Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on Feb 14th 2010 2:30PM by Justin Jacobs
Folds launched the show with the swirling 'Zak and Sara,' but the song's centerpiece -- Folds' woozy piano lines -- were quickly buried by unnecessarily slow walls of string and brass. Folds made clear his adoration for the orchestra early on. "I'm one of the most awkward public speakers you'll ever meet, so I won't make a speech of this," said Folds, donning a striped polo, jeans and sneakers. "But, well, they're really good."
He was right -- when the orchestra locked into a gallop alongside Folds' stomping piano, like on the rollicking 'Steven's Last Night in Town' or 'One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces,' or added haunting depth to slower tunes like 'Smoke,' the union was a great match. But too often, Folds seemed locked into the rigid structure of the orchestra, holding back his usually loose, feel-good performances.
'Brick,' easily one of Folds' more heart-wrenching songs, benefitted from a quivering violin line to match the song's icy outlook, but could've killed with a string-led melody. With 'Lullabye,' a saxophone did just that, as a single alto dueted with Folds' voice, playfully dancing and flipping around his warm vocals. When Folds neared the 90-minute mark, he was dangerously close to crossing into union violation, so he asked the orchestra to give him 30 seconds of A-minor before quietly leaving the stage as Folds dove into a Pittsburgh-themed version of 'Rock this B-----,' complete with a story about climbing Mt. Washington bruised and bloodied.
Alone on stage, Folds finally cut loose and ended with a rousing 'Army,' the crowd singing along and standing for the first time of the night. Though the experiment was neither a rock show or a night at the symphony, Folds' playful wit kept the mood light. "I just wanted to let you know," he said before 'Angry Dwarf,' "This'll be in the key of B with a couple sharps and flats."
Ben Folds on AOL Music