If you have ever seen Ben Folds before in any of his previous projects or his former trio, Ben Folds Five, this was definitely a new experience and a treat to fans. For most of his career, his previous live shows have been very simple when it comes to how he performed his music for fans live. Whether it be Ben and his Piano, performing with Robert Sledge and Darren Jesse as Ben Folds Five, or his touring band after Ben Folds Five had gone on their separate ways for a period of time. For his latest tour, Ben brought on the talented Y Music ensemble and it turned out to be a fantastic pairing.
The set began with Y Music showing off to the crowd by performing one of their own pieces, Beautiful Mechanical, to give everyone a good idea of what to expect. Ben came on stage shortly after they finished and the audience was eager to see him join Y Music for a fun yet beautiful set. The stage set up for seeing Ben Folds play was different from previous tours. In tours past, his piano would be off to the side where his vision would be parallel to the stage. You could see him play the piano quite easily. This time he was center stage behind his piano facing the audience with Y Music flanked to either side of him. From what I am familiar with from seeing him live in the past, this set up seemed to keep him less animated for the crowd. It did not take away from the performance though by any means. The set was an even blend of songs old and new. You never really new what song was going to be played next. The songs that received the most excitement from the audience would be: Effington, Mess, Erase Me, Song For The Dumped, Steven’s Last Night In Town, You Don’t Know Me, Army, and Not The Same.
Dotan began the night playing a low key opening set. Dotan Harpenau hails from Amsterdam and is touring in support of his album “7 Layers” I was unaware of his music until I was set to cover this show. Honestly I was very impressed by what he brought to the stage. He and his friend Mark performed a short set, but it was a memorable one. From time to time Dotan would swap his guitar for a drum and it proved to be very effective. I hope to see him and the rest of his full band perform here in Chicago in the near future. By then I can get a chance to familiarize myself more.
All in all both acts put on a solid show that fans were proud to have seen.
Here is my set of photos from the show. Enjoy!