Barenaked Ladies with Guster and Ben Folds Five at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Last night I went with my friends Tracie, Kevin, and Alison to see the Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, and Guster in concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion for Tracie’s birthday. I’m actually not a huge fan of any of these bands, but there is nothing I like better during the summer than sitting outside and listening to some live music, so when Tracie suggested doing this for her birthday I was in. I feel like I should love these bands. I was totally with my people last night, i.e. the middle aged. I’m pretty sure most of the people there had to hire a baby sitter to go to the concert. Most concerts I go to I feel like I’m way older than everyone or way younger than anyone there, probably because even though based on my age 90s music should be my jam it wasn’t and isn’t. 70s music absolutely, 80s music yes please, 90s music no thank you. This evidenced by the fact that instead of seeing current bands when I was in high school these are the bands I went to see in concert 10,000 Maniacs, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Van Halen. All great bands and all touring with new music at the time, but still not really of the 90s.

Despite my general disinterest in their music, I have in fact seen all three of these bands live in the past and they all put on a great show. Even if I’m not a big fan of the music if I find it tolerable, which I do for all of these bands, then a fantastic live show will outweigh my feelings on the music. Even though I am not likely to sit around and listen to most of the songs by these bands, and know only their radio hits, I still find them greatly enjoyable live. It was a good time despite the oppressive heat, which all 3 bands improvised songs about. I was hoping it would get better once the sun went down, but instead it just got more humid and with no breeze it was kind of stifling even then.

The concert actually started with a short 15-20 minute set by British comedian-singer Boothby Graffoe. I’m pretty sure my husband must have commissioned this song to be written for me.

If you knew how many times we had the conversation “I want a polar bear for a pet”/”No you don’t he would eat you” you would probably be astounded.

Guster was the real first act of the night. I kind of followed them a bit back when I was in college when I feel like they were really big in the college music scene. Most of the music I know of theirs is from that time period back in the late 90s. They played a lot of it last night as well as when Alison and I saw them a few summers ago, so I guess they themselves consider that stuff their biggest hits.

Last night was the third time I’ve seen Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five live. I saw Ben Folds solo with Tori Amos on their Lotta Pianos tour, then saw Ben Folds Five as part of the Virgin Mobile FreeFestival last October. Tracie was pointing out that the crowd at that concert didn’t really care about Ben Folds Five at all. I pointed out that of course they didn’t because most of the people at that concert were like half our age. She was then horrified to figure out that yes kids in their latter years of high school are in fact half our age. I appreciate Ben’s sense of humor and the way he messes around and makes stuff up during live shows. Between the ridiculous humidity and his playing he managed to break 2 piano strings during the show. One was during the first song, but I guess he knows how to work around those missing notes since I didn’t notice anything amiss during the rest of the show. I also finally put my finger on something regarding Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five. I like their jauntier songs, but don’t really care for the slow ones. I kind of figured this out by watching Ben and realizing that he stands up while he’s playing during the faster songs and realized that he was standing during all the songs I really like. So there you go.

Here’s Ben goofing around some last night.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Barenaked Ladies in concert. The first and only time was way back in the day in 1998 when they were just breaking big in the U.S. I saw them as part of the H.O.R.D.E festival, which Wikipedia informs me was in its 8th and final year that summer. I remember them putting on a good show, and have always heard that they are great live but in the 15 years since then I’ve always thought eh I don’t really like their music that much when I’ve seen them tour near me. After last night’s show I’m kind of sad that I have missed out on some really fantastic live shows in those years. The Barenaked Ladies are everything I like in a concert. They do a good mix of their hits and new stuff (which I actually kind of liked so I should probably go listen to the free digital copy of their new album I got free with my ticket but wrote off and never listened to based on my feelings for the rest of their music I know), they do covers, they improvise, they tell stories, they dance around. There is nothing not to love about their show. There’s also nothing better than being in a big crowd of people singing along to a hit song, which of course happened several times last night. I would definitely go see them again in the future.

This was my favorite thing they did last night. Cover medley!

One thought on “Barenaked Ladies with Guster and Ben Folds Five at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s