Ben Folds Live
BEN FOLDS! I went to see Ben Folds at the SF Warfield on Friday, Nov 15, 2002. He's cool. Duncan Sheik opened for him. He's cool too! I liked watching them chat with the audience. At one point, someone from the audience yelled "HI DUNCAN" and Duncan said "Hey." It was funny. "What's your name?" ... "BRIAN!!" (or was it Dave? or was it Joel? I don't know.). "Hey Brian, what's up." Yeah. It's incredible to watch these people who are so comfortable up there on a stage with masses of adoring fans worshipping their every move.

Oh yeah, I was going to write more about the concert. It was good. It was just Ben and his piano, except at the end of that one song, where a stage guy ran out with a drum and two drumsticks and Ben grabbed a drumstick, left hand still banging on the piano, and started banging on the drum... the guy holding the drum ran across the stage and Ben ran with him, banging on the drum... the guy set it down on the stage and disappeared... more guys bearing more drums materialized as Ben kept banging and pretty soon there was a full drumset and he was really going at it. That was awesome.

And he conducted the audience. In "Army," another song, and "Not the Same." I really like "Not the Same" ... there were three parts, and he got us all to sing together and it really sounded good. It really felt good to sing with that many people too.

He told us stories. He revealed that he never had a mullet and never worked at chick-filet (or whatever) but that he did work at some drugstore (or something) and cheated the register out of $20 a night... hahaha... and before "Rockin the Suburbs" he gave us this long, drawn-out complaint about I don't remember what, which culminated in a RAP... oh it was funny. Oh and before "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" he told us about his homeroom in high school: he talked in this funny voice and the teacher really liked him, and this other guy picked on him so he always got that guy into trouble... something about drawing some cartoon involving the mean guy eating shit, and the teacher sending the mean guy to the office... he was funny.

Thanks, Ryan, for coming with me. =) I hope you enjoyed it too.

A Chanticleer Christmas
CHANTICLEER! Another concert I went to with Ryan. He bought tickets to Chanticleer Christmas for my birthday back in October! This was at the First Methodist--no wait, Congregationalist--no wait, Baptist--no wait, I don't know--church on Dana and Durant. I hopped over there right when I got out of Newman (I lectored for the first time that Sunday!) and we waited around. I think Ryan was probably the first person there. We have the general admission seats at the back of the second balcony, so we rushed up there as soon as they let people in and managed to get seats in the first row. The acoustics were great. The church had these cool chandeliers that looked like slow-shutter captures of the sky falling (parallel vertical lines of light, scattered around on branches, all the same length)... Yeah.

Chanticleer was wonderful. Ooooooh they sound soooo good. I wanted to swim in the sound. I wanted to reach up and pull at the ribbons, or stand up and just gently push off of my toes and float around in it. They had some really awesome-sounding chords that were so piercing they just jarred you, but everything--especially their unison--was so perfectly blended that you'd forget it was 12 (well, in this case, 11 because one tenor wasn't there) guys singing. At one point I found myself wondering where the cello had come from... Oooh it was so cool.

During a few of the upbeat songs, one guy tapped on a tambourine... that was fun to watch. He'd lick his thumb, then run it along the rim to make a really cool building-up sound. =) During the "village wedding" song (the refrain goes something like "o Isaiah dance for joy, for the virgin is with child" and was totally haunting... ooh it was beautiful) they began in a circle, and then walked around slowly during different parts of the song... it sounded really good. It looked really good too. (I noticed that they had no trouble shelling. No trouble at all. Maybe it's because they were in tuxedos or something. I bet if DeCadence went and got dressed up in tuxedos we'd be better at shelling too.)

The sounds were so smooth. Toward the end, they did "the first nowell" and it was so great. The first noel has always been one of my favorite carols, and my siblings and I are fond of trying to come up with harmonies for it. But all those harmonies I heard at the concert! So intricate, full of little running notes that chased each other around and built up on each other like little waves in the sea, crashing occasionally after rising to a crest... wow, you can't do that with three little tuanchis. It was cool. The encore was "Silent Night" and they started out humming the entire song in this utterly gorgeous unison... it was so peaceful. It just drifted out and filled the entire room like a bright bubble... ahh.