This was my first and so far only Ben Harper concert. It was beautiful. It was a great venue as it was very personal and fantastic sound. some bob thrown in there with "concrete jungle" and "get up, stand up" rocked my world. and "power of the gospel" was heavy, awesome.
The first time I saw Ben play was at Bercy, in Paris a few months before the Calgary show. 18,000 plus people for this show - Ben thanked everyone for being so respectful despite the numbers. Luckily, after the Calgary show, I had I chance to chat with Juan and David about the Paris show and they both remebered it fondly.
Calgary had a similar setlist, but a much different crowd. As it was my third time seeing him, I could relax a bit and just be happy with whatever vibe was going down. In Paris I felt the extremes - but in all honesty, I was so freaked out I was seeing him live for the first time (at such an INCREDIBLE show) I think I missed a bit.
I saw him in Edmonton the day before and he posted the most unreal acoustic set there. I will never forget the way he began 'One Road to Freedom.' He explained where the song was coming from - which he doesn't do much, then he went into the most brilliant intro and then, fucked the song up about 2 minutes in. A flurry of expletives followed soon accompanied with "you all paid too much money to hear that." Next, Ben started over, and nailed the song. I appreciated the 'I'm-human' aspect of the gig.
The Calgary show had a sit-down-and-enjoy atmosphere, which I had been looking for. The acoustics were great, and it was the most uplifting experience. For me it was my third show, but the highlight of the evening was witnessing the looks on the faces of those seeing Ben and the Innocents for the FIRST time. I appreciated that.
Of course, the BOMB was meeting all the Boys - roadies included - after the show. It was Juan's Birthday (he ran to the bus with a bottle of Whisky - I think he thought I was chasing him). Ben was sincere and appreciative as he signed for the few fans (smart enough to hang out) waiting to catch a glimpse. I walked away with the ultimate souveneir - a signed setlist from the entire crew including the "human beat-box."
All in all, a great show from the most significant band I have ever heard.
What can I say about Ben Harper. Two words 'kick ass' that definately works. If you ever have the chance to check out one of his shows do not hesitate to go. I also had the pleasure of seeing him with the Dave Mathews Band down in Denver. mmm when ben's jamming on Watchtower.