Call To Confirm Colored Copies Are Still Available
In 1997, PBS began airing Sessions at West 54th, a program far removed from the live music fare aimed at the older set that one usually found on the network. Instead, Sessions at West 54th brought the hottest and hippest acts to New York to perform live in front of a studio audience. And one of the first acts asked to appear was Ben Folds Five which was a very big deal to the leader of the band. "I viewed it as an equal to a classic BBC live music television show," says Ben Folds. "I walked into it thinking, ‘This is the one I leave [behind],' because it felt like some kind of a time capsule gig."
Now, Real Gone Music presents the complete performance by Ben Folds Five as recorded at Sony Music Studios. This colored 2LP-set represents the first live album to be released in either format from the "vintage" years of the trio (consisting of Folds, drummer Darren Jessee and bassist Robert Sledge). Among the fifteen tunes are three from the group's self-titled debut, nine from their then-current release Whatever and Ever Amen featuring their hit "Battle of Who Could Care Less," and three songs that had not been released at the time ("Emaline," "Theme from ‘Dr. Pyser'," and their radically re-imagined cover of Flaming Lips' "She Don't Use Jelly").
Folds and crew were always a great live band – they even recorded their studio albums in a largely live setting – but this performance crackles with palpable intensity, brought home by this recording's fawless fidelity. But don't just take Real Gone's word for it – as Folds says in Bill Kopp's liner notes that accompany the release, "That gig was pretty special."