Our excitement started last May when we bought the tickets on a whim after seeing a friend post about the event on Facebook. I hadn’t heard any other news about it earlier (odd, right?), but sure enough, it was confirmed that Ben Folds was coming to Louisville and would be performing with the Louisville Orchestra. Since then, we had started our blog, I met Teddy Abrams, and we’ve talked about going to a performance by the Orchestra, but had yet to have a free night when they were playing. That changed on Saturday night at the Kentucky Center.
Our seats were smack dab in the middle of the orchestra level so we were able to see almost everything happening on stage. Ben played a couple of magical piano pieces that he had written, including one that was the third movement from his recent piano concerto. Aubrey and I talked afterward about what it must feel like to be so good at one thing, but we couldn’t come up with much other than how inspired we were to find something like that in our own lives.
And then, somehow, he managed to blow us away even more. Having never been to a Ben Folds concert, neither of us were familiar with the “Rock this Bitch” phenomenon, but we quickly found out the details. Apparently someone had shouted it during a performance years ago, and upon thinking, “Huh, haven’t heard that one,” Ben made up a song on the spot. Since then, whenever someone yells out those words from the audience, he follows suit, changing the theme and lyrics each time. On Saturday, Chris from Orchestra Left explained that his most recent breakup was a result of her high maintenance and his low salary. Thus, “Broke Ass Man” was born. The audience was stunned as Ben Folds composed a song for the entire orchestra on the spot, tweaking a few things here and there as necessary, until it all flowed with the fantastically cheesy words from a poem found on the internet. This song singlehandedly qualified the concert as the best that I think either of us have ever attended.
This show has left us wanting for more. More of Ben Folds, as I’m now curious what a show would be like where we’re standing, and without the backup of a full orchestra. More of the Louisville Orchestra, since this was now only the first performance we’ve attended. I’d love to go to one of their church shows because I think the smaller venue would make it more intimate. And more of Teddy Abrams, who wasn’t conducting, but who we’d love to see in action. Moral of the story – Ben Folds, you asked us to support the Orchestra, because only the best cities have well-supported symphony orchestras, and we heard you. When you can deliver that kind of magic on stage, you’re a tough one to ignore. Furthermore, I know you said we were the last stop of your orchestra collaborations for a while, but I hope you can make it back in the next few years. Louisville would be more than happy to be your choir once again.