Despite the fact that I felt all self-conscious about my lack of dress-up clothes, Jeff and I left the house early yesterday evening to see Ben Folds play with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. In case you’re wondering what I wore, I dressed pretty much like this:
(Three differences: I was with Jeff—not the stiff umbrella man. Also, I wore boots. Finally, there was no need for umbrellas.) ((Have I mentioned lately how much I love Julie at Sungazing Photography?))
We left the house at 6:00 and decided to grab dinner before the show. We were a bit short on time, so we decided all we really needed was something quick and filling that wouldn’t make us feel gross afterward: Fast Food Sushi. (I know!) As we walked into the restaurant, I mentioned to Jeff that it feels like my jacket is a little too yellow for November.
Me: I feel like I’m trying to be that guy who hangs out with Curious George.
We ordered our food and I chose a table near the television so Jeff could watch the Rams game. The table next to ours held two girls crocheting scarves. Ahhhh. All is well. AND, then the radio started playing Upside Down by Jack Johnson. And it’s not a bad song, but it IS on the Curious George soundtrack. Sign from God to take off the jacket? I think so.
Fast forward. Dinner? It was okay. (Since when is a tempura roll not the least bit crunchy? Since last night, I suppose! BUT, I still ate the entire thing, so I can’t complain!) Parking at Powell Hall? Five bucks. How was the crowd? They were stunning. Seriously. The place was filled to the brim with Lovely. Evidence: The first person we saw after finding our seats was Kelli, who is SO smart and witty and lovely and with child! On the other side of my hump (architectural term for the barrier between our dress box and the adjoining dress box) was Carrie! (She’s a knitter and a writer and I’ve never actually met her before, but I’ve admired her for quite some time!) Also at the show? Lisa M., who you might recognize from her comments here. Because of Facebook, we’ve become fast friends, and she’s lovely and kind and is also a writer!
Before the show, I took my camera out of my bag and set it up so I could capture a few shots of Ben Folds. Almost immediately, a little maroon tuxedo-wearing man ran up and said, “I’m going to have to cut you off. There are no photos allowed of the orchestra.” SO, I sat there and bitched to Jeff for several minutes, because the place was FILLED with people taking photos with their smart phones. I almost felt like I was being discriminated against because my phone is below average. (Ah! But I learned my lesson. Surprisingly, very few people were taking photos after the show started. I need to keep reminding myself that seeing a show at Powell Hall is a lot different than chilling out at Lilith Fair. Sorry for my nasty thoughts, Tuxedo Man.)
Hhhhhh. We’re already at 520 words, and I haven’t even started talking about the show. I’ll just say this: It was amazing. Incredible. I’ve seen Ben Folds five or six times over the years, and this was by far my favorite performance. (Close second? Seeing Ben Folds Five at Mississippi Nights in 1997.)
Here’s my thing: I love going to the symphony. I don’t go very often. In fact, I haven’t been since I saw Jon Nakamatsu play with the Nashville Symphony back in late 1999. And that’s ridiculous. I don’t like watching sports on television. The only thing that helps me understand the excitement that so many people feel when they watch a football game is the excitement *I* feel when I watch an orchestra. Swelling dynamics, hidden sparks, musical conversations between strings and brass… I know you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. I get that. Anyway, it stirs me.
Here’s another thing: I’m totally into Ben Folds. Sure, he’s quirked it up over the years and I can barely listen to his latest stuff with my kids in the room, but nevertheless: I think he’s WISE. And ridiculously clever. He sings, I smile. It’s that simple.
One more thing: I’m a sucker for piano-driven bands, and I’m a sucker for classical musicians. When you put these two things together, there I’ll be—beating my hands on my legs and displaying my big goofy grin. That’s a promise.
Instead of trying to explain how wonderful each and every song was, I’ll list what he played (In order! AND, I’ll embed a few because I’m awesome like that!) and link the others up to YouTube as best as I can. If you don’t know Ben Folds, let this act as a primer. If you’re a fan, just sit back and enjoy. If you don’t have time for this, please at least tune in for Narcolepsy. It was my very favorite arrangement of the evening, and I’ve found a video with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra that captures just how mind-blowing (to me) it was.
Here we go.
Zak and Sara (What a wonderful way to start the show. My eyes may or may not have welled up. (They welled up.))
(Intermission. Go ahead. Take a little break.)
Narcolepsy (Seriously. Watch this one. Tenor alert at 3:24! This one gave me chills.)
(Now it’s time for the orchestra to walk out so Ben Folds can play a few tunes on his own.)
Rock it, St. Louis (an impromptu (poor-quality video) response to the jackass who kept yelling “Rock This Bitch!”)
Johnny B. Goode (a little shout out to Chuck Berry, who was seen wearing sweat pants at the airport several years ago)
My only regret? I went to the show with a plan to buy a t-shirt. On the way out, I was so jazzed that I forgot the t-shirt. And now I can’t find them online. Is anyone out there going to a Ben Folds show anytime soon? Do you want to get a t-shirt for me? Adult! Medium or Large! I’ll either PayPal you or I’ll trade you something knitted!
Something to add to the life list: Coffee and doughnuts with Ben Folds. Can someone coach me on how to make this happen? If your advice is magical and I someday find myself with vanilla long john icing on my chin while sitting across a table from Mr. Folds, I’ll knit socks for you! Two pairs, even! Four pairs! (Two pairs.)
Go watch Narcolepsy again, and tomorrow I’ll tell you all about this morning’s mammogram.