17 Songs, 1 Hour 11 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ben Folds’ stab at a stripped-down, audience-friendly live album is better than most, offering a fine sampling of his better tunes (along with a few surprises) to a fully-engaged crowd. Released in 2002, the album catches Folds in the midst of his transition from bandleader into solo artist. With his typical mixture of keyboard pyrotechnics and whip-smart satire, he proves himself a likeable stage entertainer. In a particularly flashy gesture, he rips into a frothy rendition of Dick Dale’s surf guitar classic “Misirlou” during his own tune “Philosophy.” More expected is an affectionate version of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” served up as a tribute from one piano man to another. “Rock This Bitch” is a quick and cheeky number while “The Luckiest” is tender in all the right places. From the sweetly schmaltzy “The Last Polka” to the brash “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” and the downright tragic “Brick,” just about every aspect of his work is highlighted. Whether he’s pounding out boogie riffs or stirring up some audience participation, Folds is fully in command on this excellent in-concert excursion.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Ben Folds’ stab at a stripped-down, audience-friendly live album is better than most, offering a fine sampling of his better tunes (along with a few surprises) to a fully-engaged crowd. Released in 2002, the album catches Folds in the midst of his transition from bandleader into solo artist. With his typical mixture of keyboard pyrotechnics and whip-smart satire, he proves himself a likeable stage entertainer. In a particularly flashy gesture, he rips into a frothy rendition of Dick Dale’s surf guitar classic “Misirlou” during his own tune “Philosophy.” More expected is an affectionate version of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” served up as a tribute from one piano man to another. “Rock This Bitch” is a quick and cheeky number while “The Luckiest” is tender in all the right places. From the sweetly schmaltzy “The Last Polka” to the brash “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” and the downright tragic “Brick,” just about every aspect of his work is highlighted. Whether he’s pounding out boogie riffs or stirring up some audience participation, Folds is fully in command on this excellent in-concert excursion.

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