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Ben Folds Live Live, Explicit Lyrics

126 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, Explicit Lyrics, October 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Ben Folds Live is a stellar exception to the rule that live albums are contractually obliged stocking fillers. Folds is at his best on stage with only a grand piano for company. He is a compelling showman who's blessed with an unforced charm that complements the anger and melancholy that informs most of his songs: the self-lacerating "Army" loses nothing by having a hall of people bellowing the saxophone and trumpet parts as Folds conducts them. The material here spans Folds' work with the three-piece Ben Folds Five as well as 2001's excellent solo debut. The readings of "Fred Jones," "The Luckiest," and "Brick" display an immediacy and intimacy that transcend the recorded versions. A couple of worthwhile curiosities--a minor chord rearrangement of "Song for the Dumped" and a faithful, affecting version of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" round out the offerings. This is an impeccable document of a superior performer at work. --Andrew Mueller

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
  2. Zak And Sara
  3. Silver Street
  4. Best Imitation of Myself
  5. Not The Same
  6. Jane
  7. one down
  8. Fred Jones Part 2
  9. Brick
  10. Narcolepsy
  11. Army
  12. The Last Polka
  13. Tiny Dancer
  14. Rock This Bitch
  15. Philosophy
  16. The Luckiest
  17. Emaline

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live, Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Sony
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006L3QM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,110 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By wellwellwell on March 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Besides Nirvana's notorious Unplugged In New York, this is the best live CD I own. After Ben Folds left Ben Folds Five, I don't think there was a lot of faith in him as a solo artist. But after hearing Rockin' The Suburbs and after this recording, I almost enjoy him more on his own. I realize that many people would strongly disagree; and that's understandable. But even if you don't like Ben as a soloist, you'll still be able to appreciate this album.
The CD includes 17 songs. I believe 11 of them are from the Ben Folds Five era. Only four of the songs came from Rockin' The Suburbs. The other two are "Tiny Dancer"; which is a cover of the classic Elton John song, and "Rock This Bxtch"; which is only 1:18 long but the most original, impromptu song to seemingly `spark' from being on stage. Of those four songs from his solo CD, the best are "Fred Jones Part 2" and "Not The Same". "Fred Jones", if you may remember, is a sort-of-sequel to Whatever & Ever Amen song "Cigarette". The song was brilliant when I heard it on the album, but is better here. Cake singer John McCrea appears on both versions, and really adds to its excellence; especially live. The chant of the crowd lets you know when he walks out. It may be my favorite song on this CD. "Not The Same" is a good song, one I've enjoyed more thanks to its appearance on Ben Folds Live. As far as "Zak And Sara" and "The Luckiest", live they're pretty average. "The Luckiest" was better in studio, yet still decent. I don't know much about "One Down" or "Emaline"; but both are good tracks.
As I've hinted to, I cannot say enough good things about "Rock This Bxtch" and "Tiny Dancer".
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By CreepyT on May 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wasn't a huge Ben Folds fan until I saw him live opening on the Lottapiano's tour for Tori Amos. I was only slightly familiar with Ben Folds Five, and wasn't even aware that he had gone solo. Shame on me! I was missing out on some incredible music. Not only is Ben Folds and incredible live performer, but he's an incredible musician, storyteller, and artist. Unlike so many acts out there today, he has plenty of talent aside from merely holding a microphone and looking pretty. His lyrics are definitely amusing and very witty, and his piano playing is unrivalled (with the exception of his 2003 tour partner Tori). In comparison to what I've heard of Ben Folds Five, I like his solo material better by far. He is certainly talented enough to hold his own on stage without any backup.
I believe that sometimes in order to really, truly appreciate someone's music and musical talent, you need to see them live. Luckily, you don't have to fork out the money for expensive concert tickets in order capture that energy and essence in this case. This inexpensive CD does that for you, and believe me, it's worth every penny!
Some highlights on this CD include:
Track 2 "Zak and Sara;" This song really showcases Ben's piano playing ability, and has really great lyrics. Definitely a song that you will get stuck in your head and find yourself singing all day long!
Track 5 "Not the Same;" A great song that manages to be emotional and funny at the same time. Tells the story of a friend who went on an acid trip that changed his life.
Track 9 "Brick;" Tells the tragic tale of Ben and his high school girlfriend getting an abortion, and what it feels like. A great slow, emotional song.
Track 11 "Army;" Great lyrics that tell a story about Ben Folds getting into music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maxwell Moses on January 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Ben Folds is a truly unique musical talent. My older brother got me listening to him a few years back, but it wasn't until I saw him live in concert that I could really appreciate just how deep his music is. I have since bought all five of his cd's spanning his solo career ('Rockin' the Suburbs,' 'Ben Folds Live,' and his three more recently-released LPs). Though 'Ben Folds Live' is missing some of my favorite tracks from his career with Robert Sledge and Darren Jessie as Ben Folds Five, and his smash 2001 debut solo album, it's as close to seeing him in concert as you can get. His recordings of "Zak and Sara," "Not the Same," and "Army" with thousands of screaming fans in the backround had me remiscing of that same magnetic atmosphere that I experienced watching him live last summer. Some of my personal favorites:

"Zak and Sara" - Though I miss "oohing" in the background that Ben rythmically hums in the studio version, his piano playing skills are really magnified in the album's second track. A really easy song to get into, it is a definite must on this all-around solid group of his live performances.

"Best Imitation of Myself" - One of my favorites from his days with Ben Folds Five, you can really hear the crowd getting into it in the backround, and there's a reason for that.

"Not the Same" - Though this rendition hit off Ben's solo debut album isn't "the same" as the original, it is still quite powerful. Ben also displays some humor, briefing the audience with the song's history before bangin' out the first cord on his Baldwin. Though it lacks the jammin' drums which really get it going on the CD version, his use of the crowd for the humming between verses is quite effective, and gives it a more "live-feel.
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