I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEN, WHEN I LISTEN TO HIS UNMANUFACTURED BRILENCE, ALL I CAN DO IS PICHURE THE MAN, SITTING AND PLAYING AND SINGING TO AN AUDIANCE OF TOUSANDS.......
PLEASE COME TO AUSTRALIA AND SIT AND PLAY AND SING BEN
Chicago was just busy, very busy. There were people in town for the taste of Chicago, the approaching 4th of July, and a host of other random events. I figured all the people I saw on the street were going to one of the city's many events but as we walked from the train station to Soldier field I couldn't help but notice the unusual number of Abercrombie wearing, Crush humming teens flocking in the same direction as us. 75,000 people, one of the largest crowd's I have ever been a part of. Ozomatli kicked off the show with their unique hybrid style of latin/jazz/hiphop/funk. Unfortuantely most people spent the set buying beer and finding their seats. By the time Ben started the place was filling in very quickly. Alot of people were curious because of Ben's recent single "Steal My Kisses". The set was great. Glory and Consequence was on an electric which gave the song a new, harder feel. Forgiven featured a short version of the intro Ben has started playing with that song. All the songs were tight and by the end of Ben's set head's were turing and people were rushing to their seats. I would have liked to see Ben play for a few more hours, but I have no complaints about this great hour long set at Soldier field. After his set Ben climbed up into the seats behind the stage and signed everything in sight, very unexpected at a stadium show like this.Dave Matthews Band was good, they would have been better if there weren't so many teeny bopper girls singing along and screaming requests for rarities they got off Napster..but that's another story.
Two hours before Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals embrace the sold out Soldier Field stadium crowd, young fans are busy parading outside the entrances, buying souvenirs of any kind and having conversations on cell phones. Standing out from the rest of the crowd in their lime green and light blue shirts, security individuals and ushers surround the main entrance. After a few minutes of standing still, the sounds of "Forgiven" escape from the speakers inside and on top of the 93 XRT radio van parked in the path of those in search of entertainment. Entering the stadium with immense anticipation and excitement of the unknown, she follows the numbered signs up, right, and through the small opening which leads into the sunlight. Section 128, up and to the right again...she gazes toward the top row, where the seats and the sky meet; then she turns around, thrilled to see the stage. She could have sworn that at most shows everybody could see the band performing, but at Soldier Field this isn't the case. If your ticket says "side view," it means that you get a view of the back side of the covered stage and a direct view of other people in the stadium. As others arrive, either laughing and cheering or pouting and mumbling about their "wonderful" seats for which they had paid close to fifty dollars, she calmly stands, observing people setting up a video screen on the side of stage left which is an attempt to remedy the situation of poor ticket selling. At 6 p.m., the stadium is a quarter full, and Ozomatli is heading on stage. Unfortunately, not many listen to the upbeat and enthusiastic music of Ozomatli like she did, but she figured that either many hadn't heard their music before or had only come to see Ben Harper and the IC and Dave Matthews Band. Well, she was ready for Ben and the Innocent Criminals to grace the crowd with their presence, and luckily it was just about to happen.
She watches as they step up six feet above the floor ready to belt it out for everyone to hear. "Glory and Consequence" reaches out with an invisible hand and moves everyone toward the center of the stadium...well, as far as the numbers on their tickets would allow. She knows that it is an amazing sight to see the band performing, but the idea is to listen. Three more songs, and Ben introduces Juan, Dean, and David, gives thanks to DMB, and expresses what a beautiful sight the people in the stadium is. Ben shares the childhood dream of hearing his voice in a stadium; the way one could imagine it echoing and then slowly fading through the space. On the generic echo of "enough," Ben announces that the next song will be "Woman in You", and since it is for the benefit of those who are first-timers, he calls it "the Woman in You is the worry in me". Well, the guys rock, Ben wails, and it blows the crowd away. During the transition from the jam to the next verse, the crowd explodes with a cheer, believing that the song has ended, but she knows better; just then Ben turns to the mic., and the words, 'half a man walks with no shadow' exit through the speakers; the crowd erupts once more; of course, that wouldn't be the last time. "Burn one Down" gets the front floor section to stage left invloved while the rest dance, listen, and sing along. When Hendrix's "Manic Depression" is released into the crowd, those who are dancing dig deeper and just won't stop, but it isn't until "the human beat box," Nick Rich, joins Ben and the IC on stage for "Steal my Kisses" that the audience really comes alive and participates. She assumes that it is all due to the radio play that it has been getting within the past few months. After thanking the crowd, the guys empty the stage, and the crowd moves like a huge snake out into the drink lines where everyone is talking about how amazing the performance was and how psyched they were to hear "Steal my Kisses." The one-hour performance had energized people; however, rechargers are needed before Dave Matthews Band.