Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Late Show

Last month, when I was working in New York City and living for the moment by myself, I returned home alone to my apartment late one night and began flipping through the channels on the TV when I came across Jimmy Kimmel, returning from a commercial on his eponymous show. I had never seen Kimmel's show before, and wasn't particularly interested in watching it that night, except that he was presenting a musical act, and I hadn't had much opportunity to listen to music on my trip. Jimmy announced Ben Folds with Regina Spektor, and I sat back to watch and listen.

The first thing I noticed was that Ben had brought an awful lot of people on stage, surrounding his grand piano with strings and horns and some dude - I assume it was Ben's brother-in-law - beating on a marching-band style snare drum, duplicating the efforts of the guy next to him behind a full drum kit. Ben himself had an unfortunate setup with his piano; he had decided to stand up rather than sit on his piano bench, but neglected to sufficiently raise his microphone so that he was forced to sing his song in an awkward, painful-looking crouch.

But ah, that song. It was "You Don't Know Me," with vocal counerpoints by Regina Spektor, who was every bit as delightful as the tune she was singing. Poised in the well of Folds' grand, she popped up at appropriate intervals to answer Ben's lines and show off a little black dress that came to midthigh. I didn't know Regina Spektor's work before this, but she was good enough to make you forget for a moment than Ben Folds can't sing so well. But what he can do is write some really nice tunes.

Here, don't take my word for it:

Sometimes, you just get lucky.

1 comment:

Darryl said...

Just found your blog (and the new one) after finding out 2-years late that Hiram Bulock passed away. Great stuff.

Had to mention though that this is actually Ben Fold's preferred stance while performing live. It's part of how he manages to rock out while playing a grand piano.

When we saw him years ago at the Warfield in SF, he climbed up on top of an amp/speaker stack and threw his stool at the keys for the final note.