03.24.00 Caen, France

Le Zenith with Joseph Arthur

I Was There
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Tonight's crowd was really loud and excited. Ben acknowledged them by saying at one point "Thank you everybody, we have an amazing crowd tonight!" Juan danced all night long. He, Ben, and crew launched water bottles to the crowd all through the night. During the solo acoustic encore, the crowd was still singing but slowly quieted down after "Walk Away."

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aurel's picture

Oh oui, je me souviens de ce moment memorable, ca faisait 6 ans que je l'ecoutais et au debut j'etais loin d'imaginer qu'il viendrai a Caen. Maintenant ca fait 6 ans de cela, il est venue pour la troisieme fois sur caen et malgres son show boulversant, ce premier concert reste quelque chose d'indescriptible pour nous comme pour lui j'ai l'impression. Nous savons que Ben aime Caen et il sait que nous l'aimons aussi bcp.... vivement qu'il debarque pour de bon !

anonymous's picture

Ben and the Innocent Criminals took the stage after a rather boring Joseph Arthur set and after the lights showed the "Burn To Shine" snake on the stage's wall. Between both sets, someone lit candles on the left side of the stage. Everything was ready for the band.
Quickly the guys went on stage under the heavy crowd cheers, and "Alone" started in the sold out venue, totally filled with smoke clouds. The solo on that song was amazing and it was as if the venue was falling on the floor. Then came "Forgiven" with a great Weissenborn introduction, a great song with perfect drums. Then the dream really started : "Burn One Down" with David on front of the stage. Everybody's singing in the venue. As Ben started "Jah Work" after "Burn One Down", my brother realized his favourite song has started and was totally amazed (as everybody was). This song is so touching and powerful... I couldn't help an "Exodus" shout at the end of the song because I wanted them to play this Marley song they had been playing 2 times only in 1997. Of course Ben did not hear me. "Ground On Down" was really loud, and unfortunately the sound in the Zenith wasn't very good (slight echo and strange balances). When he started "Faded", a friend of mine (we were 6 friends at the show) couldn't believe they were playing his favourite tune. Ben took the black double Gibson for "Burn To Shine" and I remember checking how Ben switched the Gibson's frets during the solo because on all TV broadcasts I had seen, they had put this off... Funny. This was live, man. "Don't Take That Attitude To Your Grave" did not get "Jungle" in it, and I think having it would have made the night 10 times better. Anyway "Oppression/Get Up Stand Up" was outstanding. Seeing the words "Free Leonard Peltier Now" on the guitar brought the medley to a new life to me. Leonard Peltier needs to be free, this is a shame for America. Oppression is a shame. "Less" was really hard-rocking sounding. Of course the Human Beat Box "Nick Rich" was here on "Steal My Kisses", with the crowd being louder and louder as Juan played an incredible solo - we have been shouting "Juan is the best" all night, and we think he deserve it. Juan, you're the best! David was playing a wood box, that Ben took at the end of the song before he left, took it in his hands and looked at as if he was surprised, like "How can he play such a thing"? :)
The first encore was ruined by the loud yells and shouts from the crowd, but it was really intense and so much touching. Thank you, Ben. "Power Of the Gospel" was definitely the highlight of the night for me (the version might appear on "Live From Mars").
The second encore was really enjoyable, mostly because the sound was made better. For the first time of the night, the guitar sound was clear. "Glory & Consequence" was surprising but really cool - and if I'm not wrong, it was the first time they played it on the french tour. "The Woman In You" got a strong response from the crowd. Finally the best for me was "Like A King > I'll Rise", for the first time on the french tour as well, oustanding performance and great, great singing. After the band left, I could not believe it had already finished but at the same time, looking at my clock, I realized how long they had been playing and, as a consequence, how much they had given to us.
Five minutes after "I'll Rise" had ended, the stage was already almost empty, ready to go to Lille.
David threw setlists, and my bro and I got 6 setlists for each one of our friends! (for a scan of the setlist, email me at jahwork@europe.com).
Quickly my brother & I went to see the sound ingeneer in the middle of the venue, at the soundboard, and we asked if there was a recording of that show available. Stupid question, right? Anyway, you never know... Of course he told us that no, there was no recording available to us, but as he was putting some cables in a bag, he also told us to see Ben "at the back". For sure, we knew we had to go back. But unfortunately we did not (because we couldn't). Some friend of mine told me Ben even returned on stage after the second encore, signing tickets and setlists. Another thing we missed...
But this time was our first ever Ben Harper live show, and it will remain in my (our) memory as something that will never get surpassed (maybe until next show?). Thanks Ben, and thanks to the Innocent Criminals.