been playing it. He was a good sport about it and followed it up with Effington.
Folds slowed it back down with a track off of Silverman called Landed. Following the slow mellow moment he began to sing a song about a little girl and her birthday, a song with the lyrics by Nick Hornby called Claire’s Ninth. Once that track ended Folds and his backing band followed up with Annie Waits off of Rockin’ The Suburbs and everyone was singing along, the old and the young.
Folds paused and began to explain how great of a writer Hornby was and how he was able to turn a song, like the next one, into a song about growing up from a totally and utterly random happenstance. That preceeded the Levi Johnston Blues which would lead him into a somber track called the Luckiest. He played the Levi Johnston Blues much faster until it reached the chorus. The Luckiest impressed my girlfriend and she turned to me and told me she actually liked that one. I was laughing because I wasn’t the biggest fan of that song (no offense).
I got lost with the next two tracks, I am about 90% sure they were pretty old Ben Folds Five tracks but I was so lost and confused. After this little block Folds went into another slow paced song from the new album called Practical Amanda. I’m not quite sure why Folds would go with the super fast and poppy songs then have a huge chunk of slow and mellow tracks.
He went into another Rockin’ The Suburbs song with Zak and Sara as the song started the audience knew what was gonna happen. As he reached the end of the song I was leaning towards the fact that Folds was going to end his show. He was up there for more than an hour and a half non stop drinking next to no water, but I was wrong as he played the first single off Way To Normal, You Don’t Know Me, without Regina Spektor.
Another old Ben Folds Five track was brought out that I was lost on. Folds was reaching the end of his show, you could tell, granted he still had a lot of material left but it was getting late sadly and the show had to come to an end. He closed out his set with Rockin’ The Suburbs and Not The Same, with both songs asking for audience participation. It was amazing how well the audience cooperated with him and did exactly what he said without him coarsing it from us.
As he audience stood up and clapped for a few minutes Folds came out for a 4 song encore. The first song was another Ben Folds Five track called My Philosophy. I had no clue what the two in the middle were but he closed out with another BFF track, Army. He thanked us for coming and then bowed and bam the show was over.
This was probably one of the best shows I had ever been to. He was very talkative with the audience and wasn’t a jerk like some artists are. He played old songs, the ones the audience wanted. it was a great night. Shame the merch guys didn’t have anything other than tees and posters and the album (I wanted a hoodie). I’d say for anyone who hasn’t seen him to go out of their way to see him in the future.