Ben Folds and the Symphony

So this actually took place about a week ago, but it was quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever seen...or heard. Ben Folds joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on the Heinz Hall stage on Friday, May 25th for the greatest show Pittsburgh could possibly use as it's opener to the summer season.

I was accompanied by MJ, Eric and Eric's roommate, Alex, for this fabulous evening and had the absolute best time being taken back to my glory days of junior year in high school when I first fell in love with Ben Folds. His amazing and strikingly unique voice filled the theater and the talent of the PSO was the perfect addition to bring his songs to their greatest potential. While they played songs from Ben's solo albums, Rockin' the Suburbs, Songs for Silverman and Way to Normal; he also led the PSO in a few songs from his Whatever and Ever Amen album from his time with Ben Folds Five. All of which, made for an overwhelmingly beautiful sounding evening.

Ben Folds, picture from City Paper.
What I loved most about the concert was that there was a great mix in the audience. Most were Ben Folds fans, but there were plenty of PSO regulars there as well which made for some interesting reactions since if you know Ben, you know he's got a bit of a potty mouth. I also loved the lighting going on throughout the show, since it was a seated concert, there wasn't much to actually watch so the beautiful lighting effects brought a great extra element to the songs and the show overall. Basically this whole show just reeked of talent.

Even the audience had talent this evening, with Ben leading us all in signing a four part harmony during the song Not the Same. Only Ben Folds could take center stage and make a professional orchestra sound beautiful with thousands of amateur singers in the audience. I actually stopped singing to just listen to it all going on and the sound of it all was too great for words.

Ben also offered the audience a secret email to receive a free track off of his upcoming album coming out this fall with Ben Folds Five and of course, by audience request, he "rocked this bitch" by making up on the spot his Pittsburgh song for our entertainment. Rock this Bitch is a song that Ben makes up on the spot, when someone from the audience yells it during a break between shows. He tells the orchestra which chords to play and when and how to play them and then sings along with fun facts that he has picked up from his time in the city in which he is performing. Below is the video of it happening live, thanks to someone who was also at this event, enjoy it and be sure to see Ben with PSO the next time he makes his way to the city of bridges!

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