Kalamazoo - 4/26/14

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Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:59:22 PM »
Just got my tickets.  Definitely excited for this show.  Seen several good concerts in K-Zoo, but never at Chenery.  It's a old high school auditorium, but looks gorgeous!

http://www.cheneryaud.com/

As a side note, I've been looking for years for an excuse to go back to Food Dance and Bell's, now I have a legitimate reason to make the drive!


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Offline jpar

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 07:36:12 PM »
Steph, Brooke, Chloe, and myself all have tickets to the show as well. See ya there!

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Offline melissa

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 08:17:21 AM »
WAH!  I want to follow Ben around again.  i'm nostalgic for 2008.
and i'm so high not even you and all your love could bring me down

http://www.last.fm/user/foldsisgod/

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Offline Allison

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 09:57:46 AM »
WAH!  I want to follow Ben around again.  i'm nostalgic for 2008.
:'( likewise. 2008 we went to SO SO SO SO SO many shows.
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2014, 10:36:32 PM »
Holy crap, this was a ridiculous show!  Ben played the majority of the set going chronologically though his career, basically telling his life story between every song.  In the 19 times I've seen him live since 1997, this was without a doubt the most I've heard him talk during one show.  Second weird thing, this show was kicking off a month long piano festival; I'd estimate that 2/3 of the crowd were middle aged or older and simply had season tickets.  Overheard a ton of people saying before the show, "I've never heard of this guy before."  So that sets the tone for what happened next...

On stage - 8:00pm

1.) Effington

Told the story of Effington.  Said that the mayor of Effingham, IL has offered him a free burial plot in the town.  Explained that he wrote the next song (Kalamazoo) when he was 19.  He briefly lived in Traverse City during the Majosha years, thought Kalamazoo had an interesting name.  Said he'd only play part of the song because he thought the rest was "unbearably boring."

2.) Kalamazoo (abandoned before the rock section)

Said at the time he was really proud of himself because Kalamazoo had a lot of chords in it.  Mentioned that he briefly dated a girl who went to Western Michigan University (in Kalamazoo) and that they broke up at a mall.  Introed "Video" by saying that it was written at about the same time as Kalamazoo.

3.) Video

Said he considered the next song to be a breakthrough in his songwriting.  Said he'd been writing songs since he was a kid, but that they had titles like, "It's Cool to Have 2 Dicks."  He was about to try to play some of his childhood songs but stopped

4.) Emaline

Ben called Majosha a "white funk band."  Said they chose the name because some guy told them that it was a Native American word for "dick."  Majosha got invited to open for some guy who was a lot like Prince, but Ben thought he was above the band and quit.  So instead, he opted to play bass for that guy and then open for him as a solo piano act.  He wrote a bunch of the songs on the first BFF album to prep for that show.  Said he had long hair at the time and thought it was funny to play the opening set with his long hair, then go backstage and shave his head with a Bic razor before coming out to play bass for the other guy.  The next song was written for that gig

5.) Jackson Cannery

There were a bunch of record execs at the show who were there to see the other guy, but the show resulted in Ben getting all the offers.  Ben thought he'd start a bidding war, so he turned them all down.  He scheduled a show in a hotel lounge to court more record execs, got an electric piano and hired two professional musicians to back him.  The show was "the third worst show I've ever played" and he lost all the offers.  At that point he moved to Nashville and lived on the floor of an apartment shared with Keith Urban and some guy who wrote songs for Eric Clapton.  Ben got a songwriting deal while he was there.  He said he would intentionally make his demos sound sh*tty because he arrogantly wanted to "save the magic for the studio."  Other musicians heard his demos, copied his songs, and made better sounding demos that actually got bought.  His publishing company also hated his demos, but offered him $20K to play drums for a Christian rock band.  Between that and his publishing deal, he figured selling out would net him $40-50K/year, so he accepted the offer and moved out to LA, but then quit after a week and a half.  Said the other guys in the band always fought over who got to ride shotgun.  Ben then moved to New York and joined an off Broadway theatre troupe.  Said he played in the same club as Jeff Buckley.  Jeff played on Monday nights, Ben played on Tuesdays.  Ben begged Jeff to let him play drums in Jeff's band, but Jeff declined.  However, these gigs resulted in him getting noticed by the record execs who were there scouting Jeff Buckley.  Ben then moved to Chapel Hill and met Robert and Darren.  They met in January, played their first gig in March, then had a record out by the end of the year.  Said that all the songs on the first album he had previously demoed.  The next song, however, was one of the first songs he wrote specifically for the band.  Said he thought up this story about a guy kidnapping all of the people that were sh*tty to him earlier in life, ducktaping their mouths and keeping them in a basement and telling them one by one what they did to him.  He played the song based on this story for a friend who told him that the song and the story didn't match up at all, so then he rewrote it into what ultimately became OAD.

6.) OAD

Said he rewrote OAD in the truck that BFF rented.  Darren got annoyed with him trying to finish the song, took Ben's songwriting notebook, angrily scribbled a single paragraph, thew it back and said, "there are your f*cking lyrics."  Darren had just been joking, but when Ben ran out of song ideas he went back to the notebook and put music to Darren's words.  Said that the guy who drove the truck (Trey) was his unemployed next door neighbor who just sat around watching Rockford Files reruns all day.  Said they were so broke that the bank repossessed the first Baldwin piano about 3 times.  Also introduced Frank Maynard and explained the history of the Magical Armchair.

7.) Song for the Dumped

8.) Steven's Last Night in Town (w/ drum set ending)

Said that all of their friends at the time hated Brick when they first heard the band rehearse it.

9.) Brick

Explained the story of Cigarette.  Said it was the last song recorded for WAEA.  He recorded it himself at 4 or 5 AM after the band left.  Revealed the name of the Nashville newspaper (now defunct) that he got the article from.  Said that the lyrics weren't printed in the WAEA booklet because they were nervous about getting sued for copyright infringement.

10.) Cigarette

BFF toured for 2 years straight on WAEA and the success of Brick, then did "what any respectable 90's band would do: record an album that couldn't possibly have any hit singles."  Ben said he thought of the concept for TUBORM while walking through the woods while on tour.  Said he initially saw it as one continuous 45 minute song.  Said that first Darren, then Robert, then Caleb each took him out to lunch to convince him not to do that.  Said Narcolepsy isn't literally about falling asleep, but about white males emotionally checking out in unhappy relationships.

11.) Narcolepsy

So BFF broke up and Ben moved to Australia.  Said he was terrified of flopping with his solo debut, so he forced himself to songwrite every single day for nine straight months in preparation for the album.  Also said he had been injured for a long time and it got to the point where he was falling down a lot and basically had to spend half of each day in bed.  Eventually got surgery.  Explained that RtS was released on 9/11 and that he was playing a radio gig in D.C. when the Pentagon got hit and he felt really awkward about playing the silliest song on the album in the middle of a national tragedy.  Continuing the chronological setlist, he played the first song he wrote for the album.

12.) Annie Waits

Explained that Louis and Gracie are twins but have separate birthdays because Louis was born before midnight and Gracie was born after.  Said he's been asked a lot about the seemingly high price of the roast beef combo in the song and said that you need to factor in the exchange rate from US to Aus.

13.) Still Fighting It

Ben toured RtS for a year with a band made up of a bunch of his friends.  After the tour though he couldn't afford to keep them around as his permanent band, so he was more or less forced due to finances to tour solo for 3 years.  He then did 3 EPs, each of which got to #1 on the iTunes charts.  Said his management tried to convince him that iTunes was a bad career move.  Introduced All U Can Eat by saying that the lyrics were things that his dad has said over the year that he pieced together.

14.) All U Can Eat

Described his approach to SfS as "wanting to making an album where I whisper on every song."

15.) Jesusland

Said that while recording SfS, Sony went through a management change and the new president was an "old school" record exec.  Ben kept submitting SfS, but the guy kept rejecting it as "unfinished."  Ben explained that this is actually an old record label trick, where they will reject a completed album over and over to irritate the artist into desperately pumping out silly, simple songs just to get the record accepted.  The label then ultimately accepts and uses the silly, simple songs as the singles.  Said this exec did the same thing to Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Aerosmith.  After a lot of back-and-forth with the exec, Ben asked him what Elton John he'd like him to rip-off and the guy said Tiny Dancer.  Ben said he got so disgusted with himself writing Landed that he kicked over all the music stands and told the recording engineers that "this is the worst song Bob Seger has ever written."  Said he's actually like to thank the record exec because the trick worked and in retrospect resulted in a really good song.  Also said that after the album got released, the guy who was doing Sony' radio promotion got caught up in the payola scandal and as a result, all the songs he was promoting (Landed included) got pulled from the air.  Ben said he likes to image that it could have been a massive hit otherwise.

16.) Landed

Ben basically admits that WtN is a bad album, but that he doesn't consider it a total failure because it has 2 or 3 decent songs on it.  Said he was going through a lot of bad stuff at the time and ended up writing a lot of pissed off sounding songs.  Also said that the producer, Dennis Herring, was also going through some bad times and that as a result there was a lot of tension in the studio and they were mean to each other.  Ben said that for You Don't Know Me, Dennis tried very hard to get Brittney Spears to do the female vocal, but she turned it down.  Ben said he got Regina to come in, but she had recently broken her ankle and had to sing standing with crutches.  Dennis made her do "about 80 takes."  Ben ultimately locked Dennis out of the studio and spiced together the female part using bits and pieces of Regina's best takes.  Dennis was not pleased.  Ben made a point of saying that Dennis is actually a really nice guy and an amazing producer who he really respects, and that any bad vibes during that album were more a result of the personal problems each of them was going through at the time than any actual conflict between the two.

17.) You Don't Know Me

At this point Ben started running out of time to keep up the chronological setlist and started taking requests.

18.) Rock this Bitch, Kalamazoo (by request)

After the song, Ben made a point of addressing past accusations of being a misogynist, explaining that Bitch Went Nuts is the only song he plays with the word "Bitch" in it that he actually wrote himself.  Clarifies that Give Judy My Notice has bitch in it, but that he was calling himself bitch so it's ok.  Explains that Song for the the Dumped was written by Darren and Bitches Ain't Shit was written by Dr. Dre.  Bitches Ain't Shit then got requested.  Ben said he's doesn't play it anymore because it was attracting an audience of his own and he wasn't comfortable with that.  Said he'd play it only if the audience would sing the second verse.  Also told a story about playing a show at a Christian college in the South where after signing the contract for the show, the school secretly wrote in a clause saying he couldn't play that song, then tried to hold him to it even though he hadn't agreed to it.  The president of the college wrote an open letter to Ben asking him not to play it and referenced Ben's kids in the letter.  Said he received death threats over the possibility of playing the song, had to get a police escort to and from the airport.  Played the song anyway.

19.) Bitches Ain't Shit - Sure enough, a few people in the audience awkwardly sang the second verse.  I can't stress enough how hilariously awkward this whole song was.  Keep in mind, the audience was mostly older people who had never heard Ben's work before.  For the third verse, Ben sang the melody, but changed every word to "bitch."  In the middle of the song Ben started laughing in embarrassment and said, "I'm on The Sing Off on NBC."

20.) Army (by request)

Encore:
21.) Evaporated (by request)

22.) Piano Concerto, 1st Movement (excerpt) - said that he's recording it for his new album and is basing the rest of the album off of the concerto.

23.) Not the Same

Exit stage - 10:15pm

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Offline PianaRules

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 01:11:13 AM »
 :D Wow! Thanks so much for this, basically like being there, amazing rundown! I was seeing all the commotion on Twitter this morning about this amazing, career defining show (I was just going to sleep when he went onstage, damn timezones!) but this was a great, thorough report! Awesome and thanks!

 ;D

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Offline Sutter

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2014, 03:59:55 PM »
This show sounds awesome! Hope you had a great time. Damn I thought the Princeton setlist was amazing... wish I could've been there.

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Offline jpar

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 06:40:57 AM »
ViaChicago is absolutely correct. This was the best episode of Storytellers never filmed, and an absolute joy to attend.

"Bitches Ain't Shit" was probably the single most awkward concert experience ever, and probably for no one more than Ben. You could tell this was all he was thinking seconds after playing the first note:


Given the audience I'm doubtful a boot will surface, but if one does the Foldsverse will be a better place.

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Offline jpar

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 06:43:53 AM »
Found some great YouTube videos of a few songs from the show. https://www.youtube.com/user/Zigerdo

Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 07:02:03 AM »
dang, great write-up. sounds like a truly wonderful show. i'm jealous!

Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2014, 12:39:22 PM »
Thanks for the most awesome review viachicago!!! Sounds like a unique and great show! I'm off to Virginia Beach tomorrow night. I can't wait---will post a review shortly thereafter. Mike

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Offline vosnos

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 04:57:48 PM »
Wow thanks for the write-up, wish I was there.  Hope a boot pops up.

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Offline Prent

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2014, 12:21:15 PM »
Here's most of the drumming after Steven's Last Night in Town.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSCYniM9M4k

(Sorry, I held my phone the wrong direction, and it also vibrates at the 2 min mark  :( )

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Offline Allison

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Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 10:09:38 AM »
Seems like an absolutely incredible show
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

Re: Kalamazoo - 4/26/14
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2014, 11:26:24 AM »
Love all the "History Of Ben" details.  Leads me to think the show has to have been recorded and transcribed.  Or ViaChicago has a damn good memory.  So...where's the bootleg?