Pics – Zach Hogg
Review – Meredith McLean
Ben Folds, a man who seems to not have aged since 2005 in an immortal state of shaggy hair and calling it for what it is, was seen jumping on pianos and flipping the bird at a hollering, whooping crowd at The Tivoli last night.
Let’s back up a bit for context. In the middle of the second song Folds abruptly stops like an awkward record scratch.
“You guys go and take your pictures and you only get the first two or three songs then they kick you out? That’s how this works right?”
A lone photographer up the front calls out “Yup!”
“Well, it sucks” Ben called back. “Because they’re always going to look the same. It’s just me with my head down playing the piano. So, I’m gonna’ give you a couple poses and you can make up your own stories.”
Without another beat the North Carolinian musician was up on the piano’s hood giving the finger to the stage lights, to the crowd, before backwards planking from his piano and thrusting his crotch up to the Tivoli’s outdated chandeliers all before we’d made it through the first three songs.
It can get weirder though. Confessing to awkward girlfriends, creepy uncles and a general sense of struggling to be adult Folds is and remains to be the voice of the awkward generation, the ones who grow up begrudgingly (and a lot of the crowd had definitely, undeniably greyed and grown up).
Sure enough, Bastard was played, as was Bitches Ain’t Shit and a crowd-silencing rendition of Luckiest. Folds even commanded the crowd like a national choir, breaking us up section by section to tackle the harmonies while he nails the melody.
But what’s more satisfying and grown up than throwing a paper plane onto the stage? True to the tour’s title – The Paper Aeroplane Request Tour – was just that. And nobody in that room will ever be happier than the guy who yelled out “That was mine!” after Uncle Walter played. His request transmitted by a scrawl on the back of an old flyer turned jet plane.
The ones whose planes made it into Folds hands were suffice to say, the luckiest.