Billboards quoting things you’d never say…

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:

We regarded one another, and then I frenched him.

(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.))

The Ascent of Stan
Picture Window
One Angry Dwarf

(Intermission. Go ahead. Take a little break.)

Not the Same (complete with audience participation)

Steven’s Last Night in Town

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)
Annie Waits

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.

(Spoiler Alert: It was negative!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

14 thoughts on “Billboards quoting things you’d never say…”

  1. Great recapitulation. Despite my love of Ben Folds Five, he was meant to play with a symphony (at the level of SLSO or better).

    My coworkers were laughing at me as I floated around the offices on my Ben Folds Cloud all day with a dreamy look in my eyes, mouthing lyrics.

    I was dying for a t-shirt too (the black one), but it was cash only and we are notorious for carrying very little cash. What we had was spent on parking, drinks and tips. I was sure the shirts would be online. Major bummer.

    If you ever do sit one Long John away from Ben without me, please don’t ever tell me about it because I’ll die a bitter, Benless woman.

    We have season tickets to the symphony. The seats are located two boxes to the right of where I sat last night. Often I’m dragging people to the performances who go just to humor me. I hope you’ll accompany me on one of those nights this season.

    “Crispy Roll” at I <3 Mr. Sushi = Crunchy and Delicious

    "Tempura Roll" and "Spicy, Crunchy Tempura Roll" at SanSai = Not the Least Bit Crunchy or Delicious

    Carroll nailed it; the last line is the best.

  2. Samuel and I enjoyed listening to Narcolepsy! Thanks for the reminder that I need to go and get my mammogram.

  3. Whoa. “Narcolepsy” is my unofficial theme song, and that was just lovely. I’ve only seen Mr. Fold, but it was memorable. Is this orchestra thing over already? There’s only one show listed on his site. Boo to that, say I.

  4. Ben Folds + SLSO? I had no idea that was happening! That sounds like a great combination.

    Have you seen “The Sing Off”? Not sure what station it’s on, because I watch it on Hulu. But Mr Folds is one of the judges. Good stuff!

  5. One Angry Dwarf is one the permanent house cleaning music list.

    I saw SLSO for the first time last year for a Christmas show thing they do. AUH-MAZING. Even though my then two year old was not impressed and instead fussed through the whole thing.

  6. Man oh man. To say I am green with jealousy is an understatement, the man is a legend. glad you got to see such an awesome gig. And if you ever share a donut with the Man, enjoy. And tell us every blessed detail, or else :D The dude once answered a private message on FB from my 6 year old son – respect! My son is a huge fan though we have had to censor his latest stuff a lot more and removed Julianne from his CD mix once he started working out what the song was about, WHOOPS. He loves BF and am sure it’s due to a BF concert I attended at 8mo pregnant with him, as he turned somersaults and kicked my belly in time with the music. It was the first music he danced to as a tiny little boy.

    (my husband bought me a signed original lyric/score sheet from the latest Nick Hornby/BF album. My husband rocks).

  7. Get up. get outa bed…turn the radio on to ABC FM (ALL DAY, EVERYDAY)….Zoe’s favourite station (they hate it a work but yunno they also seem to be somewhat calmer (Karma) when she forces them to listen to it….WASO much more innovative than their “over East” cousins in my opinion…love ’em…xxx

  8. Wow. My toddler and I just watched Narcolepsy twice. Thanks for sharing. I knew Ben’s brother in college and met Ben a couple of times. I would gladly get you a t-shirt if I was going to see him on this tour!

    I don’t comment much, but I do love your blog.

  9. I’m glad your yucky day ended with this. Thanks for all the links. I actually brought headphones to the office today, so I’ll take a listen while I’m reviewing cover edits. Have a great day.

  10. Holy crap those videos are awesome. I wish I could see a show like that (and get you a t-shirt so you’d knit me something). I saw him many years ago opening for Tori Amos and he was wonderful.

  11. I only have one Ben Folds CD (“Whatever and Ever, Amen), but I think it’s just the greatest thing ever! I don’t know why I haven’t grabbed more of his albums. What’s your favorite?

  12. I’m so sad that I missed this. I’ve had a serious love affair with his music since I saw him at Lollapalooza in Des Moines in the 90s. Also, I love classical music – going to the symphony always gives me chills. We had been camping for a week and I knew I wouldn’t be up for the concert even if we got back in time. (Which we did.) (I was smelly and tired.) Still, I’m so sad… videos can’t do this justice I’m sure. :(

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