Short review: F**cking fantastic
Longer review: Well, I think, no, definately this is the best gig I've ever been to. I was quite disapointed when I found out the gig had been changed from Ben and Piano to Ben and full band, but after the second song I was convinced. The show was sort of split up into bits. The first part was the whole band, the second part was just Ben and piano (making up for my disappointment). The band then joined Ben again, until the end of the main show. For the encore Ben came on by himself again for a bit, to be joined by the band to round the show off.
I did my normal thing of not getting excited about the gig until just before it happened and could be seen sitting there grinning going ‘That’s his piano’ minutes before the support act came on.
The support act was actually better than I expected. It was the lead singer / guitarist of Clem Snide. He played about 6 songs all of which were amusing such as 'The sound of german hip hop' and a song which I can't remember the name of but was about what one of the girls in a Hip-Hop video is thinking. We ran out to go to the toilet towards the end of the guys set, sadly missing his cover of Christina Aguileras’s Beautiful.
After about 15minutes break, the main band strolled on. They kicked off with a few songs from Songs for Silverman and Rocking the Suburbs and a few older songs. I thought Ben had messed up Gracie, when all of a sudden they launched into a rocked-up version of the song. After what seemed like a few minutes, the band left the stage leaving Ben alone, where he played some of the slower songs such as Brick and Don't Change your plans for me. The band soon joined Ben back on stage and people started shouting out requests. Someone shouted out ‘Rock this bitch’. As they looked about to start playing it, someone started singing along very loudly, and Ben turned round and said 'Who was that?' He then invited here up on stage to sing the song. She didn't seem like she wanted to but was eventually convinced. Having got up on stage, she decided she was going to play the piano instead of sing. She then accompanied Ben on a quick version of the song (she was actually quite good, and many people thought she was a plant). The next requested song was ‘Missing the War’ and despite not having rehearsed it, the band launched into it with spot on harmonies. They then stormed through the rest of the set, leaving to raptourous applause. Ben returned to the stage for the encore after what seemed like 10 minutes, but was probably only a couple. He then proceeded to play a song that I never considered he would do, one of my favourites: Underground. It was fantastic, with the whole crowd singing the intro and the backing vocals. The band then returned to the stage to finish the set and had everyone up on their feet (yes, the gig was seated) for the final song: One angry dwarf.
Feeling drained but happy we left the Corn Exchange, said goodbye to Becca's sister and friend who had accompanied us and wondered outside to find Karo and AdamS who were also attending the gig. We hung around chatting for a little while before deciding to wonder to the stage door to see if we could meet the band. The girl who had been dragged up onto stage came out of the back door proclaiming that Ben had already left, although no-one believed her. We waited a bit longer and the bassist came out. I got his autograph, Becca and Karo had their piccies taken with him. The drummer then came out and I got his autograph and he explained that Ben had had to leave early due to being on the radio (Kerrang, I think) early the next morning. We then said our goodbyes and made our way back to the car and homewards.
As a PS to the whole meeting the band story… just after we got to Cambridge and were waiting trying to work out where Becca’s sister was we were standing on Downing street and Ben Folds and the bassist walked straight past us, so we could have got their autographs then except I was too gobsmacked to do anything and Becca was on the phone. Ah well.