Song of the Day #1,846: ‘Draw a Crowd’ – Ben Folds Five

bff_sound_life_mindThe middle act of last week’s concert was the reason my family and I attended in the first place — Ben Folds Five.

I’d seen the group twice before, touring for their second and third albums, and I’d seen Folds perform solo once. I also have many recordings of the band playing live, from a DVD of their excellent Sessions at West 54th performance to both released and bootleg audio files.

So while I’m not exactly the BFF equivalent of a Deadhead, I am pretty familiar with the band’s live show.

It was no surprise, then, that Ben, Robert and Darren turned in a typically tight and energetic performance. I wish it had been longer — they were limited to an hour due to the three-band lineup — and I was annoyed by the many disinterested fans (here for one of the other bands, presumably) who talked over the quiet songs. But it was a Ben Folds Five concert, and that’s a great thing.

My sister, a more casual fan of the band, remarked afterward that she loved the set list. While I loved everything they played, my own ideal set list would have been much different.

The band played ten songs, including ‘Brick,’ ‘Song For the Dumped,’ ‘One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces,’ ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Army.’ All fabulous songs, but songs I’ve seen them play live again and again.

I put together my own ideal set list (sticking to the ten song limit and striving for a blend of fast and slow songs)… check it out:

Jackson Cannery
Mess
Emaline
Sports & Wine
Alice Childress
Hold That Thought
Fair
Selfless, Cold and Composed
Battle of Who Could Care Less
The Last Polka

Fellow Ben Folds Five fans, what would yours look like?

(Damn)
I ordered something, it took a while
This morning something was on my doorstep
What’s this I’m holding? Time capsule order
Cause I’m a brand new man, and I don’t think I want it,
I don’t think I want it,
A row of flags hangin’ behind me
With guarded up mics and questions, and photo-flashes blind me,
And I’m so high, I can’t recall my statements,
I only know I made them, because my face vibrated

Is it all in my mind?
I could’ve sworn I saw it
I thought I was fine, just fine is what I call it

Chorus:
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall

I was puzzled when it was just feet on gravel
To have come apart, I must have once been raveled
Now when pretty phrases, it don’t mean nothing
And I wanna sell ’em, I sing the line again
So smooth you can hear the beard,
So smooth you can hear the beard,
(hear the beard)
Three times is poetry,
So smooth you can hear the beard

Chorus:
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
If you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall

And if you can’t draw a crowd, settle for what you can draw

I’m just sayin’, I-I-I-I’m just sayin’
Why does sayin’, That I’m Just sayin’
Lend any weight to what I’m sayin’?
Oh it’s come back again, I can’t ignore it
I’m a brand new man, but I’m still ṗayin’ for it

Chorus:
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
If you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall
If you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on the wall

And if you can’t draw a crowd, settle for what you can draw

I only wanted to be Stevie Wonder
But I got to settle for this vanilla thunder
(If you can’t draw a crowd)
Oh this vanilla thunder
(If you can’t draw a crowd)
Oh this vanilla thunder
(If you can’t draw a crowd)
Taste my vanilla thunder
(If you feeling small)

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,846: ‘Draw a Crowd’ – Ben Folds Five

  1. Amy says:

    As you well know, this casual fan can’t identify half of the songs on your dream set list by name alone. Also, since I hadn’t seen Ben Folds multiple times in concert, I was quite pleased with the fabulous (if well worn) songs they did choose to play. You also didn’t mention that they DID play Alice Childress, probably my very favorite Ben Folds song, this time out, though it was certainly one of the times I was most wanting my teacher stare to be more effective at quieting the unruly students around me.

    I’m sure our experience was exacerbated by tthe fact that there were multiple acts, one or two of which thrilled the audience members less. However, I’ve come to find that, in general, a concert in an amphiteater tends to draw a chatty crowd. When we went to see Counting Crows a few years ago, we had a similar experience. I guess they view it as a fun outdoor picnic kind of festival almost. Which may be why I will refrain from attending any more concerts in amphitheaters!!!! 🙂

  2. Clay says:

    Yeah, I agree about the amphitheater being a less than ideal venue. But I have had to deal with talkers at smaller, indoor venues as well. I’m guessing many of them got their tickets through work or something… clearly they aren’t motivated to be there for the band.

  3. Dana says:

    I have seen Ben Folds/BFF almost as many times as you, perhaps one less. And, truthfully, had I known from the beginning that BFF would be one of 3 bands at the concert, and not even the headliner, I’m not sure I would have been as motivated to go (particularly to go in Atlanta!), but our trip was wonderful (including Atlanta) and the concert as a whole was quite good. We all commiserated over the crowd noise, particularly the couple directly behind us, and I agree that, while amphitheaters may be worse, crowd noise at concerts in general has become extremely annoying. It is less noticeable at an arena concert, particularly for the headliner, because the music is usually loud enough to overcome the crowd, but in an amphitheater, particularly with the opening (or with BFF the second) act,, it is really intolerable.

    That being said, I think BFF played well as always and I was generally pleased with the song selection. I just wish they had cranked up the volume and played longer!

    As for my dream top 10 songs I would have liked to have heard at the concert, I probably would have featured more of the new album than your list reflects, both because I really like the songs and because hearing those songs live would have been new and fresh. And, as much as I love songs like Alice Childress and Brick, I would have been fine not hearing them on this go round in favor of some tunes I hadn’t heard live before (including on the live album). So, with that in mind, here is my list:

    Draw a Crowd
    Jackson Cannery
    Hold That Thought
    Erase Me
    Where’s Summer B?
    Michael Praytor
    Fair
    Do it Anyway
    Practical Amanda
    One Angry Dwarf

  4. Clay says:

    I avoided any Folds solo material on my set list, but I would love to hear the entirety of Lonely Avenue performed live.

  5. Maddie says:

    My list is similar to my dad’s, maybe with Underground added… i’ve recently developed a bit of an obsession with that one. I really love this new album though as well as Lonely Avenue. I hope to get another chance to see Ben Folds or BFF again as the main act. Fingers crossed 🙂

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