Duncan Sheik opened. He was good, it was just him and Gerry Leonard on guitars. I should get to know more of his music.
Ben was playing solo piano this evening. I'd seen BFF twice over the years, and they always put on an amazing show, but Ben himself has amazing stage presence all on his own. He was ravaging the piano, his voice was in top form, he was joking and playing wiht the audience.
He went through about a third of the set and then introduced Joe as his favorite musician, singer, rock star, composer, whatever. It was really gracious. Joe then comes out on stage. He's wearing that longer haircut we've seen in pictures on the website, and looked sharp in a long leather coat and grey plaid pants, that only he can pull off.
Joe and Ben shared vocal duties on "Fred Jones, Pt. 2" and it was truly transcendent. The harmonies were wonderful, and it was sublime
hearing Joe singing Ben's lyrics.
Joe then left the stage, and Ben continued on. I would never have thought someone could make Wham's "Careless Whisper" good, but he did. Incredible stuff.
Ben played "Stephen's Last Night In Town", at the end a stagehand brought out a drum which Ben started playing, and then walked to the base of the piano, where a mat with glow tape and a monitor was set up. The stagehand set the drum down, and then, the stagehands proceeded to put an entire drum set out, which Ben played with a very good drum solo. He then said the drums were just an excuse to get him to the other side of the stage, at which point he introduced Joe again, who took a seat at the piano, and pulled out a lyric sheet. Joe then explained about the new album, and then played "Awkward Age" with Ben accompanying on drums. Ben's an excellent drummer, and "Awkward Age" is a brilliant
tune. I'm talking Grammy here. If critics hate this album they're hypocrites.
Then, Joe started "It's Different For Girls" and dueted with Ben. No drums this time, just piano and vocals. It was great, really.
After that, Joe left again, to cheers and hearty applause. Ben then sat back down and saw the lyric sheet that Joe left, folded it up, and threw it into the audience, explaining that it's been in Joe's pocket.
Before Ben played "Army", he explained that he thought about joining the army while listening to "I'm The Man".
All in all a great evening. It was fun to see them together, influences flying about, comparing and contrasting styles. I learned Ben Folds is more like Elton John than Joe Jackson (his rendition of "Tiny Dancer" was more of a channeling than a performance) but that JJ is clearly a major influence on Ben. I guess that question's definitively answered now. And Joe clearly appreciated Ben too.
This was truly one of the ultimate cool musical experiences for me. Right up there with seeing Joe in a club with 150 people, and seeing Marillion in the Bass Museum in England with 150 people too (by the way, have you seen the latest Bass ads? I'm pretty sure they're filmed inside of the Bass Museum, even though the actors are Americans.) 10th row Peter Gabriel was good too.
It's also cool to think about how things fit together. Duncan Sheik for instance, I saw when I went to a concert at Central Park Summerstage that was a Joni Mitchell tribute. Also performing that that event was Joe Jackson. Gerry Leonard I've seen performing with Suzanne Vega and Paula Cole. Suzanne Vega has showed op on a Joe Jackson album as well as Joe doing the piano on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack song "Left of Center". Suzanne sometimes says the words "Joe Jackson piano solo" during the part where the solo would be when she plays it live. Paula Cole played with Peter Gabriel on his 1993 tour, replaced by <http://www.joyaskew.com/>Joy Askew</a>, who has performed frequently with Joe Jackson as well as also performing at the aforementioned Joni Mitchell tribute concert. I could probably go on with longer chains, but probably not necessary. It's mostly just good to know because it make me feel like that liking the set of musical artists I like makes sense.