Thursday, July 25, 2013

Barenaked Ladies & Ben Folds Five @ Uptown Amphitheater

After last year's Barenaked Ladies show in Vegas, I was keen to see them again.  This time in a venue I'd never been at, and with Ben Folds Five, who I'd never seen before.  Was pretty excited for the show.

However I would end up disappointed.  The Uptown Amphitheater is a pretty good venue.  We were in seats in the front two thirds of the venue, which was OK for music like this.  But in a couple of weeks Queens Of The Stone Age are here and I'm not sure I want to see them in this venue, as general admission is either at the back or to the side of the stage.  Not really what you want for a rock show.

Ben Folds Five came out to thunderous applause.  They are from Chapel Hill, NC and not doubt have a huge fan base everywhere in this state.  It kind of went downhill from there.  While I don't know many of their songs, the further the set went on, the more people either lost enthusiasm and sat down, or left to get a drink.  Music and voice hit some bad notes on a few occasions, and song selection was relatively low key. Obviously their"hits" Brick & Underground were a crowd favorite, but overall I was disappointed.

It took the Barenaked Ladies a while to warm up as well.  A lot of new material to start the set and it wasn't until Be My Yoko Ono that the show really got started - that and the mention of Charlotte's own Prices Chicken Coop (BNL know how to play to a crowd).  Brian Wilson was great as well as Big Bang.  One Week is always a big favorite and $1000000 was a good ending.  My highlight was the last song of the encore - Violent Femmes' Blister In The Sun.  A fun rendition to a song everyone knows.  Overall the night was OK, but Ben Folds Five was not what I expected, and the show wasn't nearly as fun as last years with Blues Traveler.

Barenaked Ladies Setlist
Limits / Did I Say That Out Loud? / Pinch Me / Gonna Walk / On The Lookout / Four Seconds / Be My Yoko Ono / Brian Wilson / Odds Are / Big Bang Theory Theme / One Week / If I Had $1,000,000 / Barenaked Rap
Encore: Call & Answer / Alcohol / Blister In The Sun (Violent Femmes Cover)

Ben Folds Five Setlist
Philosophy / Michael Praytor / Alice Childress / Erase Me / Sky High / Brick / Do It  Anyway / Landed / Narcolepsy / Underground / Army

The Crap Facts:
This is my 358th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Uptown Amphitheater.
Uptown Amphitheater is the 97th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 9th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 9th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 165th concert in the USA.
Ben Folds Five are the 423rd band I've seen
This is my 3rd Barenaked Ladies concert.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Black Keys & Flaming Lips @ Charter Amphitheater, Simpsonville, SC

So after months of talking about it, my brother in law and I finally get tickets at the last minute for this outdoor show featuring 2 great bands.  Friday afternoon I drive down to Greenville in the rain (that makes me nervous for the show) and we have enough time to stop by the great Henry's Smokehouse for a quick bite of barbecue before the 20 minute drive down to Simpsonville.

For the whole drive down it rained and we saw plenty of lightning.  From that moment on our luck changed.  We skipped the exit everyone else was getting off at, and glided into the parking lot without traffic.  We also were guided into a newly opened lot which, while a ways from the amphitheater, was close to an exit (hopefully a quick getaway is in order).  We then proceeded to wait in a mile long line for an hour while it was decided whether the concert would go ahead or not.  Eventually as we got close to the entrance we were sent to another entrance, for those without bags, and walked straight in as Flaming Lips hit the stage.

Rumor had the doors opening at 6pm, but we got in at about 8.40pm so I think the Lips had their set shortened.  I wasn't wrapped with their choice of (only) 8 songs, as I knew none of them - most were off the new Terror album.  However a Flaming Lips concert is more than the music, and the visuals more than made it a good show.  As Wayne Coyne sung above a podium, lights shot from the microphone stand across the stage and when darkness hit by set's end, the laser roof above the crowd had everyone in awe.

Flaming Lips Setlist
Look...The Sun Is Rising / The Terror / The W.A.N.D. / Race For The Prize / Try To Explain / Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast / Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die / Always There, In Our Hearts

It seemed like a long wait for the Black Keys, maybe because it felt like it was going to rain and we were watching lightning off to the back of the stage.  When they came out - it was to thunderous applause which continued as the got right into Howling For You.  Gold On The Ceiling, Girl Is On My Mind and Thickfreakness were highlights for me, but songs seemed slower than what I remember.  We had a great spot on the lawn - as I was apprehensive about how good the view might be in a large outdoor venue - and even right at the back, where we were for the encore, sound an visuals was really good.  Hopefully next time they'll make a stop in Charlotte.

The big plus was not a single drop of rain happened from the moment we stepped out of the car, and the relative ease we had getting out of the parking lot was laughable.  We were back in Greenville before others were even out of the lot.  Sorry Mason!

Black Keys Setlist
Howlin' For You / Next Girl / Run Right Back / Same Old Thing / Dead & Gone / Gold On The Ceiling / Thickfreakness / Girl Is On My Mind / Your Touch / Little Black Submarines / Money Maker / Strange Times / Sinister Kid / Nova Baby / Ten Cent Pistol / She's Long Gone / Tighten Up / Lonely Boy
Encore: Everlasting Light / I Got Mine

The Crap Facts:
This is my 357th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Charter Amphitheater.
Charter Amphitheater is the 96th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 1st concert in Simpsonville.
Simpsonville is the 42 city I have seen a concert.
This is my 1st concert in South Carolina.
South Carolina is the 11th state I've seen a concert.
This is my 164th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Flaming Lips concert.
This is my 4th Black Keys concert.