You know when you've had a great experience because of the lasting effect it has on you. Eventually, it will wear off, but right now...I'm still in a sonic euphoric state. I can't even begin to describe it without getting hyper and crazed. I'm going to attempt to write a Reader's Digest version (not really) of my first-hand account (eep!) of the Rufus Wainwright/Ben Folds/Guster concert. If it ends up long and rambly...I don't care. Overdosing on nostalgia is alright from time to time.
Ok, I need to calm down. In the words of the great 20th century thespians Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell..."Awwww here it goes!"
Bridget picked me up at 4:30 on Wednesday and we met Marina and Christina at Christina's house. On the way to Penn's Landing, we heard "Brick" on the radio which made me even MORE excitied with anticipation than before. I still can't believe that I saw Ben Folds.
We arrived at Penn's Landing and met up with Brittany who had the tickets. I spotted a group of people from East and talked to Kyle Schuster briefly. We stopped to buy t-shirts (I bought a red Ben Folds shirt for myself and a blue tour shirt for my little brother, who I have made a Ben Folds fan) which I promptly shoved into a plastic garbage bag, which was primarily intended for wearing in the rain.
We squirmed our way through a good portion of the crowd (it was all general admission) and listened to the best mic check I've ever heard. I forget what the guy said, but we all thought it was hilarious.
Rufus Wainwright came onstage and played through his set, which I found way more enjoyable than everyone else in our group (excluding Marina). He made several comments in between songs including how his clogs were floating because of the rain, the last time he came to Philly was to see Ween with the lead singer of the Scissor Sisters but that didn't work out, how there was "A light in the distance...a light in Virginia" then mentioned John Kerry (which drew much applause from everyone) and how he commented in a newspaper or radio interview about how the sun usually followed him on tour, but unfortunetly it was not the case this time. I felt bad for him because he seemed to be pouring his heart out and totally engrossed in music...and not that many people were paying attention to him, especially the loud group of drunk college kids right in front of us. He played "California" (the only song that I knew of his) and "Hallelujah" (yes, the one from Shrek) and in all, I enjoyed him a lot, especially his voice.
After his set, we got food (which I was not initally persuaded to do, since we had a good view of the stage) and while chowing down on fries, the loudspeaker played "Kung Fu Fighting" which everyone danced to. Ben Folds then entered and played "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". Originally, I thought he was going to go on last (from what it appeared to be on the ticket) and when I realized it was him, we sprinted to the stage and found a nice spot that was an almost head-on view of Ben and the piano. Then he played "Zak and Sara" which was nothing short of awesome and included the "asshole" part. After that, a group of people directly in front of him screamed "Rock this bitch!" repeatedly, and Ben began to play a little piano part and made some stuff up revolving around the "Rock This Bitch" theme. Hilarious. At one point around this time, he said it was hot and he can't do anything with his hair in this weather, while someone simultaneously shouted "Take it off!" and said "What, my hair?"
From then on, the chronological order evades me. He played "Army" and told us beforehand that on the live album, when he mentioned the audience could do a "bitchin' horn section," some people thought he said "bitch and whore section" and said "so you guys (points to left side of audience) can be numbnuts and you guys (our side) can be fucktards." Go fucktards. "Army" was incredible, as well as the other songs he played, including "All U Can Eat," "Gone," "Philosophy" (yessss), "Steven's Last Night in Town" (with the drummer/bongo player from Guster, who he played the drums with while he bongoed (sp?), "Gracie Girl (?)" (I think that's what it was called; it's a new song about his daughter) "Careless Whisper" (a George Michael song) with Rufus Wainwright (and his nice falsetto), which I thought was one of the highlights of the show, and two songs with Guster: "Not the Same" (including an audience harmony) and "Fair." I'm probably missing some, oh well. At one point, he began to play "The Luckiest" but the "Rock this bitch!" chant continued, so he began to play the melody he played previously and made things up. At one point he sang some of the Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song but stopped and said he was waiting for inspriation. Then he began to sing the melody of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and substituted it with..."Rock out...with your cock out" I think I almost wet myself. He led a chant of "Rock out! Cock out!" which made my night. I might be missing something, but this entry's only for the super attentitive anyway. I don't know anyone who really is, including myself.
After closing his set with a bang and a Guster, a whole group of people near us moved, so we moved over and had a better view of the whole stage. The only problem: we were standing in a puddle. It was worth it, though. Coincidentally, Jon Kroberger and Meredith Badler were right next to us, who we said hi to. Guster began, and they were incredible. Prior to the show, I had been somewhat of a Guster virgin, but believe me, they were GOOD. I can't list the songs as I did before (thank God) because I don't know them that well, but they played "Amsterdam" as well as many other songs that just...blew me away. I fell a little out of place because I wasn't one of the many Gusterites, but by the end of the night I was eager for more. More of everything, I guess. I even danced during Guster, which, if you know me says a lot. While the piano was being moved out on stage, Ben Folds played the drums in Guster's rendition of "Unchained Melody," and the final two songs were accompanied by Ben. During the concert, Guster mentioned how there was a voting registration by the entrance, and although they didn't want to shove their "liberal agenda" on us (at which point Kroberger shouted "Yeah, liberal agenda!") we should vote (Kerry). Agreed. Guster was honestly like a spiritual event for me. I guess you could say that I attended a service at the Church of Rock. Witnessing a great band while discovering their music at the same time is utterly amazing.
After their set, we uncramped our legs which were REALLY stiff and hung around for a bit. I chatted quickly again with Kyle, and then we left. Bridget's parents picked us up and Brittany went back to N.J. The car ride home was almost silent because we were exhausted, but my head was buzzing with excitement, and still is for that matter.
So there it is. Whew, a lot of typing. I think I did that primarily because I wanted to relive it a little and share it with everyone. I wish everyone could have gone, even if you don't particularly like those bands...it was the energy that drove the whole thing. I loved the energy of the performers, and it was intensified even furthur when one performed with the other. You could see the overwhelming joy that they felt when performing. A musical syngergy occured in the audience that night. The feeling of being in this massive chorus of voices and just losing yourself in the music was indescribable. Words can't justify what it felt like. I felt like my happiness couldn't be contained in my body, especially during Ben Folds and Guster. The rain eventually cleared up, but it didn't matter. To me, it never really rained. The only proof of the rain was my pair of soggy sneakers.
I'll stop now, or else I'll rattle on forever, trying hopelessly to convey how I felt during the concert. Just trust me when I say that it was amazing, eye-opening, uplifting, everything. Can I get an amen?
Edit: I forgot to mention that in one song, Guster began to play "Chariots of Fire." I really missed Dana at that point. Also, I wore my "I ♥ Nerds" shirt with matching "I ♥ Dorks" socks from Dana. Can you get the message I'm trying to convey here?