As I take my seat front row of the balcony in Vicar Street I don’t know whether to be envious of those down on the floor with a closer view or delighted that my view of the show is first-rate and unobstructed. It’s very few artists that get me excited about getting to see them again live. Ben Folds is one of them and support on the night is another act I have caught online but she has never been to Ireland for gigs so this was the first chance to see her play live. She is Kate Miller Heidke and in Australia she has certified Gold records and some awards.
Kate and her husband Keir come to the stage, Keir with acoustic guitar in hand and Kate just her beautiful self and opens with a beautiful rendition of ‘The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child’. You can see the crowd are completely taken aback by Kate’s amazing classical vocal range and as they flow through their set and play through some of the great tunes off their album Curiouser with songs like ‘Politics in Space’, ‘Just Can’t Shake It’ and the song better known as the Facebook song ‘Are you fucking kidding me’. The quirky, funny lyrics mixed with Keir’s accomplished guitar playing alongside Kate’s phenomenal if unusual vocals make for an unbelievable show which by the end the entire crowd are in the palm of their hand. A perfect warm up before Master Folds enters the fray and Kate says she will be outside signing albums (a fact we made good use of to procure a signed album).
20 minutes later we were joined by Ben Folds and his band who start us off with some of the new material off the latest album which he recorded with Nick Horby (yes the writer) which is entitled ‘Lonely Avenue‘ and is a smashing little album, two tracks ‘Levi Johnston’ and ‘Doc Pomus’ are belted out as the crowd settle. We get treated to Gone which was sung back to Ben word for word followed by another song from the new album entitled ‘Belinda‘. The new content doesn’t feel remotely out-of-place and blends right in with Ben’s existing top tracks.
Ben tells us a story that before heading on this tour the band wanted to do a cover, something quirky but couldn’t decide on a song to do, so they left it up to faith and decided that whatever was #1 on the US iTunes that week, they would cover it. The track was Ke$ha – Sleazy. They reworked the song or as Ben explains re-harmonised or if you’re a music geek and you realise the song has no harmony then you are actually harming the song (gave it harmony). So Ben and co “harmed” the song and to say it was pure genius is an understatement, it was absolutely surreal.
They follow this up with ‘You To Thank‘ and ‘Cologne‘ before dipping back into the latest album for ‘Saskia Hamilton‘ which Ben explains that Nick Hornby had been going through some books of poetry essays and came across the name Saskia Hamilton in one multiple times, from it Ben wrote this song. Ben and the band are now in full flow, everything is upbeat and flowing and the crowd are getting fully involved.
We continue with ‘Bastard‘ and ‘Still Fighting It‘ before we are joined by the awesome Kate Miller Heidke to play the part of Regina Spektor for ‘You Don’t Know Me‘ which goes down an absolute storm with Heidke’s quirky vocal additions. Literally nearly blew the roof off the place and shattered glasses. Kate stays with us for another song ‘From Above‘ before retreating back to the safety of the backstage. ‘Effington‘ is belted out next before one of my favourite song’s ‘Landed‘ which was a real crowd pleaser. Folds has hit his stride now and is on the home straight as the pace picks up and he mashes out an intense rendition of ‘Annie waits‘ followed by ‘Hiroshima‘.
The band relaxes a bit as Ben takes hold solo and muses lyrically on Dublin and stuff he’s gone since arriving in Ireland and turns it into a mini song talking about things like having ‘Fish and Chips breakfast at 3pm’, This is a quirky fun interlude and is quickly followed by an upbeat smashing version of ‘Zak and Sara‘ and then ‘Kate‘ before finishing off pre-encore with a mention to how he loves Dublin and it always makes him want to write when he’s here and that one time here he booked studio time with a friend of his Fergal and they wrote 7 songs, one of which was about why it’s a bad idea to discuss politics at parties, the song was ‘Bitch Went Nuts‘ and he absolutely smashes it. They do the fake leaving gestures and head off stage.
Back after the encore they launch into ‘Army‘ which sends the crowd wild as it seems to be one of those songs that EVERYONE has been waiting for and the crowd give it 120% singing the words back and Ben comes off the piano and the crowd continue with the badabaaa badabaaa badababa part of the song for a solid minute or two as Ben clearly enjoying the moment lets the crowd show their appreciation of the song before finishing off the song and then the show with ‘One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Face‘
An absolutely out of this world show, start to finish. Everything from the selection of support act who blew everyone away to the perfect mix of new material and crowd favourites making for a show that had everyone talking about how unbelievable the man himself is live as everyone is walking away from Vicar Street. Let’s hope he’s back soon and a headline gig from Kate Miller-Heidke would be amazing too, I’d certainly go back for seconds.
If the tour is coming to a venue near you, don’t even think about missing this show.
Kate Miller-Heidke Setlist
The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child
Politics in Space
Caught In The Crowd
Can’t Shake It
Are You F*cking Kidding Me
Ben Folds Setlist
Ke$ha – Sleazy (Cover)
You To Thank
Still Fighting It
You don’t know me (w/ Kate Miller-Heidke)
From Above (w/ Kate Miller=Heidke)
Random song where the lyrics describe his time in Ireland
Zak and Sara
Real Bitch Went Nuts
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces