Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ben Folds @ Apple Store (Soho, NYC) - Thursday 10/20

Earlier tonight, I swung by the Soho Apple Store to see Ben Folds perform. Ben is out promoting his latest release, "The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective", which features live clips, b-sides, demos, etc. throughout Ben's career as a solo artist along with his band, Ben Folds Five.

I'd guess there were about 200 people there or so and Ben came out and immediately went right to the piano and played "Best Imitation of Myself", "Still Fighting It" (a favorite of mine) and "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces". I thought he sounded great although it was kind of a strange setting with a lot of background noise as the room was still busy with people shopping throughout the store.

The next part featured Ben and the artist who painted the cover (sorry, I couldn't quite get his name) getting asked a few questions from a moderator. The artist spoke how he actually bought a piano and destroyed it with a sledgehammer to complete his painting (album cover).

He also told a funny story about years ago loving Ben's music and creating a painting for him. He showed up to a concert in Dallas and met Ben's tour manager who brought him backstage after the show to give it to Ben. He said the funniest thing he remembered was that Ben was so excited that he yelled over to his mom (who happened to be on tour at that time) and how the artist was thinking, "wow, this is really backstage at a rock n' roll concert".... that got a bunch of laughs from the crowd.

Ben spoke a bit about putting together the album and how he had salvaged some old tapes from a flood down in Nashville where he had a whole piano damaged in his storage locker along with many tapes (he also mentioned his locker was next to Keith Urban who had a bunch of guitar damage). Ben also spoke about reuniting with his old bandmates Robert and Darren and how all three had written songs for the retrospective. There was a funny moment when one of stereos or sound docks in the store went off as somebody was playing with it, I think Ben made a pretty funny comment like, "that's messed up, we asked for french horns right there." Real funny guy.

After that there was an audience Q&A but I had to take off so I didn't hear that part. Probably the strangest thing that I heard was a woman next to me describing him as "a judge on some music tv show". I guess that's how some people identify him today but it's just weird to me since I've never seen the show and honestly totally forgot he was even on TV. Ben is and has been one of my favorite singer-songwriters since high school in the mid 90s and I've always thought the guy was jus such a unique talent. Going to his shows were almost like going to a Broadway show, something really different and just a very cool experience. This was my first time seeing Ben live in about five years but it was awesome to hear him play again, he's truly a special talent and it was a great opportunity to see him in a small setting.

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