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Friday, July 19 2013 22:26

Grownups Night Out: THE LAST SUMMER ON EARTH Tour with BARENAKED LADIES and BEN FOLDS FIVE...

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Next month, our oldest daughter, Adalyn, will turn four. My wife and I didn't actually realize this until last week, but that means we had not attended a concert together since becoming parents. I've gone solo to a bunch (part of the whole "Rock Father" thing), but she and I just seldom actually get a "date night" together (though she went to see NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK last night), and when we have, concerts haven't been our go-to event [Note: She DOES NOT enjoy the metal]. Well, the dry spell ended last Tuesday, as my wife and I finally ventured into the City to catch THE LAST SUMMER ON EARTH Tour at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion. On the bill for the evening: BARENAKED LADIES, BEN FOLDS FIVE, and BOOTHBY GRAFFOE. 

UsHaving reviewed BARENAKED LADIES' new album, GRINNING STREAK last month, we were invited by the BNL crew to catch the show. As I noted in that review, the last time I'd seen the band was back in 2003 at a private performance in a small ballroom at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, so I was excited to experience the band a decade later.

My reaction was much the same as it was then: "These are some talented MF'ers..." As if I'm needed to point that out, but we'll get into that later.

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While most dates on this year's tour are getting GUSTER in the opening slot, Chicago was instead treated to a performance by British Comedian/Musician BOOTHBY GRAFFOE, who I'm glad we had a chance to see. His act was funny, but anyone who decided to skip the opening slot actually missed the fact that Graffoe's backing band turned out to be 3/4 of BARENAKED LADIES (pictured above), with whom he's toured with in the past.

BEN FOLDS FIVE

BEN FOLDS FIVE hit the stage at the tail-end of daylight on Northerly Island, bringing with them a set that included a mix of songs new-and-old with at least one of the solo BEN FOLDS cuts tossed in ("Landed"). My wife and I are both big Folds fans, but I tend to hold his 2001 solo album in special regard. It was released on 9/11, but there's just so much emotional attachment that I have for the record in terms of that Fall and where we were in life, I'd like to hear it performed live sometime, but since the "FIVE" didn't play on it, it's understandable that it's largely avoided. We still need to pick up their latest, THE SOUND OF THE LIFE OF THE MIND. Folds also had a member of his road crew record the crowd on video to sing "Happy Birthday" for a friend. If that clip ever surfaces, you should be able to see The Rock Father right up front.

BEN FOLDS FIVE Setlist:

  1. Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
  2. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
  3. Missing the War
  4. Erase Me
  5. Sky High
  6. Landed
  7. Happy Birthday (Crowd participation filmed from the stage)
  8. Draw A Crowd
  9. Philosophy
  10. Do It Anyway
  11. Brick
  12. Narcolepsy
  13. Song for the Dumped
  14. Army

BARENAKED LADIES

BARENAKED LADIES are by far one of the best live acts you'll find anywhere. Now, I've seen countless bands and artists in just about every genre, and I say that sincerely. They don't just perform a concert, but they put on a show - and it keeps people coming back. Even after losing a member, the band has creatively filled the vocal gap, and manages to get the crowd involved with sing-a-longs, an ever-evolving "pop" medley, instrument-swapping, and exceptionally rock-solid and enthusiastic performances. These guys look like they love what they're doing, and audiences appreciate that. Watching the BNL set really solidifies just how many hits they've had, with frontman Ed Robertson even saying, "I know you're thinking, Barenaked Ladies - why don't you stop with the massive hits and play us something from your new album?" And they did just that.

Robertson is also a true "Rock Father" himself, even bringing his son, Lyle into the BNL mix for "Every Subway Car," which someone managed to snag and post on YouTube. Check out the 13-year-old playing guitar and keyboard with his old man's band...

BARENAKED LADIES - Setlist:

  1. Limits
  2. Did I Say That Out Loud?
  3. Pinch Me
  4. Adlib 
  5. Gonna Walk
  6. Every Subway Car (Lyle Robertson on keyboard and guitar)
  7. Best Damn Friend
  8. Be My Yoko Ono (Boothby Graffoe taking lead vocals)
  9. Brian Wilson
  10. Odds Are
  11. Big Bang Theory Theme
  12. One Week (with TALKING HEADS' "Burning Down the House" intro)
  13. If I Had $1,000,000
  14. Barenaked Rap/Pop Song Medley)

Note: The Medley featured the following songs: "New Song" (HOWARD JONES), "Thrift Shop" (MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS), "I Knew You Were Trouble" (TAYLOR SWIFT), "Scream & Shout" (will.i.am & BRITNEY SPEARS), "Gimme More" (BRITNEY SPEARS), "Get Lucky" (DAFT PUNK), "Titanium" (DAVID GUETTA), "Blinded by the Light" (MANFRED MANN's EARTH BAND/BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN)

Encore 1:

  1. The Old Apartment
  2. Alcohol
  3. Blister in the Sun (VIOLENT FEMMES cover)

Encore 2:

  1. It's All Been Done

It was a nostalgic sorta night... a couple of bands that really had their rise around the same time that my wife and I became an item. Bands heard regularly on the late Q101 in Chicago during a time when "Alternative Rock" was possibly hitting it's peak. We need to hit more concerts, and eventually the girls will be able to share in the experience. In the meantime, I'll be checking out SHADOWS FALL and PRODUCT OF HATE at RIDE FOR DIME Chicago tomorrow. Metal \m/ \m/

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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