Ben Lee supporting Aimee Mann Sunday June 19, 2005 Three Rivers Arts Festival Pittsburgh, PA

Gamble Everything For Love/Begin/No Right Angles/Apple Candy/No Room To Bleed*/Into The Dark/Close I've Come/Catch My Disease**/We're All In This Together

*- first time played  **-"They play Huey Lewis/The Clarks/'Til Tuesday on the radio..."

The last show of the 46th Annual Three Rivers Arts Festival. It was quite a beautiful Father's Day so we made it a family affair towing along the four year old. We came down early to see the art. As we were strolling around I heard Aimee Mann soundchecking. Since I didn't want to wait till ten p.m. with the kid for "siggy love",  I scrambled over to the stage as she was walking off.

I quickly got off this totally shittay shot.

Aimee Mann autographed Magnolia soundtrack CD cover

Ben came out later and totally won over the crowd. It was quite impressive. He was engaging and his tunes were perfect for the gathering throng. He announced from the stage that it's his last show with Aimee Mann and he only had 35 discs left. I immediately headed to the merch table and within minutes they were gone. I thought he was great.

Ben Lee autographed setlist

Ben Lee autographed Awake Is The New Sleep CD cover

We were going to stay for Aimee Mann but the kid was getting cranky and the place was filling up. It was getting SCARY crowded. Tons of people were filing in as we were leaving. To my surprise there a TON of lesbians in attendance. For a second I thought I was at a Phrank show.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review 

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Aimee Mann

The weather was sunny and warm for Sunday's Three Rivers Arts Festival finale. Headliner Aimee Mann was anything but.

But fans expect no less than downbeat material from Mann. She and her four-piece band delivered all the melody and melancholy that defines her great dark pop tunes like "Humpty Dumpty," "Wise Up" and "Deathly."

Mann boldly included nine of the 12 story songs from her new concept album "The Forgotten Arm" in her hour-long set. The tale of a drug-addicted former boxer and his doomed romance, "Arm" didn't make for breezy listening. But the attentive were rewarded with aching versions of "Video" and "I Can't Get My Head Around It" and a stinging take on the set closer "I Can't Help You Anymore."

Mann didn't bring any light-heartedness to her show, even in such bright, welcoming surroundings. She admonished a fan bringing her a flower with, "I'm doing a show here." She then thanked him, but sent him off with the zinger, "You know I ask my father not to come to shows." She apparently hasn't gotten over her 2000 Academy Awards experience, introducing her "Magnolia" soundtrack song "Save Me" as her piece that "lost an Oscar to Phil Collins and his cartoon monkey love song."

But that's Aimee Mann. Somehow her acerbic edge helps her reveal the humanity of the broken, troubled characters she describes in song. Such is not the stuff of silly or celebratory shows -- just powerful, quietly moving ones.

-- Review by John Young
for the Post-Gazette


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