Photos: Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster at Red Rocks - Reverb

Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster at Red Rocks Amphitheatre (photos, review)

The “Last Summer on Earth Tour” stopped at Red Rocks Amphitheater Wednesday night featuring a trio of ’90s bands known for their quirky song writing and nerdatious style. (It’s a word. Pinterest said so.)

Geeks with guitars and Canadian to boot, 2013 marks the Barenaked Ladies‘ 25th year of being a band. So why not celebrate by calling up some other geek friends and go on tour?

Guster kicked off the night with their harmonies and focus on percussion. An impressive Brian Rosenworcel works over a set of bongos and cymbals — all with the palms of his hands.

Highlights from Guster’s set include “Barrel Of A Gun,” “Demons” and the newer song, “This Could All Be Yours Someday.” The band got their “aha” moment when playing their 2006 hit “Satellite.” Most of the crowd’s reaction was, “Oh! This is the band that plays that song? I thought it was Postal Service.”

Ben Folds took the stage next for a night of nostalgia and nerds. Recently reuniting with his two band mates, Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee, the trio make up Ben Folds Five. Confusing name, but a big sound for just three guys.

With little excitement around the band’s 2012 album, the audience didn’t give much of a reaction to newer material. So, when Ben Folds Five finally played songs from 1997′s “Whatever and Ever Amen,” things started to click for the crowd. After all, anyone who came out for this billing is looking for ’90s hits. A good 50 people out of around 7,000 rose to their feet and sang along to “Brick,” “Kate” and quite possibly the greatest break up song ever written, “Song for the Dumped.”

The Barenaked Ladies rounded out the night as the gracious hosts of the evening. Their 16 song set included radio hits “Pinch Me,” “Brian Wilson,” “The Old Apartment” and “One Week.”

Fans seemed disappointed in the band for leaving off  1992′s one-track radio single “If I Had a Million Dollars.” All was forgiven and forgotten when everyone joined in to sing the theme song to the popular nerd TV show “Big Bang Theory.”

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Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.

  • rachelkae

    Two comments from another perspective…
    -Many more than 50 people were up and singing for Ben Folds’ hits though it wasn’t as many as this fan expected.
    -Maybe you missed the encore, BNL played “If I Had A Million Dollars” second to last if memory serves.
    Mostly a great show, though the middle of the sandwich – Ben Folds – was pretty disappointing as it seemed piano tuning issues threw Ben off his game. The hits were the highlight as was the altered “Sweet Home Colorado”

    • shan

      If I Had a Million Dollars was played, not in the encore. Old Apartment and Alcohol were the encore songs.

      It was the smallest set list I’ve ever seen BNL do. I’m a big fan but honestly felt like they dialed this one in a bit.

      • TH

        That’s the nature of a “festival” style summer tour with 4 acts. Short sets…

  • Jessie

    No they sang “If I had a million dollars.”

  • CO_Voter

    I don’t think the reviewer was even there. Ben Folds was stellar–the mistakes only humanized him. Guster was excellent as well (though the crowd hadn’t quite warmed up yet.) BNL was great–older songs were obviously greeted more enthusiastically than newer ones. The background images were unnecessary and Ed carries a lot of the band, but the fun was still there. I’ve seen BNL many times since 1993 and I missed Steven.

  • Red Rock

    Ed Robertson has turned into a pretty darn good “master of ceremonies” for BNL. While last night’s show might have lack a bit of end-to-end high energy, given the high number of brand new songs performed (5), I think the band is really gelling as a four piece unit. However, it was odd that Ed never introduced any of the new songs and/or talked much about their new album, “Grinning Streak”. Still, I thought the crowd got into the latest “single” from that album, “Odds Are”. Also, getting to the concert right on time was a bonus, seeing Ed, Jim and Kevin perform with their opening act, Boothby Graffoe. It was also well done having Boothby come out and perform “Be My Yoko Ono”. Loved it! Great night and great value for money for about 4 hours!!!

  • Red Rock

    Ed Robertson has turned into a pretty darn good “master of ceremonies” for BNL. While last night’s show might have lack a bit of end-to-end high energy, given the high number of brand new songs performed (5), I think the band is really gelling as a four piece unit. However, it was odd that Ed never introduced any of the new songs and/or talked much about their new album, “Grinning Streak”. Still, I thought the crowd got into the latest “single” from that album, “Odds Are”. Also, getting to the concert right on time was a bonus, seeing Ed, Jim and Kevin perform with their opening act, Boothby Graffoe. It was also well done having Boothby come out and perform “Be My Yoko Ono”. Loved it! Great night and great value for money for about 4 hours!!!

  • A real music fan

    Your review is sophomoric, unknowledgeable, and boring. You suck. Go back to state school.

  • Betterluck

    Congratulations on not paying attention to the set list, but getting your article published, anyway.

  • Johnnie

    Yeah, they played “If I had a Million Dollars.” Where were you? Credibility just lost. They were great, set list was just a little short. They could have played another hour.

  • Tyler Calloway

    Does anyone from the Red Rocks show have the timeline for when each band came on?