05.28.01 La Jolla, CA

RIMAC Field University of California, San Diego with Jack Johnson, Jurassic 5

I Was There
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Playing to a crowd of over 10,000 people, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals closed out their North American tour with a heart-pounding set. After playing the first set straight through, Ben returned to the stage with a special surprise. He introduced the quiet crowd to the gospel group, the Blind Boys of Alabama. They sang harmonies on "I Want to be Ready" and "I Shall Not Walk Alone." The real highlight, however, was a true gospel version of "Give a Man a Home", which featured Ben, sans the Weissenborn, trading verses with the Boys.

Who Went

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anonymous's picture

I have seen Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals six times now, and each time I gain something new out of the experience. The encore at this show was by far the best I have ever seen him perform. The silence amongst the crowd was almost eerie...it gave me chills. And I had never even heard of the BB from Alabama prior to this day, and I have concluded that I was totally missing out on something amazing. The songs that they belted out with Ben honestly brought tears to my eyes. It was that beautiful! Hopefully all that were in attendence felt the power of their voices as well. Thank you Ben for allowing me to experience such beauty!

anonymous's picture

After missing out on two Ben Harper shows in a row because of technicalities, this concert blew my mind. Although some people really didn't feel the hard rocking, guitar driven set, I was in heaven. It would have been nice though to see Ben play some of his accoustic classics like Sexual Healing or Not Fire nor Not Ice. His encore however made up for not having as many quiet songs in his set. The Blind Boys of Alabama blew my mind, and added the spiritual element to Ben's music. When they played I Want to Be Ready, it gave me chills. In all, this show was great and the vibe of having 10,000 people there supporting Ben Harper was really cool.

anonymous's picture

Jah work is always done!!!!
The show was absolutely amazing.
There was a touch of grace and humbleness in BH.Sometimes i feel sad when people just don't get it.I have been to six shows and it seemed at this there was a lack of energy and respect from the crowd.
In middle of Walk away there was a fellow who keep talking on his cell phone about meaningless things
in life about where to go after the concert and what to eat. Ben is pouring
his soulful cry of heavenly melodies to the sky, music is dripping from his fingers and his heart pounding with pain. Sometimes people just need to listen and they might find the answer
blowin in the wind.Overall i saw a few
who understood the golden nuggets that
was displayed in cool crisp air of SD.

Thanks for bringing the special guests(BB of A).They definitely brought the power of gospel to SD.Thanks for my first experience in listening to Superstition and Remember.The jam was tight and clean.

gemccann39909's picture

definately an awesome show. I would havle liked more acoustic guitar stuff in the main set, but i love the rockin' stuff as well. These othere reviews explained the show well so I would just like to add a story:
during "Alone", the guitar solo part, the wierd intense sound that ben was getting, along with the crazy flashing lights, was too much for my friend and he lost control of his balance and blacked out. just for like ten seconds but it was till scary. All he could really say about it afterwords was that it was too intense. he had to sit down for awhile and was fine after he got some water. (Thank you to the girl who went out of the middle of the crowd during the show to get him a glass of water). Anyway, just anted to tell this story. Shows the pwoer that intense music and the lights can have.

jhuang_7940295's picture

Absolutely powerful! This must have been the fifth or sixth time I've seen Ben, and Ben just keeps reinventing himself over and over! I think the other reviews have explained the atmosphere well. I am actually speachless. The BB of A added a level to Ben's songs that I did not think was possible. If you have not seen this, you are truly missing out. Thank you Ben!

anonymous's picture

Ben's shows are always out of this world but this one was a little different --- it seemed almost as if he was really into the music and not into the crowd. I felt the whole band really put there all into the music, but there was no interaction with the audience -- no lievely edge of the stage gestures from Juan and no words of wisdom or even a single story from Ben. Perhaps it was because it was the last leg of the North American tour, or maybe Ben is just really tired and sick? The crowd of 7,000+ on a flat field was pretty rowdy,all pushing to get up to the front. The 2 hour wait before the doors even opened, just to be on the rail paid off though because i felt as if i was one with the music. The highlight of the show for me was Ben's chanting session before "Forgiven" --- i will never frget teh power of the music and the haunting soud of his voice, and the slight wind that suddenly picked up and whirled aroudn when the chantign began. In a nutshell a great show, but i feel that i would not have been so satisfied with it if i had been in the huddeled masses in the back and not up close and personal with the Music.

anonymous's picture

All (is) right - here is my unrehearsed review of the San Diego show since I don't see any others up yet! I enjoyed myself thoroughly!
Jack Johnson was nice and mellow and it was good to see so many around me singing along to his songs. This was my first time hearing him, I hope he can proceed just as he would like!
OK, so I didn't pay $40 to see a show and not stand close to the front, so I made my way about 6 rows back in the crowd in front of Juan, hiding behind a boy even taller than myself so I could peak around his neck and get whatever kind of view I so desired at any particular time. Oh, but I did get full view of Jurassic5--and how good are they! I had such a good time! I started getting into it when they said something about jumping--so I did--I had a really good time dancing!! And the dancers they had (and the children too), it was out of sight!! Thanks J5, I will be checking you out again. There definitely was NOT enough room for me to get down the way I wanted to-but it was fun still!!!
Oh lord, I haven't even gotten to Ben yet and this is already long! But first I wanted to thank the young man who kept his hand on my shoulder while we waited for Ben (are you out there?) because earlier I was tripping about whether I send out hard core 'stay away from me' vibes because sometimes I think I'm unapproachable. So anyway, you pretty much answered my question and thank you for apologizing and saying that your arm was just too comforatable there, it made me feel good (and thanks for the bowls!) so whatever you and your girlfriend are into is fine by me, I just wanted to thank both of you--you helped make it a wonderful night!!

Then Ben came on and I am so happy to see him no matter what songs he plays! I loved hearing Voodoo Chile, the excellent intro to Forgiven, and his amazing Woman with super, super, super long wail (how does he do that with a cough?) My personal highlight was Remember and Superstition and any funky beats they threw down during the night(I wasn't really in the hard rocking mood) I was so happy when I heard Remember (even though I don't remember hearing this song too many times before) and I was dancing and singing along when I stopped to look around me to see more than a few around me looking at me like "what song is this", and then I remembered that it is not a widely known song! It was just funny because I didn't sing to any of the other songs, but many of those around me did! It was touching when he sang something about 'won't you come back'(I don't know that verse) and I was hoping he was singing to someone in particular for some healing to go on)!

I thought Angel sounded the best from him this evening, I loved the relaxed way his voice started to sound--it did reach out and envelop me and actually found a way inside my heart, it really did--no big deal, right--but for me it is a big deal because it takes something very, very particular to do that--and so I must say, it almost sounded the way it would have if someone close to me were trying to sing it to me and actually have it mean something--so anyway, it keeps my hope alive, and makes me want to start to spread my wings again, wings that I myself have tied!
And then the Blind Boys of Alabama--what can I say except BEAUTIFUL--I wanted to go right up there and join them (if a female voice wouldn't mess things up too much) By this time, I had full view of the stage again, and it was so beautiful. I was personally glad the show ended with these songs--it was just right you know--leave on such a high note!!
Trying to get backstage with my non-using self just failed, I'm no good at that stuff you know--trying to use people I know or trying to talk myself in somewhere--it's just not me, and I don't want it to be either--and no divine intervention occurred in the matter either, so I just left to go pick up my babies, feeling so alive and good, because Lord knows I had to leave EARLY in the morning!!
Ben, I would be your nurse if it was appropriate, but since it is not--I can only try to send some positive energy to the whole band, try to return some of the good stuff that they so freely share with us! Thanks for the show and I hope everyone gets some good time off doing some other enjoyable things for a little while!!