Album Review: Ben Folds Five Live

I still can’t believe they got back together. Honestly. I started listening to Ben Folds Five in 2005, at a time in which a BFF reunion seemed impossible. I had to cherish each new Ben Folds solo album because I knew it was the closest thing I’d ever get to new Five material. And believe me, I was more than okay with this reality.

But then last year, the unthinkable happened. Full-on Ben Folds Five reunion. And not just some “the gangs back together” select city tour. No. We got an entire new album! The crowd-sourced phenomenon called The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind was mana from heaven to hungry BFF fans.

After months of touring, the reunited band is now releasing a live album, simply titled Ben Folds Five Live. (If the link is still working, you can stream the full album here.) Ben Folds Five songs always seems to have a life of their own during live performances. Because the band is only a trio, the limited instrumentation forces them to strip down each song to its bare essentials. As an audience, we get to hear each song at its most raw and honest state.

I was lucky enough to see Ben Folds Five on tour last fall and I can attest that this collect of songs is an accurate portray of the variety showcased in their live set lists. Almost every album is represented here. Noteworthy tracks include:

  • “Landed”- I was definitely not expecting a Ben Fold’s solo song on this album. But “Landed” is a great choice. BFF really makes it their own and adds some great accents to the jam at the end. Great stuff.
  • “Draw a Crowd”- My favorite song off the Life Of The Mind. Its a fun angsty song that reminds me of old school BFF.
  • “Narcolepsy”- This song is always powerful live, but this time the guys end it with a great jazz inspired jam.
  • “Song for the Dumped”- They rock this shit. Hard. Awesome moment towards the end when the audience sings a final chorus.

 

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