07.16.00 Philadelphia, PA

Veterans Stadium with Ozomatli, Dave Matthews Band

I Was There
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Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Setlist 1969-12-31 - Veterans Stadium - Philadelphia, PA

"Burn One Down" was on the setlist, but not played.

Who Went

  • Nancy's picture
  • HueyB.'s picture


anonymous's picture

I had never heard of Ben Harper before this show. I went for DMB, but when I saw this I became an instant fan.

julysmile84185's picture

Bolts of lightning and crackling thunder escort the wind and rain three hours before Ozomatli performs. This spectacular storm engulfs the stadium and is delivered by enormous black clouds. She emerges from the shelter of a transit system awning after being literally shaken and baffled by the power of the storm. Entering the stadium earlier than other nights, she senses awkwardness by the fact that practically no one is around. She scans the empty hallways for an ice cream stand, and after finding one, she gets a large ice cream with sprinkles and heads out to find her seat or one better. It's slightly drizzling as she walks around the 200-level sections searching for an ideal spot. She stops in a designated handicap area and listens to Ozomatli's performance while eating her tasty ice cream. It can't get much better than this, right? You know that saying, "There's a calm before the storm?" If not, there is a saying that does state this. So, it's now 6:55p.m., and Dave Matthews walks on stage and tells the crowd that the next band are "good people, so please have a good time with Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals." Have a good time? she thought; why not have a wonderfully exciting time? She can see David run over to his set as Ben takes his seat. Nothing prepared her for what was about to happen. At first, Ben just asked the crowd who had been there yesterday, and those who were cheered. And, then he said, "Some of you might say, 'That guy is wearing the same exact thing. It is part of a government funded science experiment. I will have the results 'sent' to you all; 'scent', you get it, 'scent', haha." Nothing out of the ordinary, as of yet. But, then he just kept going. Talking about the day, and asking what day it is. Being that it is Sunday, there are some who didn't make it to church. Ben asks, "Who found God anyway?" There are many cheers, but they sound small in such a huge stadium. He says, "Tell her I say hello." This comment sparked a whole other tangent to the one-sided conversation. Ben says, "I'm half serious, and I'm half joking. If I were a woman I would be offended at the idea that God has to be a man. I think that people are afraid of strong-minded women. I come from a long line of strong-minded women. My mother is a strong-minded woman, my wife is a strong minded woman, and I have helped give birth to a very strong-minded little woman. So, is God a man or did man make God a man?" This was absolutely amazing, never had she heard Ben talk so much to an audience. Hopefully, people listened and took it to heart because she knows that Ben's words are strong and well informed; one should be so blessed to hear these spoken. Ben gives thanks to the Ozo fans, all of the Ben Harper heads, and also to the DMB fans for letting them "put a little something in their ear." He then says, "We are Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and lately we have been discussing the essence of life." The sun breaks through the clouds just as the guys prep to break into "Ground On Down." The words, "life is short, and if you're lookin' for extension, with your time, you had best do well," really emphasized her thoughts on many things, most of which are too lengthy to dive into at this moment. She is asked to move from the handicap platform by a pleasant usher, so she steps up into the seats behind her. No worries; it's still a better spot than her real seat up in section 626. Ben tells the crowd that he will try to get his voice to the back of the stadium and then picks out a few people that he can see, such as a woman in an orange shirt. Ben says, "Woman in the orange shirt, can you hear me? I guess not, she's not waving. Can anyone hear me back there?" The crowd replies by standing, cheering, or waving their arms. The guys fly through "Faded," and even though she had a difficult time hearing it because she was off to the side of the stage, it still hit her powerfully. Ben speaks, "Thanks to those who like it and sorry to those I'm pissing off." After announcing "Glory and Consequence" as the next song, the people in front of her who are standing along the railing of the walkway are told to move to their seats. Some leave and others stay, hoping not to miss any more of the song. It sends such a strong understanding to those who think that way. She takes it in and realizes that the words in the second verse explain what she has been going through. The song ends, and Ben yells out, "Hey, what's up Philly?! It takes practice to say 'what's up' to thousands of people, but I can get used to it." He looks down at his double six-string and says quietly, "There is a hair in my strings." He flows right through "Burn To Shine." It was precise and electric! Ben tosses his slide to a guy in the front rows and informs the audience that the next song is "from the first record, 'Welcome to the Cruel World,' called 'Don't Take that Attitude To Your Grave.' It's a family values kind of song." So thrilled because she admires this song and loves to hear it live, she whistles and yells. Ben really gets his voice to the back of the stadium. It is probably reaching the parking lot it is so loud and clear! They flow into Marley's "Concrete Jungle" and back out into "Don't Take that Attitude To Your Grave." David really breaks it down, just putting it all out there. Juan joins in with his bass, and Dean jumps in to have a drum jam with David. Whew! That was sure to keep the thunderstorm from returning. Ben thanks the DMB guys and others such as, crew and catering. He mentions, "They could have chosen anyone, but they chose us." He introduces the band, mentions Dean's nakedness again, and thanks the crowd. "Sexual Healing" grabs the crowd and massages its ego and sets the right mood for "The Will To Live." Dean's drum intro gets the attention of those she can see. As the song continues to rip, she wonders how many people understand or can truly relate to these lyrics. It would be interesting to know the views of others on this song. The noise from the crowd fills the space between the end of "The Will To Live" and when Ben says, "I'd like to introduce Nick Rich on human beat box." "Steal My Kisses" kicks off with Nick's strong beat, and Juan throws in a nice touch by rubbing the strings of his bass to make a scratching noise. When Ben leads in with the guitar, people scream in order to let others know of their enthusiasm for this song. Ben gets up and really gets into it. He moves off his riser to dance. He faces David's percussion set and then turns around toward the crowd. All of the guys start jumping, and then Dean jumps up on Ben's riser to lead the audience in a clap. Ben moves down stage to clap and dance in front of his riser. Surprisingly, Ben keeps dancing after the music stops. It's now 8p.m.; unfortunately, their set is over. Ben steps up to the mic on his riser and says, "God bless, fuck the rest." She flashes a Cheshire cat grin in response to the performance and feels grateful and privileged to have been here to hear all of it. Pondering the idea of the calm before the storm some more, she discovers that the calm was the huge ball of electricity which passed through shedding rain a few hours before, which preceded the real storm of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. They entered Veterans Stadium as a giant ball of energy, bringing the rays of sun from the clouds and soaking everyone with powerful words. She sits in a puddle of absolute truth, appreciating the experience, feeling truly blessed.