Ben Folds/Duncan Sheik - live in New York City (Cover Artwork)

Ben Folds / Duncan Sheik

live in New York City (2002)

live show

Friday, January 10th, 2002: Tonite's Ben Folds show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City was originally scheduled for December 4th, but because Ben caught pneumonia, the show was postponed. I actually got tickets to this show via Ebay, but the auction markup I paid on them was most definately justified.

Duncan Sheik really did not interest me. The guitarist who was accompanying him, Mick "something," was an excellent player though. He used an electronic "bow" on his guitar to create some funky sounds, as well as some different effects pedal combinations. Aside from my own personal musical tastes, the crowd did seem to warm up to Sheik's acoustic/electric guitar duo of hip pop. He ended with a Radiohead cover that everyone (minus myself) seemed to know the words too, and walked offstage admist loud cheering and squeals from the female population of audience.

Thirty minutes later, the guitars, amps, pedals, and un-necessary wires cleared from the stage, the man himself strode up to the piano and all hell broke loose. The crowd, a healthy mix of college-aged, middle-aged, and prepubescent-Sheik fans, leapt to feat and welcomed Ben Folds with a standing ovation. Seeming slightly embarrassed, Folds jumped onto his drum-stool-turned-piano-bench and broke into "Boxing," the first selection in his almost two-hour long set of old Five tunes, covers, and new solo material.

Halfway through the set, to accompany him on "Fred Jones Pt. 2," a song from Fold's newest solo album, Folds invited singer/songwriter Joe Jackson onstage to sing harmony with the piano man. The audience gave Jackson a warm reception, and the touching ballad was well received. Nearing the end of his set, Folds shocked the crowd when a floor tom was brought out by a stagehead, and an entire drumset was build around him. Folds jammed for a few minutes, and invited Jackson out onstage again, this time Jackson singing lead and tickling the ivories while Folds tackled the skins, showing the crowd his multi-talented abilities.

Following his drumming stint, Folds played one more song, a cover of "Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head," thanked the crowd for a great night, and strode offstage. But, this crowd was not leaving for any reason, there were stilll songs to be heard. At least five minutes of "balls-to-the-wall" standing ovations later, Folds walked back onto the stage, sat back at his Baldwin, and started right into his signature cover, Elton John's "Tiny Dancer". Following the cover, he segued into what has become the most popular Ben Folds Five song, the touching, somber ballad, "Brick". The close of this song brought the crowd once again to its collective feet, giving Folds yet another standing ovation. After a long, deserving strech of applause, Folds played his final song of the evening, the comical and popular, "Song for the Dumped," fresh in a minor key, which as Ben put it, is "how songs about being dumped should be".

Following his final song, Folds was treated to yet another well earned standing ovation. He thanked the crowd, said "Good Nite" and left. The house lights came on, and the crowd shuffled out in awe of the spectacle the just witnessed.

This was a show filled with amazing musicianship, audience participation, sing-a-longs, and almost two hours jam packed with Ben Folds Five and Folds' solo hits and crowd favorites.

He even covered George Michael. and Chopin. The man is a genius.