Friday, June 29, 2007
Rockin' the lakefront
We went to see this guy in concert last night.
It was Ben Folds followed by John Mayer. Overall: Good show, at a great venue, on a weird night.
The show was at the Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island. It's a great little outdoor venue in downtown Chicago, just off the lake, over by the museums and Soldier Field, just tucked out of the way. The sound quality was fantastic. Sight lines were really pretty good. It was strange, however, in that even though the show was on June 28th, after the first song, Ben had to ask a stage hand to get him a hat because it was "fucking cold out here!" The temperature at show time couldn't have been more than 63. Very strange. Then you have the video screens. Flanked to either side of the stage were large projection screens that later, for John Mayer's set, gave you close ups of the various musicians in the band, and of Mayer's vocals. If you've ever seen John Mayer perform, then you know that while he's a very good guitar player and has some catchy tunes to his repertoire, nobody needs to see his mug that close up. Especially while he's singing. He looks like Joe Cocker had a baby with Ray Charles, and that baby has some sort of Bell's Palsy. Not pretty. Anyway, since for this concert Ben Folds is just the opening act, all we get on the video screens is a recurring series of inane commercials. Some for the venue's concessions. Some for upcoming shows. Some are advertisements I recognize from TV, just without the sound. It's annoyingly distracting.
The fact that Ben was the opening act, I get it. He's not as big right now as John Mayer. I know that's messed up but it's the fact as the world stands today. I blame Dick Cheney. Regardless, hasn't the man earned enough respect to not be running commercials during his set? That was ridic. Other than that, the set was terrific. A nice mix of old stuff and newer stuff. A sampling from all his solo albums and a little something off all the old Ben Folds Five records, too. Even a couple of improvised ditty's created on the spot that fans of Ben Folds have come to expect from his live shows. He plays the piano with such a reckless abandon and sense of humor, you can't help but have fun at his concerts. Even without a current radio play track, he still had a large portion of the clearly John Mayer-centric audience singing along with some of the songs like "Zak and Sara", "One Angry Dwarf" and "Landed".
John Mayer was pretty good, too.
Next up: July 5th.....Wrigley Field.....The Police!