If I could follow one band around the world as they tour, the Barenaked Ladies would be that band. As mentioned in a previous post, I am unabashedly a huge fan. I may also be one of the few fans who think that the band has gotten better since co-founder and lead singer Steven Page left the band. I believe that in his absence, the remaining members of the band have all had their time to shine and contribute to the creative direction of the band. It is true that their shows now have a different flavor as they lack the antics and crazy energy of Page, but you can tell by watching that these four men are on stage as brothers having the time of their life.
This show was no exception. BNL headlined their first Last Summer on Earth tour last year and were joined on stage by Cracker, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Blues Traveler. This year Guster, the newly reunited Ben Folds Five and comedian Boothby Graffoe were support for the tour. This year, they did not have Las Vegas on their tour, so I ventured to Los Angeles for the June 23rd show at the Greek Theater. I was excited to see them in an amphitheater again as I believe BNL is best enjoyed outside. The Greek Theater did not disappoint with its amazing views, easy access, and incredible view of the stage at every seat. Due to the traffic coming up the mountain and a very large Italian dinner at Palermo in Hollywood, I was unable to see the opening comedian or Guster. I’ve heard Guster puts on a great show, and was bummed to have missed them. I arrived inside the theater just before Ben Folds Five was to start their set. I will be honest; I’ve never been a huge fan of the Ben Folds Five, or Ben Folds as a solo artist. I appreciate their talent as musicians, but just never got behind the band. That changed with their 45 minute set on Sunday. They played a few new songs mixed with their hits. Ben Folds is incredibly energetic and likes to interact with the crowd. He even took pictures of the crowd and his band while they were playing. My favorite BF5 song, “Brick,” was performed, and I was able to get short snippet of the song on my phone.
The LSOE show is one of the few shows I’ve seen that has run exactly according to schedule. The Barenaked Ladies took the stage approximately 5 minutes later than their scheduled time (I’ve never heard of this). They took the stage and performed one of the songs off of their new album called “Limits.” This was followed by their first single off of Grinning Streak called “Boomerang.” While not yet crowd favorites, I was excited to see Boomerang performed live, as I’ve become very partial to this song since the new album was released. The rest of their set was peppered with new songs like “Odds” Are (if you like BNL from the early 2000’s this is the song for you) and old standards like “The Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson.” I was bummed because my favorite song, “For You,” was not performed. This is the first time in the last 5 shows I’ve seen when it was not on the set list. A nice treat halfway through the set was a performance of “Be My Yoko Ono” with comedian Boothby Graffoe taking over lead vocals. I love this song immensely and was so happy to see it live. You can see a clip of the song below.
Overall, this was not my favorite BNL show. Their set was much shorter than LSOE 2012 and seemed a bit rushed. I was excited to see the band again, and each time I see them I am more drawn to their music and their personalities. I am excited to see where the band goes after this album, which I feel is their best in a while. If you are a tried and true BNL fan, you will love them on LSOE 2013. If you are on the fence about them, this could be your chance to see them at their most mature and with great support from some fun acts.
Make sure to check out a show if they are in your area at www.LastSummerOnEarth.com