04.06.01 Claremont, CA

Bridges Auditorium with Jack Johnson

I Was There
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Ben played a solo acoustic hometown show to a sold out crowd. He was joined by his mother on Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time". Most of the concert was previously available online as part of the Warner Bros. Live Concert Series. It was broken up into four segments with a pre-show interview. Part 1: "Waiting On An Angel", "Suzie Blue", "Burn One Down / With My Own Two Hands", "Please Bleed" and "Tomorrow Is A Long Time." Part 2: "Excuse Me Mr./Burnin' & Lootin'", "Pleasure And Pain", "Power Of The Gospel" and "Glory & Consequence". Part 3: "Widow Of A Living Man", "Walk Away", "The Drugs Don't Work", "Roses From My Friends" and "Like A King" > "I'll Rise." Part 4: "The Woman In You", "Sexual Healing", "I Shall Not Walk Alone" and "By My Side."

Who Went

  • roman21's picture
  • Terri's picture
  • bjnestor20592's picture
  • steveganz's picture
  • kyle1416's picture
  • .xman's picture
  • suzieblue8's picture
  • jarenzana's picture
  • slowbucket45737's picture
  • zumaron's picture
  • brando's picture


cinamonblair74841's picture

Well, this was the fourth time I ventured out to see Ben, but actually ,
only the third time that I witnessed his
essence. Ben is truly an inspiration to
me and his music and presence has helped
me to write some music that has been very theraputic. On Monday, April
2nd., I hopped on a bus leaving NYC to
Claremont, Ca. the trip took 60 hours,
what a beautiful country we live in. That was the best part about the travel-
ling, the views, but Ben is worth any
nonsense that I encountered on my long
journey. Visiting the Folk Music Store
in Claremont was quite coincidental, I
knew his family owned a music store, but
I had no idea that it was the one that I
by chance decided to enter. Upon enter-
ing the store, I immediately noticed
this beautiful young lady behind the
counter with two braids in her hair and
an equally handsome young man in the
back of the store with cornrows in his
hair. I said to myself, he looks a lot
like Ben, then I saw this old article in
a frame on a shelf with Ben's picture in
it, and that is when it clicked, This is
his family's store. I could not wipe the smile off of my face, and then I
turned around and who was standing over
by the counter? Mr.Harper. This was
the best experience I have had in a long
time. It was also very nice to talk to
the Woman that helped mold Ben into the
man that he is today, His mother, Thank

anonymous's picture

Dear Ben, I came to Claremont, CA all the way from Whitefish, MT without tickets!!. Me and my friend Jeremy drove to Tacoma, WA and met up with another friend named Adam who took us in his RV all the way to CA. (You have actually met Adam before, he has a couple of pictures of you and him.)
Well this was the first time I have ever seen you perform and I was AMAZED.
I have never seen so much emotion being expressed in such a beautiful way. I was in tears during "The Drugs Don't Work" it reminded me of my sister. Thank you Ben for sharing so much of yourself with us. I would also like to thank the two cats that sold us the tickets. I know one of their names was Thomas and I can't remeber the other, but where ever you guys are THANK YOU!!
The concert was such a wonderful gift.
I would also like to say that for the most part the audience was extremely respectful except for a few yahoos that just can't keep thier mouth shut when a room is quiet. Ben thanx again and you ever make it up to Whitefish Montana you have got not only a big fan but a friend as well waiting to welcome you.
Sincerely, Matthew Sigler

Kimberly's picture

The Claremont performance was truly a once in a lifetime experience for any Ben Harper fan. The venue was about as big as my high school auditorium and I sat in the 13th row. I loved hearing Ben speak about his music and his life growing up in Claremont. He was extremely generous playing for almost two hours! He also answered questions and joked around with the audience. At one point someone yelled out the name of his first band and Ben yelled back "You have way too much time on your hands!" My favorite part of the concert was when he sang a duet with his mother. The love there was incredibly touching. I also loved hearing Another Lonely Day,The Drugs Don't Work and of course Burn One Down. Jack Johnson, the opening act, was amazing as well. This concert is definately one for the record books. Thank You Ben for making it happen!

Melanie's picture

I am floating..... Friday day and night were SUCH a natural high.... thanks to all the .netters and to Ben... what a privilege to see such a show... Jack was incredible too.... meeting Ben after the show.... geez..... it is Monday morning and at this point it is all SO sureal.....

anonymous's picture

All i have to say at this moment after just now getting back in iowa, from claremont is :) :) :) :). more to come later

orangeuliasz's picture

This was my 4th Ben Harper show and definitely the best, it will be real tough to top this one since it was so intimate and it felt like he was only playing to a room of 50 people. It was a very spiritual show for everyone!
Waiting on an angel was a very mellow and quiet beginning and it was very emotional for me, seeing him in a solo performance for the first time. I almost felt like crying. He wore a blue long sleeved shirt and when he took that off later on we saw his tattoos and he had a short sleeved blue shirt on with the british flag on it. Burn one Down got a big response from the crowd and he seemed really happy to be playing it, and there was a song I hadn't heard before that he added into it, which was really nice, With my Own Two Hands. I think the message in that one is that one can start to make a change in the world by simply changing themselves.
Near the beginning he got a break and he said it felt like he should have one long conversation with us!!
Before Suzie Blue he talked about his old neighborhood and the stores like nick's cafe and the candybar where me met JP for the first time when he was 7 standing in line.
and he would "terrorize" the patrons there when he was a kid. He saw a jazz band too a lot , i think the name was the real jazz band and he finally got them into the studio to guest on suzie blue. It was great hearing the acoustic version because it was so different, and I love hearing new stuff played live.
Please Bleed took the performance to a new level of energy, and the power in his voice really showed in the end when he played louder and sang louder, this one was very moving in its stripped format. Excuse Me Mr. was taken slower and Ben really got into singing this one, it is a very personal song for him I think. Extending into Burnin' was great since he captures the spirit of that song very well! Power of the Gospel featured an extended intro and it was nice to hear this one live because even acoustically it is close to the original. There is something in the way Ben sings even a "simple" song like this which makes it come to life!
Another surprise was Glory and Consequence, which I had never heard acoustic before.. the guitar playing was excellent on it. He got out the Weissenborn guitar and then played Mama's got a Girlfriend now next. The dynamics on this one are great, and to hear the guitar in an acoustic setting is just something else because you can pick out all the notes and there is no distortion. That is what made this so special, since the crowd was quiet for the most part, it was the best situation to hear his vocals and guitar playing. I think Ben Harper shines the most while playing acoustic. Afterwards he explained to us where the guitar came from and when it was made (1930's) and a bit how it worked. It seemed like a guitar class of some sort!
He talked about a teacher in highschool that was the best teacher he had in his life, i think his name was Jack Knapp. He would make even the worst kids feel like they were Harvard bound and he was a rare person who would make a difference and spend time with everyone. ben spoke highly of him, and its great because teachers are very influential.. and even though ben was probably an average student, he said he got through high school sort of..his teacher made him feel like he got straight A's. and after he passed , Ben wrote the song Pleasure and Pain about him. It was like hearing it again for the first time after that story behind it.
Then he started telling us how he writes certain songs in different perspectives and they are sometimes hard to sing (child, woman's view, etc) and he went on to say that this song was hard for him to sing, he was uncomfortable with it. His bandmates and others would urge him to play it and then after a while he felt better about it after playing it a lot. This was from a woman and child's point of view, the Widow of a Living Man. The story gave the song new life for me since I wasn't a huge fan of the song before, and it was a chilling performance.
Walk away was very haunting, it is one of his best songs I think and it is always a good feeling to hear it, even though it makes me sad. I was so happy when he played the Drugs Don't Work!! It has become one of my favorite songs that he plays, and I think that he makes it his own. Roses from my Friends is also one of my all time favorites, and he played these even better than on the live album. Roses is a very special song to me, so it was an emotional experience, I had to close my eyes for it.
Yet another surprise was Like A King/I'll Rise. These aren't my favorites but hearing them live is another matter. Once again, great playing on the Weissenborn and a great song to end the show with.
The Woman In You for the encore was completely unexpected, I didn't think he could pull it off but he did. I could almost feel what he felt while playing it, it was that powerful. The extended vocals blew me away to hear them live at the end, it must have been almost 30 seconds long when he sang "Womannnnnnnnn!!" Then Sexual Healing got a huge response from the crowd because everyone wanted him to play that song, it was beautiful.
He was very happy to be back and very grateful to everyone for supporting him and he thanked us several times.
he talked about jp's famous quote: "i could take my last 500$ and record with you or go to vegas!" and he said that he hoped that he made the right gamble. he mentioned that he had nothing and now he has all this, so he wanted to tell us that with determination, will and hard work we can achieve our dreams too. He thanked his mother too, and his family since they influenced him to get into music..
Then he played a song with his mother, which was particularly appropriate since it was at home. Their version of Tomorrow is a Long Time is very good, and Ben changed the vocals a bit in the harmonies this time. I was lucky enough to see him play it with her for the first time in Santa Barbara.
After he leaves the applause is thunderous and everyone is yelling for him to come back again, which he does.
The 2nd encore is very different from the first, much more somber. Another Lonely Day is one of his best songs too and he captures the vibe perfectly.
He also mentioned his belief system before playing I shall not walk alone..
he joked that he would be a born again atheist.. and he did not want to be boxed in by religions and that he believes in a spirit, and that people use the isms and schisms to divide us instead of going for harmony. I think that he was trying to say that we are limited by religious fanatism and he does not want to associate himself with that, he wants to be open and as free as possible.
He also talked about music and how it is his only voice sometimes, his only outlet to express himself. I could relate completely to it.. he says he doesnt know how he writes songs , sometimes they just come to him and when they do you have to grab the ideas right back and just go with it.. which is why he does all kinds of different styles i think.
By my Side was a great closer for this show and fitting for an acoustic show like this, I was really happy he played it.
I left the show amazed and with renewed faith in music. It is really too hard to convey how good it was and how I felt, but it really was the best Ben Harper show I have seen. I guess you can hear what it was sort of like by listening to Live from Mars. I have to thank him for his integrity, spirituality and all he has given us through the music because it means a lot to me. I'm looking forward to next time!!

orangeuliasz's picture

That was the most unbelievable show. I am seriously still speechless. Ben is an amazing voice, incredible talent, and very kind soul all in one man.

"How I hate to remember...for it means the day has past"

roman21's picture

wow, i have seen ben eleven times before and this was just so special. this was my first solo acoustic show. i've never seen him talk so much. you could really tell that he felt so much love and was so glad to be home. i think he played pleasure and pain right after excuse me mr./burnin and lootin. also, jack johnson was great. i bought his album last week but hadn't caught him live until last night he was great. after his set, he sat in the audience and enjoyed the show with the rest of us. last night was just awesome.

jhuang_7940295's picture

Probably the only time I will ever get to see something like this! So intimate! Thank you Ben!
Some key information:
I think the setlist is missing "Pleasure and Pain." Ben told us that he wrote that song after a highschool teacher that he admired (I think his name was "Jack Knapp?") died.

anonymous's picture

Last night was by far the most amazing concert I've ever been to. My tickets were for the balcony, but I sat right behind the orchestra seats, like 15 feet away from Ben. During the encore, when everyone stood up, we walked right up to the stage. The second encore was so great. He did lots of talking, the one that touched me the most was his explanation of the connection between music and spirituality...

Best show ever.

--Nathan Spindel