Studio711

Ben Folds In Tacoma

On Sunday night, Rachel and I headed for Tacoma to see Ben Folds. I haven't followed his tour closely, but he said it was the first time they had been this far west. I hope it isn't the last time!

Before I give a concert review, I should say two things:

  1. I leave just about every concert thinking, "That was the best concert ever."
  2. I have a man-crush on Ben Folds.

We didn't know what to expect when we pulled into the University of Puget Sound, but we were pleased to find free parking. Forty five minutes before the show, the line stretched all the way down the block. We got in line and it grew to fill up the next block. Thankfully the spitting rain held off so we didn't get soaked.

The concert was held on the floor of the basketball court. You could stand on the floor in front of the stage or sit in the elevated stands to the right and to the left. We eventually settled on stage left up in the stands.

Ben Lee opened the concert. You will probably recognize his song "Catch My Disease." He was on stage alone with his guitar and did a great job. For two songs, he used his iPod as the backup band. It's good to see artists not taking themselves too seriously. He also joked about his big break was being on the Deuce Bigalow soundtrack and how he got to kiss Tiffany Amber Theisen five times during his music video for "American Television."

Ben Folds headed out on stage and put on an incredible show. He played a good mix of old and new music including some of my favorites like "Zak and Sara", "Landed", and "Still Fighting It." He played the first song of his new album (coming out in September) called Hiroshoma. It's a song about the time he was playing a concert there, walked out on stage, and promptly fell off the front of the stage. In addition to being an amazing writer, the guy is an absolute magician with the piano. He spent about half the time standing up while playing (see the Zak and Sara video) and ended the concert when he threw his stool at the piano keys for the final notes. I feel like I could see that concert 100 times and never get tired of it. He is already the most-played artist on my Zune and he's going to get played even more after this concert.

Ben had a special guest come on stage for the end of one song. This remains a point of confusion for me. The acoustics weren't fantastic so I didn't hear the name of the guest clearly, and I wasn't sure I recognized him when he ran on stage. Ben repeated the name of the guy later during Rocking the Suburbs. At the time, I was pretty sure it was Moby. Rachel and I talked about it after the concert and she wasn't sure it was him. I put a message on Ben Folds's Facebook fan page asking who the guest was and somebody else at the concert was sure it was Moby. One random person on the Internet agreeing with me settled it in my mind until I read Moby's blog. He was in Iowa on Saturday night, but maybe he flew to Seattle on Sunday and was at the concert on Sunday night. I'm sticking with Moby until I find a better answer. You can see him in the fourth picture below and make your own conclusion.

Heads up Philly: Ben Folds will be at Drexel on May 10 and at the Mann Center on September 6.

[UPDATE] Ok, I'm now convinced that it really was Moby. Additional concert reports confirm it here and here.