04.01.03 Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin Town Hall with DJ Stinky Jim, Jack Johnson

I Was There
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Ben called an audible and added "Bring The Funk" to the set.

Who Went

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puletaha89598's picture

As he says in the DVD, "How many of you heard Ben Harper through a friend?" I first heard him from my mate Luke in 2000 and I thank him so much for opening a new door in my life. Ben Harper is a genius and I have much respect for him. Personally, I feel he is an inspiration for all people to live, for his music is so deep and meaningful. His perfomrance in Dunedin was simply awesome and by far, he has been the best live performer I have ever seen. Not forgeting his band. He is only as good as his band and I am sure he would be the first to admit this. My mission in life - to see him perform again and to shake his hand, thanking him fo rthe joy he brings to my world. He is Magic!

anonymous's picture

Definately one of the best nights of my life, especially songs like 'burn one down', 'diamonds on the inside', 'Excuse me MR' and 'Steal my kisses'. What an amazing set!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have so much respect for Ben and his music and would like to see him return to Dunedin.

anonymous's picture

One of my most striking memories of a live performance occurred in the Ben Harper concert in Christchurch in 2000. During his solo acoustic set in the first encore, he played 'Another Lonely Day', a song of simplistic beauty and melancholic yearning. And the crowd responded. They sang together, gently, so as not to drown out Ben, and swayed in unison. And there was a common respect among the crowd, the people listening intently rather than trying to scream out to random people on the other side of the concert hall. It was an inspiring moment, evident in the fact that for the following week I listened to nothing but Ben Harper, a commitment my flatmates found slightly disturbing. So when the opportunity arose to travel the country and see Ben Harper four times in five nights, I seized it with the utmost enthusiasm and the highest expectations.

A few years later and Ben Harper has presented us with more to absorb; a live album, a new studio album, and a new DVD. Each album has been a further progression into a new area of musical variety, 'Burn To Shine' adding country, folk and pop to his already impressive acoustic and electric repertoire. His latest offering, 'Diamonds On The Inside', displays his diversity more so than any of his previous efforts; the token pop song of the same name, the reggae style first single, acoustic and electric slide guitar, lyrically powerful in places, and atrociously cheesy in others. He even plays the Thiele Tongue Drum, does his best James Brown impression, and partakes in an a cappella track with world renowned African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. But there is no substitute for live music, the blood started to flow in anticipation as soon as we arrived in Auckland for the first show.

The wait before any live act is agonising, particularly if the crowd is passionate about the performer. But all was forgiven as soon as Ben emerged onto the stage. From the opening note, Ben set the tone for the entire tour, more so than I could have ever imagined. The first of Ben's shadows of influence to appear was Bob Marley, as the opening notes to 'Excuse Me Mister' flowed into a reggae version. This was followed by an inventive 'I Shall Not Walk Alone', also in reggae style, and the funky 'Brown Eyed Blues', from the new album. Unfortunately for me, Ben felt the need to open all four of the shows I attended with the same trilogy of songs. Not only that, but the setlists for all four shows were remarkably similar in sequence and execution. With five studio albums behind him and a reputation for the odd cover during a live performance, I had expected more diversity in the setlists. And with such a large following, particularly down-under, one would feel he would be aware of fans attending more than one show.

The mild disappointment of a single, passionate fan aside, there was still plenty in the setlist to showcase his immense talents. His intensity onstage is so evident, particularly in tracks such as 'Welcome to the Cruel World'; his head thrown back, eyes closed, a clenching fist of absolute conviction, screaming the lyrics into the microphone. His passion is also witnessed during his acoustic, solo set after the first encore break, which is an incredibly intimate and captivating experience when the crowd obliges. Unfortunately at the second Auckland show, a guy forced his way to the centre front row, and started to clap randomly despite polite and not-so-polite requests for him to stop, and in Dunedin, a comedian thought it would be humorous to make fart noises when the crowd hushed to its most silent. But aside from the multitude of statues at the first Auckland show, the crowds were active in both moving to the music, and in their obvious appreciation for Ben Harper. This was most evident in the first encore break in Dunedin where the noise level refused to subside until he made his way back onstage.

There were many personal highlights of the tour. Ben Harper does not have what one would call an objectively beautiful voice. But the way he uses it, and the range of sounds and emotions he is able to convey through it, astonishes me. Hearing him sing 'Another Lonely Day' in a completely different style in Wellington was refreshing; spontaneity is a factor often overlooked at live shows. The extended version of 'Forgiven' in the first Auckland show was amazing, particularly the haunting intro, and the solo where the distorted guitar wails over a rumbling, infectious bass line. And although I am not the biggest fan of the single, 'With My Own Two Hands', it included an anti-war rant that developed from a spontaneous few comments to a deliberately composed verse and chorus. The sounds he makes from the Thiele Tongue Drum during 'Blessed To Be A Witness' were astounding to witness from the front row, the instrument doubling as a string and a percussion instrument. This was also a highlight for the six-man percussion jam session that ensued. And the emotion and force of delivery evident in 'Amen Omen' was very moving and a highlight of each concert, a song that offers heartfelt lyrics ("silence is the loudest parting word you never say

anonymous's picture

This was not a concert it was more like a religous experience. Ben and the band took the entire crowd to another level. It was the most amazing experience I have ever been a part of. It took me several days to come done from the high that i was on. Words can not fully describe it. Awesome just awesome

anonymous's picture

I find it hard to describe with words the atmosphere and mood that was created by the neverending talents of the artists on the stage. Ben and the boys were everything and more anyone in Dunedin had been dreaming of for the last month. Thanks for coming to Dunedin, the raw power of the music, especially 'the woman in you', 'amen omen' and 'walk away' was spine tingling and will forever be etched in our memories. This night will be remembered for the night that Dunedin rocked.

anonymous's picture

omg Ben dude you rock. i think it was awesome that u came and played at Dunnerz it was da best time ever
thanks 4 all da soul you put in2 your songs
Rock on!!!!

anonymous's picture

awesome, still finding it hard to believe that Ben came to little old Dunners. Possibly the most rocking night that 2500 people have ever had to this point.Rock on Ben and come again so I can show my kids what real music looks and sounds like.

anonymous's picture

unbelievably powerful, masterful and inspiring!

anonymous's picture

It's pretty difficult trying to describe just how amazing this concert was. 'Excuse Me Mr' is one of my favourite songs ever, so to have that kicking off the performance really set the tone for the rest of the set. 'Amen Omen' was stirringly beautiful and songs like 'Steal My Kisses', 'Burn One Down' and 'With My Own Two Hands' really got the crowd in on the act. Having been a Ben Harper fan since being introduced to "Fight For Your Mind" about 7 years ago, I never imagined that I would get to see Ben playing live in Dunedin. Most artists who visit New Zealand don't even seem to realise that the South Island exists, so to have an artist of Ben's calibre visit Dunedin is incredible! The Innocent Criminals were amazing too - the way they reacted to the crowd really lifted the atmosphere. Juan's solos were wicked! Jack Johnson as an opener was the perfect choice - his set proved that the crowd knew more of him than the single 'Flake'. His performance showed that he can certainly hold his own simply armed with his voice and a guitar. Tickets to this show had to be the best birthday present I could've gotten. A concert that for those present will never be forgotten.

anonymous's picture

What a great night! Everyone on stage played their heart out, amazing stuff. Ben played just about every song I hoped for..my highlights of the night were Burn one down, Women in you and Walk away, Juan Nelson with his Bass solo's was unbeleivable and Jack Johnson adding 'stir it up' from Bob Marley in his song 'Bubble toes' was cool along with Ben finishing off his set with anti-war lyrics in My own two hands. All in all a great concert & one i'll never forget. I hope he comes back here in the future!

hamishmccormick81156's picture

Oh my God! Can you get nay more talent on one stage. That has to have been the best night out I have ever had! Every one got into the music and just absorded the atmosphere. To Ben and the team that was just simply moving guys! Thankyou