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Five things I wrote in my notebook during the Ben Folds Five show

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Has it really been more than 10 years? Hard to tell, given how these guys gelled onstage.
Photo: Edison Graff
Chris Bitonti

1. The floor of the Pearl has been set up with assigned seats. For the record, just because there’s a grand piano onstage doesn’t mean we don’t want to rock out.

2. Ben Folds Five last came through Vegas in 1999, but Folds, bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee perform so fluidly together, you’d never guess they’ve been apart for more than a decade. Particularly great: the combination of Folds’ classically infused rock piano and Sledge’s harmony-driven distorted bass.

3. The setlist includes a mixture of classic Five tunes (“Brick,” “Song for the Dumped,” “Battle of Who Could Care Less”) and Ben Folds solo favorites like “Landed.” The band also performs a variety of improv numbers, including the Krautrock-inspired “Rubber Ball,” an updated version of “Rock This Bitch.”

4. Cuts off 2012 reunion album The Sound of the Life of the Mind found new life onstage, especially “Erase Me” and “Do It Anyway.” The band should consider recording their next record live.

5. You know what might have made those Ben Folds solo shows I enjoyed so much better? Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee.

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