Posted in music | pictures on September 18, 2012

by Dominick Mastrangelo

Ben Folds Five @ Central Park Summerstage 9/14/2012
Ben Folds Five

Coming into Friday night's Ben Folds Five show at Rumsey Playfield (9/14), I carried none of the usual trepidation that surrounds reunion shows. Armed with how impeccably they pulled off their "MySpace Front-To-Back" performance of 1999's moody swan song The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner four years ago - the band's first performance since parting ways in 2000 - I knew this was going to be a memorable night.

Friday night brought back all the best possible memories of seeing these guys five times between 1997 and 1998: from raucous, hot, sweaty club shows in Dallas and Austin to memorably driving from Fort Worth to Houston in the rain with broken windshield wipers wondering if drummer Darren Jessee had followed through with a promise to put my friend and me on the guest list for their sold-out show. (He did.) And then, after the show, they all signed my vinyl copy of Whatever and Ever Amen. It's this kind of nostalgia that's in jeopardy when bands long dormant decide to get back together.

But Ben Folds, Jessee and Robert Sledge ("On the bass guitar!") harmonize as well now as they did during those shows 15 years ago. It was not only exciting to hear songs like "Theme from 'Dr. Pyser'" and "Alice Childress" (one of my favorite songs in their catalog) but to hear them performed so perfectly.

They played for an hour and 45 minutes sprinkling in songs from their new record, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, (out this week) among the familiar ones the crowd came to sing along to such as "Battle of Who Could Care Less" and "Song for the Dumped." And, of course, they played "Brick," their biggest hit. (Personally, I was hoping "Missing the War" and "Fair" would have made it into the set but that's quibbling. Perhaps when they come back next month for Comic Con.)

The night ended in classic Ben Folds Five fashion as Folds fired his piano stool from distance striking the Baldwin right on the keys to end set-closer "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces."

More pictures from Ben Folds Five's Summerstage performance, along with the setlist and pics of opener Kate Miller Heidke, are below. Also below is BF5's new video for "Do it Anyway" that features help from Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock.

---

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five

Setlist: Ben Folds Five @ Central Park Summerstage 9/14/2012
Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
Theme From Dr. Pyser
Jackson Cannery
Selfless, Cold and Composed
Erase Me
Uncle Walter
Alice Childress
Sky High
Battle of Who Could Care Less
Mess
The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind
Emaline
Do It Anyway
Brick
Philosophy
Army
Song for the Dumped
Encore:
Underground
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

Ben Folds Five - "Do It Anyway" (Official Video)

---

      

Comments (20)

Good show but way to many chatty people in the back and the SOUND WAS TOO QUIET! TURN IT UP!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 9:43 AM

It was much more expensive than the last time they rolled through town, and I personally could have done without the new stuff, but it was a really, really fun show. The music world has been way too heavy since you Brooklyn Vegan commenters started trading Godspeed bootlegs. Glad Ben Folds Five is back to make it fun again.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 9:57 AM

Music for squares.

You're welcome.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:00 AM

^Go back to your Bon Iver shows.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:14 AM

Did he play the song about thinking about joining the army? I like that one, it reminds me of driving to Sears with my mom (according to a Pitchfork review, Steve Albini thought that song was lame)

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:16 AM

Wait a minute, hold the phone. There are only three guys in this band?

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:31 AM

10:16 and 10:31 you would do horrible at open mike comedy hour..both lame attempts at humor.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:36 AM

Great show! Having seen Ben play solo over the years, you never stopped hearing the older BF5 songs. So even though this was a "big deal" having the boys back together again it felt very natural and not gimmicky. It was awesome to hear a set of just BF5 and I have to admit that listening to the new album a couple times really helps with enjoying the new songs live. Hoping for Fair to pop up along the tour!

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:38 AM

10:14: LOL Bon Iver is just AS square, if not more, so you're wrong on thinking I like anything even remotely related with that crap.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 10:49 AM

Did Ben make the crowd do multi-part harmonies for Army?

Posted by the horse that never dies | September 18, 2012 11:17 AM

Harley should of stabbed Ben.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 11:21 AM

10:36, wasn't trying to be funny (10:16), but I guess my innocuous comments got under your skin...lighten up my man, btw here's the pfork review I was referring to:

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/645-the-unauthorized-biography-of-reinhold-messner/

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 12:05 PM

Their set at Bonnaroo was pretty great...none of the new stuff, which I was fine with not having seen them play together since Hammerstein in 1999.

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/ben-folds-five/2012/great-stage-park-manchester-tn-33dfc0f5.html

That said, 9:43 was right...the sound at Roo was way to low and I am sad to hear the same problem happened the other night. Maybe they just should not perform outside, but I felt the same way in TN...just way too low.

Great show nonetheless and hope to see more of them in the future.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 12:10 PM

Some open dates for the Wellmont! Fingers crossed.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 12:20 PM

10:49 please enlighten everyone regarding the amazing music you listen to. Feel free to list them. That's right, you won't. Keep trolling.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 2:39 PM

^oh this will be good

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 2:53 PM

I was there the last time BFF played Central Park, opening for Morphine, and with Pharoah Sanders as the first band. Weirdly strange and excellent bill.

Now Mark Sandman is dead, Pharoah is still miraculously alive and Robert Sledge gained 100 pounds.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 3:03 PM

2:39:

John Tesh
Vangelis
Yanni


There. There's 3 artists that are less square. I'd list more, but I'll just let you mull over these and wince. Have a nice day!

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 4:30 PM

Nerd alert!!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 4:41 PM

40 year old guys who live in LA think BF5 is indie rock.

Posted by Anonymous | September 18, 2012 4:54 PM

Leave a Comment