05.27.01 Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Bowl with Jack Johnson

I Was There
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The Blind Boys of Alabama joined Ben once again for "I Want to be Ready", "Give a Man a Home" and "I Shall Not Walk Alone." In an unprecedented change of tempo, the band closed the show with "Welcome to the Cruel World."

Who Went

  • Nancy's picture
  • roman21's picture
  • steveganz's picture
  • kyle1416's picture
  • kasedoug's picture
  • suzieblue8's picture
  • bwalk1154's picture
  • jackietipper730's picture
  • zumaron's picture
  • janinewjohnson's picture


anonymous's picture

Well Ben, you delivered another intense performance. This was my 2nd SB bowl show that you and your boys put forth, and yes, it is the most beautiful venue in the country. Maybe not the most luxurious, but how many spots can I sing "Burn One Down" to the stars above? Jack, Adam, & Marlo looked as if they were having a blast ON stage this time, creating a positive vibe throughout the crowd. B.A.M. hooked up pit bracelets and worked a few friends in. Not a moment was spent idle. BHIC kept everyones booties a'shakin' and toes a'tapin'. "Excuse Me Mr.", "Ground on Down", "Steal My Kisses" (untainted by all the media exposure) Rocked! And there were real tears in my eye as the first chords of "I Want To Be Ready" began. I have to say, of all the performances I have seen, Ben, this was the most magical. The location, the good friends, the good vibe, the great Dank, & the music, oh the music! The Blind Boys from Alabama was the spice to this concerts recipe, good call. Please come back Ben, as soon as you can.
Perhaps a collaboration concert would be a success. Ben, Jack, G. Love, & Grandaddy Youth....that would be grand. Much love and respect from out here in Ventura, California!

mr_eon22123551's picture

All I can say is Damn.... I was a bit faded that night and it made the show all the better... I came to see Jack Johnson but I left , a Ben Harper Fan... Since then I have bought all his albums and seen him twice... Ever since, I havent seen Ben Stand up at a concert... I think He liked Santa Barbara... Well Peace

" Da Healing Powa is in Da Ganja"
- Some Jamaican dude I met


anonymous's picture

There was not a single minute of this show that didn't amaze me. I still have flashbacks to the many epic moments, in particular the Manic Depression cover. Is improvement possible? Maybe a 15 minute version of God Fearing Man next time. Peace.

anonymous's picture

This was my first Ben show! I went to see Ben because I know his opener, Jack Johnson. I've seen Jack twice, and the first show was better sounding.

A bunch of teachers from my high school went, so I hooked up with them after Jack's set. One of them has seen Ben three times!

I did enjoy Ben, though. The highlight for me was "Alone," "Ground on Down" and "Sexual Healing." Just being there and knowing Jack Johnson, made it all worthwhile!


rsm8835's picture

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals put on another excellent emotional and soulful show! They do a great job of mixing things up since it is always great to hear surprises and guests at shows!
Ben was in a good mood and talked about his Weissenborn guitar and described it a little and also mentioned that this was one of his all time favorite venues and is one of the most beautiful in the country. He also had a good story about how men never listen and that he was guilty of that too, so they might as well cuff him! He said that his mom took him there when he was 10 to see Taj Mahal. Strange though with no mention of the big Lakers win that day.
I was near the front and I could see the lights cast a shadow on him, which looked cool and ominous on the side of the stage. I thought it was cool that he let his hair out too. He wore a yellow gym shirt I think and you could clearly see his Maori tattoos covering his arms completely.
The opener was a surprise, Suzie Blue with acoustic guitar plus the backing band! It was sweet when he played some Marley after Excuse Me Mr. I think he really brings back the spirit of Bob. Burn one Down got a great response from the crowd! Manic Depression was a nice surprise early in the set and it had a different jam. Its a great one for Juan to play since he gets to show off his great skills. Ben introduced the band early and gave lots of props to Juan, and he went off that night! His family could be seen in the backstage area dancing around!
During the Woman in You, dedicated to Curtis Mayfield, I could tell that Ben was sick since he couldn't pull off the wail in the song at the end, but it was still a good version. Forgiven had a mean little jam in it and the next song, Remember I had never heard before, which was great since thats what the live show is all about! They jammed a lot in this with some good percussion parts too, and solid drumming the whole night. Dean wore a shirt with one of the symbols from the 2nd album on it. Then they went into Superstition by Stevie Wonder, a great highlight for me, and it was a worthy cover version. Steal my Kisses was a crowd favorite and everyone sang along, and Ben danced a lot more than usual on it.
The encore was just phenomenal and made the whole night worth it! Ben didn't even play but sang with the backing band and the Blind Boys from Alabama. They are actually 5 blind men who were dressed up in suits and sunglasses who sang like a gospel choir with Ben, switching off verses. Give a Man a Home was amazing and unexpected.. very emotional. At one point he stood up to sing with his arm upraised near the end of I shall not walk alone. Those men really breathed the blues, you could tell and it was very inspiring to Ben and got a great reaction from us. After hugging them and leaving, you couldn't really expect any more but after all the cheers from a packed house he came back for a chilling version of Welcome to the Cruel World, a strange closer but very appropriate. Once again he left us waiting for more but it will have to do until next time. Looking forward to the new songs very much! Thanks for keeping the spirit alive and inspiring us once more!

anonymous's picture

That was not Ray Charles, it was the Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Clarence Fountain. They joined Ben on three songs during the encore. Ben did an excellent cover of Stevie Wonder's Superstition, and Manic Depression by Jimi. Opened with Suzie Blue, dedicated Woman in You to Curtis Mayfield. Ben was hilarious, talked a lot and gave Juan a lot of much deserved credit. This was my third Ben show, and they have all been great! Loved the Bridges show best.

anonymous's picture

Ben was definately celebrating in SB. He seemed so comfortable and excited to be here. lots of family and friends on the side of the stage. he talked more than usual and seemed to be having a great time. he even chased down a stage crasher and gave the guy a hug as he was being escorted off stage. the show was great as always. the blind boys in encore were incredible as always. the crowd was a little noisy but still very moving. through a random, random string of events I made it backstage after the show and met ben, juan, & david. all very cool and very patient with all the people who wanted to meet them. juan's family was very cool and I would never have made it back there if it wasn't for juan's daughter. I didn't really want to bother Ben but I finally walked up to him and thanked him for the great music. thanks again! hope to see you in SB next year.

anonymous's picture

Damn!!! You know what Ben? You truly are an amazing artist.
"I WANT TO BE READY"...f-in' blown away man!
"I SHALL NOT WALK ALONE"...chills and tears in the eyes...The Blind Boys rocked the house you dog!
Yeah...so go ahead, end the show with "WELCOME TO THE CRUEL WORLD" and floor us all my friend...you guys DO rule!!!
Brilliant show as usual...
how 'bout "GOD FEARING MAN" for Santa Barbara next time?
Late, Todd

anonymous's picture

My experience didnt start off too good. We had to wait for some friends so we completely missed Jack Johnson's performance. When we finally made it in, the show was awesome. I especially liked "Sexual Healing". That was one of the best parts of the show. The end was very amazing. Ben said "Please Welcome My Special Guests" and these five men came out wearing grey suits. The one in the middle sat down, and they began singing Ben's songs with him. It was very hard to tell who the man in the middle was because our seats werent the greatest. Afterwards, everyone said that it was Ray Charles who sang the last couple songs with Ben Harper. I am still not 100% sure who that man was. If it was Ray Charles, i dont think many people knew it. Overall, the concert was awesome.