The 90’s music scene was an important one for me. It shaped who I am today and I finally got to see two influential bands from the 90’s at Ravinia in Highland Park on Wednesday night for my first time, CAKE with Ben Folds and I was thrilled. Both acts were amazing and over delivered on my expectations of their performances.
Beginning the night was the Boston-based electrofolk/alternative band, Tall Heights, who doubled as the backing band for Ben Folds. They had pristine tunes and plucked their guitars and cellos perfectly while embracing their tunes from their upcoming album, “Pretty Colors For Your Actions,” releasing October 5. Although their tour is wrapping up soon with Ben Folds, Tall Heights is hitting the road to support their new album from mid-September to the beginning of December, all over the United States.
Up next was the man behind the late 90’s hit, “Brick,” Mr. Ben Folds from Ben Folds Five. He walked out on stage with a pep in his step, wearing a pretty tweet, I mean sweet gray button-up shirt with different birds all over. He started jamming right away on his beautiful, black, grand piano. He didn’t play “Brick,” but he did play other Ben Folds Five hits, “Battle of Who Could Care Less” and “Do It Anyway.” Later on in his set, he brought the front man for CAKE, John McCrea, to sing “Fred Jones Part 2” all while Tall Heights kept up the instrumentals for Folds’ entire performance.
After Folds left the stage, it was time for some CAKE from California. Before they came out, the stage was filled with a drum kit, guitars, keyboards, a mountain with forest backdrop and a small tree at center stage. More about the tree later, but the band arrived and played a solid performance and vocalist, McCrea, was the quintessential entertainer. He sang, he played and he told stories that cracked me up. They band started with “Frank Sinatra” then took you to “Mexico” while they got “Sick of You.” Towards the end, they got into their big hits, “Never There” with an encore of “The Distance.”
You see, every show, CAKE gives a tree to one lucky concert attendee. They give them away however they wish and my show’s winner had a trivia question and won an apple tree. The only stipulation is that you have to make sure to plant the tree, take a picture with it and share it on their website under their “CAKE Forest” section. They have fans who have planted trees nearby Ravinia in Chicago, up north in Milwaukee, Alaska and Hawaii and all around the world in Europe, Australia and Suriname.
On a side note, I brought a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes to eat at the CAKE concert. It was the perfect dessert to eat at the end the sweet night out under the stars at Ravinia.