05.26.01 Berkeley, CA

Greek Theatre with Jack Johnson, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Lake Trout

I Was There
4.5
Login or Register to rate.

The Blind Boys of Alabama made a suprise appearance and sang backup on "I Want to be Ready", "Give a Man a Home" and "I Shall Not Walk Alone." Before "Ground on Down", Ben introduced his guitar and played a few riffs. He also told a story about being on Haight and Ashbury here he was playing guitar when these two folks walked by and said, "Man, you sound just like Ben Harper." He just didn't have the heart to tell them it was actually him.

Who Went

  • Nancy's picture
  • roman21's picture
  • ronniecvrk's picture
  • epsilion's picture
  • gajdab79001's picture
  • steveganz's picture
  • bwalk1154's picture
  • slowbucket45737's picture

Comments/Reviews

anonymous's picture

I don't even know what to say. This concert was so insane and unbeileveably the greatest time i have ever had. My life is now changed for ever. I only knew the song burn one down when i went to that concert and now i am almost convinced ben is a god.

anonymous's picture

All i can say is WOW

anonymous's picture

What a show. I am used to the east coast Ben Harper experience, as I ususally see him play when he come to Philly, but this was a night to remember. What a venue, and the fans were great, except for two chicks on the lawn who talked constantly. They obviously have no clue what was happening on stage this night. God Fearing was a nice smooth opener, but the Manic Depression ripped out of control. A soft sweet #3 was followed by a solid 'cuse me Mr and a red hot Alone. Burn one Down turned the Greek into one big smoke session, with Ben joking at the end "if you didn't smoke before the show, you smoke now!". The Woman in You was a song I wanted to hear and it was awesome, very emotional performance. Ben then talked about his guitar saying he was bringing out "his guitar geekdom" and how it was fretless allowing it to be played like a cello. He demonstrated beatifully and kicked into a rousing Ground on Down. It was nice to hear Remember->Superstition and Forgiven and Steal My Kisses closed the set. For the encore, Ben opened with Walk Away. Then I could see the Criminals slowly move back on stage as Ben introduced the Blind Boys of Alabama. What we heard next was some of the most spiritual, emotional, and just plain sick versions of I Want to Be Ready, Give a Man a Home, and I Shall Not Walk Alone. You could hear a pin drop in the Greek as the Band played a soft backbeat while Ben and the Blind Boys wailed their hearts out!!!! Ben returned for a raucous Faded->Whole lotta love. I forgot to mention Ben told a story about how much he loved the Greek and playing there. He said when he just released Welcome to the Cruel World, he would play on Haight Street, and one day it was sooo cold he had a hood and glasses on as he played. Two people walked by and told him he sounded just like Ben Harper. He never let them know he was, just kept playing their requests. He said if they were at the show tonight, then it was him playing in front of Ben and Jerry's on Haight those years ago. Funny story, great night, thanks to Ben and the boys. Can't wait to see ya again on the East Coast!

steveganz's picture

Walking into the Berkeley Greek Theatre is like walking into your best friends back yard with a big party happening. It just feels like home. The vibe in the air is always so positive and the staff seems like family. The view from the lawn is unparalleled. Out of the three times that Ben has performed at The Greek this was definitely the best for me. Part of what made it so special was being able to attend the show with some of the greatest fans anywhere from all over the country.

All day long before the show I had been singing "God Fearing Man" in my head. To have Ben open with it truly got the show off to an incredible start. I hadn't seen him do it since 1996.

It always amazes me how Ben can be wailing on "Manic Depression" one minute and then turn a dime and bring everything back down to earth with a beautiful rendition of "Number Three". Ben is one of the few musicians that can bring tears to my eyes without ever opening his mouth.

Ben gave another one of his guitar lessons tonight, describing how the steel bar on the neck of the guitar acts like a bow on a cello. He then gave us a demonstration to prove his point. That led directly into one the best versions of "Ground on Down" I have heard in ages.

I had been waiting to hear "Remember > Superstition" for what seems like forever. Seeing the setlists of late I was pretty much aware that I was going to get it at least once this weekend. The boys didn't dissapoint. This dynamic duo barely resembles the version he used to kick out in 1994-1996. It has been brought up to date and put through the "Ben Harper Electromatic 2000"! Of course, this is the time that Juan truly gets to shine. He went off tonight. Slipping in the "So Fresh, So Clean" tag that everyone has been talking about. It was great to see it live.

So, it would appear that Ben has been taking dance lessons. That boy showed of some new moves during "Steal My Kisses". Way to go Ben! :-)

After the first set, we all just took a step back and caught our breath. What was next? Another 6 song acoustic encore like last year at The Greek? Something special was looming, but I had no idea what it was. Ben came out, with his acoustic guitar and sat down to play a very emotional "Walk Away". It was just what I needed to hear. Next, Ben announces he would like to bring out some special guests. Emphasis on plural. What!?!? Ladies and Gentleman....The Blind Boys of Alabama! You could have knocked me over with a feather. The Blind Boys of Alabama shared the stage with Ben for the last three songs of the first encore. It was exquisite. The rearrangements of the tunes were pure brilliance. At one point in "Give a Man a Home" I was wondering, "Hey, where is that guitar coming from? Ben isn't holding one!". Sure enough, there was Juan leaning back on Deans drum riser and playing the guitar parts on his bass. I have to say it again. Brilliant.

To close the show Ben, Juan, Dean and David completed a circle that began almost 9 months ago. The last time they played The Greek on 09/08/00 they teased Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" in the middle of "Faded" for the first time. Tonight it had reached it's maturity, no longer just a tease they let it all hang out, and sent us home with a huge smile on our collective face.

Definitely one for the books. Next up....Santa Barbara.

Peace

anonymous's picture

My buddy calls me the day before this show and says "hey I have tickets to Ben at the Greek theater, you want to go?" there is only one answer to that question. Ben always says how much he loves playing at the Greek and it definitely comes out in is performance. I was already excited to see Ben for the first time in seven months, when I see the Blind Boys of Alabama come in after Jack Johnson's set, and I went through the roof. As David Leach was saying, "How can you not love these guys if you like singing? If you like music?" On to the review though. Even though you could see Ben was not completely well yet, he still starts off with the 1-2 punch of God Fearing Man and Manic Depression. And if that isn't enough, he follows it up with Number Three?!? There are very few in the business that can pull that off, and I think Ben does it the best. Other highlights of the show included: Ben's "Guitar Geek" lesson on the lap steel which led seamlessly into Ground On Down; Juan's extraordinary bass work on Remember (with a li'l Outkast "So Fresh, So Clean" thrown in); the fan who shouted "Don't leave us again Ben!" at the beginning of the first encore, which had Ben busting his sides; three more accompaniments from the Blind Boys of Alabama during the encore which were awe-inspiring; and the Theraflu break in the middle of Faded/Whole Lotta Love. I agree with other dot-netters, that the only review that can do this show justice is one word: wow.