June 30, 2004

Rufus, Guster and Ben

As I mentioned yesterday, Beth and I went to see Rufus Wainwright, Guster and Ben Folds last night at Wolf Trap. How was it, you may ask? Well...

The show started promptly at 7:00 – Rufus took to the stage dressed in black and pounded out an hour-long set that was nothing short of fantastic. While the audience was still getting settled and people were finding it hard to keep their mouths shut (including the robobitches behind us), Rufus shined on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (although no one can ever convince me Jeff Buckley’s version isn’t better). He then introduced his mom who took over piano duties while he belted out Somewhere Over the Rainbow. If you have any doubts that this guy can sing, trust me. He’s amazing. Guster backed him on one song but the set was primarily solo.

I have to admit, I only own the latest Guster album. Some of it is truly inspired but some of the album was merely meh. I really wasn’t prepared to be wowed by them but…well…I was wowed by them. They’re truly a fantastic live band. And the percussionist? Get outta town! Incredible! I was very pleased that they played what I think is the best song off their latest – Come Downstairs and Say Hello.

Ben Folds helped Guster finish off their set then hung around to carry on with his own. I’ve always liked Ben Folds but I’ve never been an ardent fan…until now, that is. Folds is a fantastic songwriter, musician and all-around entertainer. He transformed the audience into horn sections, abused a perfectly good piano (how’d you like to be the guy who has to tune that every night?) and even launched into a seventies metal style number with Guster, for which the only intelligible lyrics seemed to be “rock this bitch” screamed while standing on aforementioned abused piano. The highlight? Well, that had to be the emotional duet between Folds and Wainwright on Wham’s Careless Whisper – and by emotional, I mean they were both laughing most of the way through the song. He closed the show, four hours after it started, by directing the audience in a choir-like sing-along that, on a cool moonlit night seemed almost heavenly.

PS - Pictures will be posted this evening if any of them turn out to be halfway decent.

Posted by Chris at June 30, 2004 07:37 AM

I'm glad you had a great time, but what we're really all wondering is, how did the "freebird" effort go?

Posted by: Oliquig at June 30, 2004 07:46 AM

He got the audience singing choir-like? holy mama-- that can change your molecular structure-- in a GOOD way, of course

Posted by: bluepoppy at June 30, 2004 08:01 AM

wow, sounds like a great show. rufus IS amazing (although i've never seen him live). i'll have to see guster sometime, because i feel the same way about their album.

never really heard much of ben folds. some. but not a lot.

anyway, sounds like it was great ... and wolftrap is a cool place too!

Posted by: tj at June 30, 2004 08:09 AM

Inquiring minds wanna know ... how'd the "Freebird" go?

Posted by: Fraulein N at June 30, 2004 08:21 AM

A seriously inspired concert. I'm off to see them again (I know, I know, I've got a music addiction, etc.) tonight at Pier Six in Baltimore. We were up in the Loge, belting out Guster like champs last night. I gotta say, when Rufus and Ben did the George Michael song, I wasn't convinced at first, but about halfway through, they totally sold me on it. Heckuva show.

Posted by: Tom Bridge at June 30, 2004 08:36 AM

I'm glad you had a nice time! I have to admit, I never heard of anyone of them, but I'm sure to find on the internet :) You made me curious.

Posted by: Sweety at June 30, 2004 08:42 AM

Sounds like a great time! I adore Ben Folds, and Guster, but I only recently found my adoration for Rufus. You do know that I'm completely jealous, right?

Oh, and I want to know how the Freebird thing went, too.

Posted by: amber at June 30, 2004 08:52 AM

oh my god, Rufus was nearby and i didn't know it??? i love rufus, but i've never had the opportunity to see him live. he better keep touring until i get to see him perform. Guster and Ben Folds are awesome, too... i can imagine it was an awesome concert. glad you had fun!

Posted by: Judy at June 30, 2004 08:56 AM

isn't the drummer amazing? when jules and i went to see them, we couldn't stop watching him. and he was definitely the coolest of the three -- he wanted to trade for spooky :)

Posted by: laura at June 30, 2004 09:14 AM

I had a fantastic time, too! We were down in row J, way close to the stage. I don't know if you could see the sign language interpreters, but the sign for "mullet" was hysterical.

Posted by: Lisa at June 30, 2004 09:32 AM

Being a piano player myself, I idolize Ben Folds. He is a god. I wish I could have gone to the concert with you guys, it would have been a blast! Someday I will move to DC and will be able to go see awesome shows like that. I'm a little jealous....

Posted by: myllissa at June 30, 2004 10:33 AM

Sounds like that was a great evening!

Posted by: Nicole at June 30, 2004 11:03 AM

Argh! I'm so jealous of you. Rufus Wainwright is my favorite singer/songwriter, and I love him. I could listen to his voice anywhere, he's a singing God, and Hallelujah is my favorite song. Ben Folds is a genious artist, also, and I've been a fan for about two years.

The tour comes to Philly on July 7th, but because none of *someone's* friends have heard of any of the performers, guess who is not going? Me.

Posted by: Chrissy at June 30, 2004 11:06 AM

Sounds like a good time, I have yet to see Ben Folds live.

Posted by: Jeff A at June 30, 2004 12:12 PM

who does the version of hallelujah that's on the shrek soundtrack? that's the one i have and i really like it, but i also heard another version on the west wing a couple seasons ago? just wondering. thought you might know :)

Posted by: Heather at June 30, 2004 02:24 PM

I saw Guster in Montreal they opened for John Meyer. They were awesome I thought, I like the bongo man, did he bleed for you?. He bled for us Canuks and well he should :-P

Posted by: Shaners at June 30, 2004 02:52 PM

That answers my question of who you went to see! All three would be fantastic, I'm sure. I love Guster. And yeah, I only own one album, but I've seen them play at least six times. They're one of those bands.

Posted by: Anne at June 30, 2004 04:25 PM

Rufus Wainwright's version of Hallelujah is nice, but you're right, Jeff Buckley's is better. I really like the Rufus cover of Across the Universe though.

Posted by: hilldery at June 30, 2004 04:43 PM

Heather-- That Hallelujah is Rufus and for that alone, I love him. I'm so jealous of this concert, Chris-- it sounds like it was an awesome show!

Posted by: bmh at June 30, 2004 06:30 PM

Also---on a music related note. I notice that you have been listening to Velvet Revolver...Me too. WHat do you think???

Posted by: Amy at June 30, 2004 07:07 PM

Please tell me you listen to Loudon Wainwright (Rufus's dad) too. If not, you're missing out.

Posted by: Karen at June 30, 2004 09:57 PM

The wife and I were there also and were very tempted to drive to Baltimore the next night to see it again. The 3 of them separately have been in heavy rotation in our house for many months, so we couldn't have put together a better lineup.

Posted by: Mike at July 1, 2004 02:02 PM

Guster is a very good band, i am sad to say i missed their last show here in town. however i plan on seeing them asap. . i am glad you liked them, they are alot of fun to listen to ..

Posted by: trish at July 5, 2004 11:59 PM

see the URL below for some more information about "Hallelujah", Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, John Cale (the version used in "Shrek") and Rufus W. (the version used for the soundtrack to "Shrek").

Oh, and give radio hidebound a listen while you're there.


Posted by: gnome at July 14, 2004 04:43 PM