I am a huge fan of Ben Folds. However, his tours don’t frequent west coasts (the last time, if I remember correctly, was in 2002). So, I was quite excited that his “Odd Man Out” tour included Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. The tour also features Rufus Wainwright and Ben Lee.
This was the first time Hyun and I have been to Mountain Winery. It is on the top of the mountain (or high hills) in Saratoga. It had a wonderful view of the South Bay. It seemed the place hosts many concerts during the summer season. It is an outdoor venue, so it got chilly after the sun set. Personally, I didn’t like this type of seatings for Ben‘s music because you were supposed to dance to the music and get close to the stage (like at Warfield). But the place had pretty much fixed seatings throughout.
The show started at 7 p.m. with the Ben Lee‘s 30-minute set. I guess it was a bit too early for most people because almost half the seats were empty. And people were still coming in as Ben jokingly said “Please enjoy the filing-in music.”
Anyway, surprisingly (maybe it should not be) the crowd was much older than the usual Folds/Wainwright/Lee fans. It must be the location. I am sure the previous night’s at San Francisco had a completely different make-up of the crowds.
After a break (for the stage set-up), Rufus Wainwright had his one-hour set. I think I’ve seen/heard him before. I liked some of his numbers (loved his stage personality!), but overall I thought it was okay. His set lasted about an hour. I noticed that some actually came just for Wainwright because they left after the set.
Then the main show (for me). Ben Folds started solo for a couple of songs and then brought a drummer (Lindsay Jamieson) and a bass player (Jared Reynolds) out for the rest of the set. I really liked this trio set-up. I hope he releases another album with this set-up. He played about half of songs from his new album, “Songs for Silverman” and the rest from his enormous collection. He did play “Army” and the usual crowd-participating numbers (well, it is getting old, but some seem to expect this). He also played a new one (at least for me), a ballade on a Dr. Dre‘s rap. That was hilarious.
I wish Ben‘s set was longer. It seemed he was rushed to finish the set in time because he did not even do an encore. The whole show ended about 10:30 p.m.
Maybe I should have gone up to San Francisco… It just wasn’t as satisfying as before. Oh, well…
[There's more if you click below. ]
I brought my handy and tiny MP3 player, Cowon iAudio U2 to the concert to try to record the show. I recorded it by just placing it on an empty seat next to us (we were sitting pretty far from the stage). It did actually work quite well using its internal microphone. The recording was done at 96-kbps mono, but I reduced it (as well as toning down the base) to 20-kbps for the web distribution.
As for the Ben Lee set, I messed up the recording. Sorry about that.
Anyway, the recordings contain a lot of noise from the crowd around us and constant cricket sounds under the stars.
- Rufus Wainwright at Mountain Winery, August 24, 2005 (20-kbps mono, Windows Media Audio)
- Ben Folds at Mountain Winery, August 24, 2005 (20-kbps mono, Windows Media Audio)