It was only 5:30 p.m. This was going to be a long night.
I drove my wife to Kansas City for a concert of a performer she loved (Ben Folds), that I wanted to see as much as an Amish girly magazine.
Amish Guy 1: Oh, Jebediah. It shows ankle.
Amish Guy 2: Avert your eyes, Obadiah.
I took her to the concert and smiled because that’s what you do if you want to stay married.
Ben Folds performance with the Kansas City Symphony was at the relatively new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. We’d moved north of the Kansas City area a decade ago, and although returning to visit family, we’ve never seen the center. It looks like the Sydney Opera House.
Quick fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger won his last Mr. Olympia title at the Sydney Opera House in 1980.
It’s fine for the Sydney Opera House to look like the Sydney Opera House because architect Jørn Utzon designed it to resemble the great sails on the ships that first brought Europeans to Australia. The opera house also overlooks Sydney Harbor. Sailing ships didn’t bring Europeans to Kansas City because Kansas City is in the middle of a continent. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful building) overlooks concrete.
Quick fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t be caught dead at this concert.
My wife and I don’t have the same taste in music. I like songs with searing guitar riffs. She likes music by men who cry. Is there something farther apart than polar opposite? I thought not. There needs to be, because that would describe our CD collections.
“There’s a lot of people here,” my wife said as we stood on the mezzanine looking below at the ritzy people there for the symphony who were ignoring the young hipsters there for Ben Folds. The hipsters looked ironically pleased with themselves, as they always do.
“You like the symphony.”
Of course I like the symphony. I’m not an uncultured swine. I’m at least a semi-cultured swine.
I could sense her blood pressure rising. “Just don’t ruin this for me.”
I went to find the bathroom.
My wife bought the tickets online before I could do anything about it (like I could). She was just in time to buy two seats, but not in time to get them together, so I snuck in earplugs, which were as effective as index fingers. I needed one of those headsets the airport ground crew used.
Maybe I’m giving Ben Folds a hard time. In 2002, he received a Recording Industry Association of America gold record for his former group’s (Ben Folds Five) album “Whatever and Ever Amen.” Oh, and he’s a member of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, probably along with some banjo players. There’s nothing wrong with that; I like banjo music. He’s also performed with musical greats like William Shatner and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
“Wasn’t the symphony beautiful?” my wife asked after the show.
“Yes, it was, but if the symphony is playing pop songs I don’t like, it’s just pop songs I don’t like with strings.”
She nodded. “Fine.”
Quasi-marital bliss for one more day.
Jason Offutt writes this column for The Examiner.