It's the welcome return to Ben Folds back to Australia. The former Adelaide resident is performing a two part solo piano show on his 'Paper Aeroplane Request' Tour. No band, no special guests, no fancy schmancy Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, just the man and a shiny black Steinway & Sons grand piano.
The first set comprises of songs from Ben's impressive solo back catalogue of songs, as well as some from Ben Folds Five. We get to hear 'Annie Waits', 'Landed', 'Still Fighting It' and the always uplifting 'Steven's Last Night In Town'.
The second set is according to the press release: "Audience members will be encouraged to write their song requests on a piece of paper, fold it into a paper aeroplane and shoot it straight on stage to Folds. He will then randomly select the paper planes and perform the requested song."
We get to hear 'Army', 'Philosophy', 'Evaporated' and of course 'Brick', when it suddenly occurs to me how many Ben Folds Five song has just one word song titles. Ben also performs his improvisational song 'Rock This Bitch', which he changes the lyrics to "let’s rock this bitch at the Melbourne Zoo." The set ends with the crowd favourite, 'Rockin' The Suburbs'. No encore, no 'Angry Dwarf', 'Underground' or the best breakup song ever recorded, 'Songs For The Dumped' but maybe they will get requested via paper plane, on the following night at the Melbourne Zoo.
Ben Folds is a consummate professional on stage. Mixing his songs with funny on stage banter. The highlight for this little hairy photographer was when after his second song, he decided to stop the performance to pull some outrageous poses for the shooters in the pit. A very funny moment, as I couldn't stop laughing while trying to straightfaced still capture some images. Thank you Ben! You are always such a joy.
Support on the evening at the Melbourne Zoo was provided by Lucy Rose, an English singer-songwriter and musician from Warwickshire, England. Her heavenly voice and her delicate charming songs was the perfect fit for such lovely surroundings.
Photography by CarbieWarbie