best concert ever! we were frount row (sat @ the door from 10am so we earnt it) and it was so unbelievable. BEn was so amasing on guitar and he did so many encores i think he really liked the crowd. I wish id never go because then it wouldnt be over. thank you ben so much, you dont know how much i appreciate your music and you as a person!
Although much has already been said of the awesome atmosphere of the night and the unbelievable talents of the musicians, I still need to express my appreciation. I first heard Ben on Triple J just over two years ago with Burn to Shine, and The Drugs Dont Work, and since then his music has dominated much of what I listen to and I have been waiting patiently for the chance to see him live. It has also led me to understand how powerful music can be and the ability it has to change emotion and inspire. I must say that although I am quite jealous of Mr. Luke Balzan who recieved the honour of meeting Ben, I was so happy to be apart of the crowd in Adelaide and to be surrounded by so many others who hold the same appreciation for his music. Thankyou Ben for such an awesome show and for doing what you love. Hope you enjoyed it just as much as the rest of us!
I write for a local street press magazine called Rip It Up, and here are my thoughts on the Harper concert...
This is one show that I had been looking forward to for a long time. The last time that Ben Harper played in our city, I just missed out on tickets. A mate of mine bought the actual last ticket! Since then, I've gotten more and more into Ben and his music, so when I heard he was playing here again, I was ecstatic. The night had finally arrived, and nothing could happen that would have dampened my spirits that night!
I entered the Entertainment Centre, well before the show's start time, and already the crowd was beginning to pack in. Securing my place a few metres back from the front, I waited in eager anticipation while listening to the groovy reggae sounds from Sydney DJ Katalyst.
Before too long, Jack Johnson took the stage and preceded to warm the crowd up with his acoustic, folksy, bluesy, reggae style of music. And of course his fantastic voice too! After a few songs that he did solo (including a couple of special extras, since the crowd was so quiet), the band came out and they played a range of songs from both Jack's debut and his forthcoming release On And On. I must say that I felt privileged to know most of these newies thanks to my special promo copy of the album; I assure you, it is very good! The crowd definitely enjoyed Jack and the boys, more so than just about any support act I've seen. One highlight was Jack's cover of Bob Marley's Stir It Up. And stir it up they did!
After Jack had finished his excellent set, it was time for the main man. With the stage decorated in the Ethiopian and Rastafarian colours and flags, and a wild drums and percussion set up, the excitement from the crowd was clearly evident. As Ben walked out, the packed house went absolutely nuts! He and his band of Innocent Criminals started the show with a great reggae version of Excuse Me Mr, the arrangement bringing a whole new side to the already excellent song. The reggae theme was continued for I Shall Not Walk Alone, before things got funky for Brown Eyed Blues off the sensational new album Diamonds On The Inside. This song really set the pace for the whole show, and demonstrated that Ben is not the only talented guy in the band; Juan Nelson's bass solo was something to behold! Magnificent.
While Ben broke from his usual tradition and splayed standing up for the majority of the show, he did take his seat for a couple of numbers. He pulled out the Weisenborn for a wild version of one of my favourite songs, Ground On Down, and virtually brought the place down! This was definitely one of the highlights for me. Other crowd favourites were the infamous Steal My Kisses and another of my favourites The Woman In You.
Tracks from the new album featured prominently too. Songs like Diamonds On The Inside, and the thought provoking Amen Omen clearly demonstrated that Ben has not diminished in his writing abilities. The end of the main set was rounded out with a sensational version of Burn One Down, on which Ben tried his hand behind the percussion stand, and to great effect too. And percussionist Leon Mobley's place out the front was much appreciated too. It isn't every day that you get to hear such a cool djembe solo!
After a short break and uproarious cheers from the crowd, Ben returned to the stage solo for his first encore. The entire Entertainment Centre fell silent as Ben played a haunting rendition of Walk Away. After the truly moving song, Ben remarked that it had been one of the top three live moments of his career as a result of Adelaide's awe-struck silence. And it was no understatement; the mood was indescribable. As such, Ben gave us all a little something special, and played quite a few extra's; more than at any of his other Aussie shows (yeah!). We even got treated to his fantastic cover of The Drugs Don't Work. As I was singing along to this one in awe, I was truly flattered as the bloke next to me remarked on my vocal abilities. That only added more to the euphoric feeling of the night! The first encore was rounded out when the rest of the band returned for an almost all-percussion version of Blessed To Be A Witness. With only small amounts of bass, the amazing tribal feel of the song, was yet another highlight of the night.
Leaving the stage for the second time, the crowd went nuts all over again. The boys returned once more for a very cool, Bob Marley influenced version of the new single With My Own Two Hands, mixed in with Marley's own track War. With all the trouble in the world at the moment, this medley was a timely reminder of the need for peace. The vibe was something to behold.
Alas, all good things must come to the end, and that was it for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals this time around. The crowd was good all night. Apart from a little pushing and shoving early on- bad luck to the little girls who pushed in front of me and my friends, but had to leave soon after cos one passed out- everything went very smoothly. The mood when everyone fell silent for the first encore was amazing. But despite how wonderful the concert itself was, and it was easily the best concert I have ever seen, and I have seen a few in my time, the climax of the night for me came after it was all over. Hanging around for a bit afterwards, I got to meet Ben and the band themselves! And the amazing thing is, Ben thanked us for such a great night! He was such a great guy, and all I have to say is, thankyou Ben, I was truly honoured to have the chance to meet you, and thanks for giving Adelaide such an amazing performance.
Definately the best live gig i have had the privelage of witnessing. Ben and co. pulled off an amazing set that left everyone screaming 4 more. i had never heard a crowd go so crazy 4 an encore and then manage to be silent for bens solo preformance. i swear you could have heard a pin drop!
This was one of the greatest concerts I have ever seen. The crowd responded to the humour, love and energy that was expressed by extraordinarliy gifted band led by a spiritual and passionate musician. Thank you to the band, to Ben and to the crowd who rose to the occasion. Drawing from Sly & the Family Stone, Bob Marley, traditional African beats and a myriad of other influences Ben is weaving his own very special place in musical history and our hearts. Looking forward to many more years of performances.
The other posts have already described what I'm sure the entire crowd was feeling at this amazing show. I will only add to this my admiration & great respect for ALL of the musicians on stage (including Jack & his band). They each displayed extraordinary skills and seemed to have enjoyed the experience as much as us. The percussion during 'Blessed to be a witness' was superb!
I expected nothing less than a life-changing experience and I wasn't disappointed! First time I've ever seen BH&TIC live and I can't wait for the next chance.
First up the venue did really well to get everyone inside in a timely manner. After hearing about the screw-ups at the Perth gig I was a bit nervous. Didn't have to line up for an overly long time.
Ben's 1st encore was unforgettable. I think he was pretty happy at how quiet everyone was during Walk Away, commenting that it was 'one of the top three in his life'. Dunno if he meant top three quietest crowds, or top three performances, but the atmosphere was impossible to put into words. So much so that a guy standing next to me fell on the ground! Most would blame illegal narcotics, but I personally believe that the whole thing just blew his mind so much that his brain forgot it had legs to keep track of. I'm still in awe of that little four track encore...
2nd and 3rd encore were just as amazing and left me begging for more. The diversity of the musical styles showcases the talents of the whole band perfectly.
Come back Ben! I hope you loved Adelaide as much as it loves you...
It didn't post my email addy... Here it is - sorry for the double post. firstname.lastname@example.org
Well I've just gotten home from one of the most amazing shows i've seen and do you think i can go to sleep? This was my first time seeing Ben play and it not only lived up to all expectations - it WAY surpassed them.
I know that some artists go "you're the best crowd" or whatever and you just know they've said it to every other crowd but tonights performance did feel special and when Ben said it was something like in his top 3 shows i did tend to believe him. For those that weren't there, there was some magical moments particularly in the encore when Ben performed acoustic to what looked like a sold out arena who were virtually completely silent. Everyone was there just taking in the awesome music and Ben seemed to thrive on the attention - actually making a big venue intimate. It was so good to hear Another Lonely Day and The Drugs Don't Work in this encore - a few favs.
The new material sounded awesome as did the old material. The start of the concert was nice with a regae version of Excuse Me Mr.
I hope the band really did enjoy it as much as they seemed to - we in the audience sure got our money's worth :) Hopefully we'll see some of the footage shot at the show someday (hint hint!) And if little Jo is reading this who was using my shoulders to help get a better view - please drop me an email :)