Monday, April 7, 2008

Ben Folds requires exactly one box of Raisin Bran.

*breathe in*   *breathe out*   *breathe in*   *breathe out*

Do you feel that? That, my friends, is contentment. Why? Because it's a lovely day out there - the birdies are chirping, the sun is trying it's hardest to burn off the haze of  cloud... Ah, yes... today is a good day.

Alright, so as great as our anniversary was on Wednesday, Saturday was even better. It started with me and Mr. Awesome going our seperate ways. While Mr. Awesome headed to the nephew's little league game, I drove out to Lenexa for a bridal shower. Despite the awful traffic due to a wreck (what? a wreck in Johnson County, you say? How could that be?) I made it to the shower in time for some great food and company. My gift for the bride-to-be was a set of - what else? - embroidered tea towels:

I just love how these turned out! The future bride got all sorts of terrific gifts, and I had a really good time. I had to leave before the shower was over, though... I had somewhere to be at 5 o'clock...

Mr. Awesome and I met back up (the nephew's team won - yay!) at home, let out the dog, and headed down to the UMKC campus, where preperations for the Ben Folds concert were well underway. Did I mention that part? Yeah, Ben Folds was on the UMKC campus on Saturday night. The concert was free to UMKC and Rockhurst students, and Mr. Awesome and I volunteered to help out in exchange for being able to see the show.

Anywho, we find the person we're supposed to talk to (she was absolutely terrific and we can't thank her enough for letting us assist) and we are promptly presented with t-shirts (wooo! free t-shirt) and directed towards Ben's bus where burgers and hot dogs were being served on the lawn in front.

Apparently Ben's rider required that he be provided with lots of soy and organic food and, among other things, exactly one box of Raisin Bran. I'm guessing, since he's on the road constantly for weeks at a time, he uses his rider to do grocery shopping. I'm cool with that.

Mr. Awesome and I assemble with the rest of the troops for our "security meeting." This pretty much involves Ben's stage manager (a very nice but very efficient and no-nonsense guy with a vaguely English or Australian accent and at least three cell phones strapped to his belt) telling us that, under no circumstances, does anyone get anywhere backstage without a pass. I get the feeling that Jesus himself could appear and he would get nowhere without a pass. I also get the feeling that the last thing on Earth you want to do is piss this guy off.

After he's through, position assignments are made. Most people are stationed taking tickets, but Mr. Awesome and I luck out by being positioned in the auditorium and told to look out for disruptive behavior. We then hang out for about an hour while sound and light checks are performed.

First to take the stage is a group that isn't touring with Ben, but that UMKC wanted to perform. They are Black Violin and guess what? It's black guys playing violins. They are really loud, and, while good, they aren't exactly the same genre as Ben Folds. Personally, I thought they were kind of distracting. They performed for about 40 minutes or so, after which Eef Barzelay took the stage.

We really liked Eef's performance in Springfield. He was definitely different, but sort of mesmerizing, so I was looking forward to his performance at UMKC. Unfortunately for Eef, the crowd was pretty restless after listening to hip-hop violin fusion music and didn't give Eef the respect he deserved. The crowd was loud, and rude, talking way too much. Eef's performance is just him and an electric guitar, so there's not much he can do to get the attention of a bunch of assholes. He cut his set short, leaving me disappointed in UMKC and Rockhurst students.

My disappointment turned (back) into pride, however, after Ben Folds took the stage. The crowd was energetic and supportive, and way more people than I expected knew words to songs I didn't expect them to know. I have a terrible memory, so thankfully someone else kept a set list:
  • Errant Dog - new song

  • Gone

  • Annie Waits - Mr. Awesome's favorite

  • Landed

  • I Suppose I Said the Wrong Thing (Rock This Bitch)

  • Free Coffee - new song

  • Still Fighting It

  • Effington - new song

  • You to Thank

  • Hiroshima - new song

  • Kate - My favorite

  • Philosophy (w/ misirlou)

  • Lullaby (Band Leaves, Just Ben Right Now)

  • Last Polka

  • Kylie from Connecticut (Band Returns For End of Song)

  • Bitches Ain't Shit

  • Narcolepsy

  • Army

  • Rockin' the Suburbs

  • Zak and Sara

  • Underground

  • One Angry Dwarf - Encore
There was a guy in the audience named Justin who was seeing his 50th show, so Ben played The Last Polka and a hyper-fast version of One Angry Dwarf for him, after which, he smashed his piano stool against the piano. It was the coolest thing ever. Personally, I was psyched (yeah, I said psyched) to hear Army live. It's one of my favorites and made me a supremely happy camper. We were probably 20 feet from the piano and had a fantastic view. It was incredible and we had a great time.

After the show, we headed over to the merchandise table to pick up a DVD we didn't have. While there, poor Eef Barzelay was sitting, looking glum, waiting for someone to buy his CDs. I overheard him say, "Man, this is the worst I've ever done at one of these things." Well, damn. Once again I was reminded of how awful the crowd was while he was performing. We turned around and asked Eef which CD he recommended (we already have his newest one) and apologized to him on behalf of decent people everywhere for the ridiculous behavior of the audience. He seemed to cheer up a bit, and my friends, I think we saved a life that night. The CD we got was by his former band, Clem Snide, called Soft Spot. Fan-freaking-tastic mellow, chill out music. We bought another Clem Snide CD over the weekend just for kicks.

The evening drawing to a close, we headed outside for the walk to our car. But wait... what is that small crowd doing by Ben's bus? Why, chatting with the band, of course. We ditched the car idea and decided to wait until Ben came outside. A few short minutes later, we were getting autographs. Then the stage manager guy asked who wanted pictures. Pictures? With Ben. Holy shit. We only had a camera phone... with no flash... and it's dark out here... but wait! The digital camera is in the car, and Mr. Awesome is like Jerry Seinfeld when it comes to sprinting - he is fast, people. He gets a great shot, and I'm not going to post it because I have a weird look on my face in it.

And people, there will be a next time. Minnesota, here we come...


  1. That picture is great ... you guys look like fanatical stalkers!

  2. We were a *wee* bit excited.