It wasn't hard to see why fans were willing to wait in the rain for an hour to get into Kuhl gymnasium on the evening of Nov. 11. Ben Folds was in Geneseo and everyone was prepared for a night of great music, and fans left with even more than they had anticipated. Ben Folds delivered a night full of laughs, amazing music, and antics not soon to be forgotten.
Activities Commission sponsored the sold-out show, which began with an original start with opener Corn Mo. He entertained the crowd with tunes reminiscent of Jack Black. His rocked-out version of the traditional Jewish song "Hava Nagila," and a song about his friend being urinated on in middle school, showed Geneseo that he was definitely not your average opening act.
Folds started out his show with a song just for Geneseo, written that afternoon after he and his band were apparently turned away from the Workout Center. The refrain of the song was "Coach Paul Simmons says no," which Folds threw in at choice times during the concert. Folds was joined by his band mates Lindsay Jamieson on the drums and the charming Jared Reynolds on bass. Folds jokingly introduced Reynolds as José Hernandez and pretended he couldn't understand English.
Folds had a slow start because he began with several new songs that some of the audience was not as familiar with. This was because Folds is currently promoting his new album Supersunnyspeedgraphic, which was released in October and is a compilation of songs from his series of EP releases. He started off the set with the mellow songs "Trusted" and "Gone." The third song, "All you can eat," off of the 2004 Sunny 16 EP addressed the hypocrisy and selfishness of some Americans today. Folds got the crowd excited, however, when he played his more familiar "Annie Waits" and "Landed."
The concert really picked up after Folds played a crowd favorite, Dr. Dre's "B****es Ain't S**t," in which each of his band-mates rapped a line as the crowd sang along.
In the second half of the show Folds played many more familiar favorites from 2001's Rockin' the Suburbs and 2005's Songs for Silverman, as well as some songs by Folds' previous endeavor Ben Folds Five. A huge crowd pleaser was Ben's cover of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights," a song made popular by the much loved film Garden State.
The best thing about Folds' show was that he showed off his musical chops and sang wonderfully catchy, crowd-pleasing, and musically impressive songs while making them "special" for the crowd. Folds' piano skills were by no means hidden during any of his songs, but he showed them off even more when he elaborated the endings to several of his numbers.
Some humorous highlights of the show included Folds' use of the synthesizer to play the dreaded "brown note" a frequency that can supposedly cause humans to lose control of their bowels. Folds made the crowd go wild when he and bassist Reynolds switched places, and Folds played bass while Reynolds sang (in Spanish) during "Rockin' the Suburbs."
Folds' ended his show with an encore after the crowd cheered and chanted for him and the band to come back out on stage. He played the lesser known but beautiful "Narcolepsy" followed by "One Angry Dwarf" off 1999's Whatever and Ever, Amen. There is no question that the audience didn't want the show to end.
There were too many funny and musically exciting moments to mention them all. Folds summed it up best when he said that there are two types of rock and roll musicians: those who play easy music and make it look hard, and those who play difficult music and make it look easy. Folds makes his amazing songs look effortless, especially when he combines them with improvisation, humor and spontaneity. With his Geneseo performance Folds showed that he is truly the definition of a great entertainer.