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Fun on the Waterfront Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster

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Fun on the Waterfront  Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster photos by Mike Dow

It's difficult to imagine a concert packed with more fun than this year's 'Last Summer on Earth' show, Sunday night at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion.  

Barenaked Ladies returned to Bangor for the second summer in a row and brought with them Ben Folds Five and Guster, two other bands who came of age in the 1990s.  

The concert opened with an unannounced set by British singer-songwriter comedian, Boothby Graffo, a longtime collaborator of Barenaked Ladies.

Shortly after the gates opened, Barenaked Ladies surprised early arrivals with an intimate acoustic set at the Reverb eco-village tent. 

GusterGuster is known for delivering finely crafted pop with a humorous edge and did just that in a tight and fun performance that featured fan favorites from the band's six albums.  

Vocalist Ryan Miller took special note of the clear and cool weather and called it the best of the tour so far.  

The appearance of a Baldwin grand piano signaled the arrival of Ben Folds Five, formed 20 years ago in Chapel Hill Carolina.  The trio's set offered a mix of band classics including 'Song For The Dumped' and the group's 1997 hit single 'Brick.'

BFF 1Ben Folds Five was briefly accompanied by a passing train, whose whistle visibly startled Folds seated at his piano.  He joked that the sound of the train blasting its horn jumped him even more than the fireworks he enjoyed in his formative years.  

Barenaked Ladies, celebrating their 25th anniversary, filled their time on stage with a brilliantly-paced set, spotlighting songs from the band's new album 'Grinning Streak' that fit comfortably along classic material like 'Brian Wilson', 'If I Had $1,000,000,' 'Pinch Me' and 'One Week.' 

The group's trademark improvised stage humor contained many references to Bangor and the band's pre-show swim in the Penobscot River (yes, they really did!).  

Lead vocalist Ed Robertson prefaced a performance of the group's theme from the CBS sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory' by playing recent audio of legendary physicist, Stephen Hawking, reciting the lyrics to the song.  'Stephen Hawking quoted me!' Robertson proclaimed with a mix of joy and disbelief.  

Band interaction was plentiful as Boothby Graffoe joined the Ladies to sing lead on the band's 'Be My Yoko Ono' while Robert Sledge, bassist for Ben Folds Five, joined in on a bass-heavy  'Keepin' It Real' setting up a hilarious segue into Spinal Tap's 'Big Bottoms.'  Guster's Ryan Miller guested on 'Gonna Walk.'  

A cover of Violent Femmes' 'Blister in the Sun' capped a three song encore which sent concert-goers home with huge smiles.  

Concerts seldom, if ever, come more fun than this one.  Here's hoping Barenaked Ladies keep 'Last Summer on Earth' alive and return to the waterfront with another lineup of friends next summer.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:21

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