UK Tour reviews, pics and more start flooding in

3/June/2005 - 16:11

Ben Folds at the Hammersmith Apollo, 31st May 2005What an incredible couple of gigs! With thanks to James H, I attended both London shows (Hammersmith Apollo 31/05, and Barbican 01/06) in the good company of James, Séb (bezley), Nick, Renee and a number of others from both on and off the internet (were YOU the guy in the green t-shirt at the Hammersmith show who dived into our Ben photo? If so, email me!).

The first night we got right up the front on the left-hand side, which helped us get some great photos and even a couple of videos. Clem Snide was, in my opinion, the right mix of musical and amusing, and had an awesome voice. We had to wait a ridiculous amount of time for Ben to come out, but when he did he gave us a great set, along with an apology for his Ross performance, and the obligatory audience participation. The sound was perfectly mixed from where we were standing, and the lighting effects were pretty cool.

People have been merilly posting their photos over on the board, and if you have some I encourage you to do the same. Oh, and we also have video. Did I mention that already? :)

Then, the following night, Ben had the task of filling the Barbican with the same kind of energy, which - from way back in my central circle seat - I can safely say he managed. The crowd was originally somewhat unsympathetic (he was heckled a couple of times about the November cancellations) but delivered an incredible set to win them over, including a return of the officially retired "Rock this Bitch" in a hard march/classical style to reflect the venue ("The Barbican is not your bitch!"). The standing ovation was well deserved.

In stark contrast to the previous night, he was whisked away after the show not stopping to meet & greet, which he apologised for ("Sorry guys, I normally stay and chat but I gotta go"). He did have an early start, and somewhat more worryingly he was visibly pained by his rib. The rest of the guys (Frally, Jared, Joe et al) practically circled him, which is understandable as overzealous fans hugging him is the last thing a cracked rib needs. He did wind down the windows and give us all a wave though.

So those were my Ben experiences. Be sure to let me know how the other gigs go. I've heard there were sound problems for the Brighton show. I'd also love any photos or setlists (or tapes!) for the archive. You know where to post 'em.

PS I'll be at the Manchester gig on the 11th. Anyone else?

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