08.04.03 Hollywood, CA

Hollywood Bowl with DJ Z-Trip, Jack Johnson

I Was There
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Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Setlist 1969-12-31 - Hollywood Bowl - Hollywood, CA

Jeremy Nelson - Juan's son - made his live concert debut with the human beat box on "Steal My Kisses". The event was taped and released as the Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD, including a soundcheck version of "Ground On Down."

Who Went

  • moderator's picture
  • Nancy's picture
  • Iamthebbb's picture
  • Terri's picture
  • kev's picture
  • bjnestor20592's picture
  • suzieblue8's picture
  • jackietipper730's picture
  • Juan Pablo's picture
  • zumaron's picture


Celticlove's picture

I saw Ben Harper a couple years ago at the Santa Barbera Bowl which totally amazing. His performance moved me in ways I'm not use to. His music filled my soul. Then one day I find his Hollywood Bowl concert DVD. I don't have the words to describe how each time I watch it, that it makes me feel. Besides the rush I get, the shortness of breath at how he sings and plays, the way my spine tingles all the way from the top to bottom....
I'm determined to see him again now that I am more familiar with his music and now that I've seen his passion when he performs.
I'm in awe...

anonymous's picture

I didn't even go to this show, I just finished watching the DVD though and I saw Ben and Jack play in the summer in Toronto. A lot of these reviews are analyzing the show too much. Ben and Jack both rock my world. I couldn't care less about what anyone else thinks, I love them both and their music. Thanks so much Ben, I loved every bit of it.

anonymous's picture

I look forward to seeing the DVD of the concert. That way I can enjoy the amazing sound of the band and Ben's voice which was definitely on this night, and not have to deal with the drunken idiots surrounding me (and I had good seats!). It's amazing to me that people will spend good money to see a show like this, and then pretend they're at a keg party and the strange music filling the air is being piped in from a boombox, so you might as well talk as loud as you can and try to impress everyone around you with how cool you are. If you don't want to listen to the band and be entertained by them, go hang out in the parking lot and shotgun your beers there. A great show ruined by idiotic fans.

robbymet33105's picture

I sadly have to agree with the naysayers, but it wasn't Ben's fault. I feel bad because he was so amped up about playing the Hollywood Bowl, but the problem with that is it's in Hollywood. All I can say is catch one of his other shows - I saw him in San Diego and the set was unbelievable - it really was the audience/venue that made this show feel off. Oh, and on Ben's attire, I'm sure his shirt was one of his western shirts, like the ones he wrote in GQ about years ago. The point is he's not selling out, he's sported those from the beginning! This wasn't my favorite show, but his live performance and musicianship are still amazing

osha's picture

yeah, ben was certainly different than his usual soulful self, but the crowd was inconsiderate, rude, and loud. could a crowd's mood effect a performer's performance? on this night, i believe it did. this was obvious. i felt let down by the community of irresponsible, classless degenerates. ever went to a party where the crowd was not what you expected? bingo, hollywood bowl: sept. 4, 2003. despite the majority's mood, i think that ben tried his best to accomodate. he was not his best, but he wasn't terrible either. the best part was when he danced native american style. when i saw this, i could not believe my eyes. i almost weeped. it was such a touching reference to the strength of a people that modern civilization excused as silent nomands with savage values. this is the polar opposite of the truth. i was so happy to see the sacred reference made public. this was very bold of him. people who respect the earth are kings and queens regardless if they are ben or not. well that night, ben was a king in my eyes.

anonymous's picture

Seen Ben 10 times. It was a great show and I would love to listen to it over a campfire in the woods, however, with 1 Million Watts blasting my face and people chatting up a storm, I could not get into this show. Any concert goer know what happens when the lights come up at set break....people eat, talk and focus on other things. Many people never "entered" the show.

anonymous's picture

Ben, when did you sell-out? I was such a fan, had all your cds and loved seeing you perform live. I spent my hard-earned money to see you this summer once again and regret it. This is the first concert I have ever been to and left early, even though my car was in the stacked parking lot. What was Ben Harper wearing?? Does he want to be Lenny Kravitz? I don't care if this was being filmed for a DVD...the show sucked and lacked any energy. The setlist was just as bad. Go back to your roots Ben. You are losing fans. The last time I saw him play was at the SB Bowl in 2000. I though that was the best live perfomance I had ever seen. Ben talked, joked, and played like a true musician. Now after seeing the L.A. show, I can't even listen to his cds. Even his old classics lacked energy. No one even wanted to see an encore. What a waste of a night. And don't tell me he's trying to change to adapt to all fans and newer fans. Look at Dave Matthews Band- they have been doing the same shit for 12 years and receive no radio play, but still are the #1 touring band in the U.S.A.

anonymous's picture

I must say I was very impressed... having flown in from florida to catch some Dave Matthews at shoreline then fly down for Jack and Ben... both put on a great show... I was a little baffled by security asking us to sit down in the 2nd row when Jack was playing... I was thinking I was at a concert... and the lights being on all night that seemed weird... the overall energy was great for Ben must say... Cali fans sure know how to get the vibe going... especially with the many wonderful scents that night!!!...

anonymous's picture

To all Ben Harper fans reading these reviews, don't let the negativity and animosity of some of these BHIC fans get you down! Ben HAS started to do things differently, but the quality and intensity of the music he makes is still just as impactful as ever! His show was powerful! Although there are changes in his performance, they do not take away from the show or the music; they are simply Ben expanding as an artist and trying to bring new elements to all fans!
Ben Harper's music will always be passionate and real, something I hope everyone can have the opportunity to experience!

gchilcoat29733's picture

The man came out three times to an audience that didn't earn an encore. He rocked, he wooed, and he preached.

As far as pleasing 15,000 fickle Californians, Ben Harper did an A+ job. In my opinion.

beekerquark6569's picture

This was my 12th show, probably my last. I miss Ben Harper. I miss the intensity, passion, energy, audience play and generousity I've seen over the past ten years watching Ben's career develop. I love the music, the feeling it gives me. When it's on it's like being in love, this show was an abrupt and ugly divorce. An embarrasment that makes me sad. Left cold and alone. Is it over?

anonymous's picture

I could not believe the lack of respect that others showed at this venue. I was surrounded by people eating (we are talking four course meals here), talking on cells and discussing their careers with one another DURING BEN'S SET...incredible the selfish attitudes that a large majority of this audience showed. I have seen Ben numerous times and know their are new fans and "seasoned" fans but to listen to people discussing "creative writing ideas" is a little ludicrous. It was a bit distracting to have a spotlight positioned overhead blasting its evil effects for the entire concert. $18.00 parking, 18.00 sangria...I see a pattern here...I digress.
Those were the negatives, the positives far outweigh the negatives in the sense that we are all in this celestial salad bowl together and one learns to adapt..so after our Sangria (little joke there for levity) our team had a intense listening session and enjoyed the energy emanating from the stage.
Kudos to the stage crew for hopping around like jackrabbits in order to get Ben up and running in record time...truly amazing. The soul packed set list is listed so I don't need to get into that. The groove began at the onslaught of Diamonds and swept us away allowing us to forget the "ick" I mentioned above. Jack was laid back as always and provided a great vibe for the crowd. Still was amazed at how many people were exiting the venue during the last few songs by Mr. Harper, if you can't stay out late on Monday then you shouldn't join the party bus. All in all the show was dynamic and we were fired up to see the dynamic duo performing under the moon at such a historic venue. Cheers!

anonymous's picture

it was a great show, a great venue, the LA
crowd was kind of too much, too much talking on their cell or talking out loud during the concert, i guess i came from up north frisco and we always show respect to an artist and fellow concert goers during the show anyways show rock but i will never go back in hbowl i check ben and the criminals two weeks from now at the greek in berkeley. PEACE OUT

Hereincali3's picture

It is true that it is amazing for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals that they're popularity has risen to such heights. In no way whatsoever would I ever want to keep the magic of Ben;s music to myself, Ben is great b/c you share him with loved ones. and yes, even ifBen is a "shadow" of his old self (WHICH i do NOT agree with) we would be more blessed than anyone has a right to expect to be a part of that shadow. Make no mistake, Bens music has and continues to be a huge part of my life, has defined incredibly tumultuous, ecstatic, lonely, fulfilled, heartbroken, and in love times, to mention only a few. We are fortunate, and I, in no way, take it for granted. The only wsh i have is that it could happen night after night. The new fans are lucky, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be reminded just how moving it is...

anonymous's picture

I can see how a band who were your heroes and who have suddenly and inexplicably changed can break your heart. Especially when the new fans have no idea what it was like before.

Ben was wearing a sequined jump suit with clouds on it - at least it looked like clouds. Who could tell from the distance I was sitting. Not even binoculars helped. You're big time when binoculars don't even show your face. His guitarist had on a gold sequined jump suit. So you see this was not the Ben most may have expected, and far from the Ben Harper of yesteryear.. This was someone asserting his status as a rock star. It was loud, it had balls, and it rocked. Never mind the Jack Johnson sorority girls.. they had long since passed out. The fans were into it. The audience loved this show. The vibe was great - and that's tough to accomplish in Hell-A. Ben has evolved to a full on rock legend. Yes, the lights up SUCKED. Blame MTV. But don't forget that you saw and heard some great music.

I should warn you that I'm a new fan, and, by virtue of that fact, an asshole.

anonymous's picture

ok, so why is it that everyone has to complain about everything? Ben rocked the house last night and anyone that begs to differ can talk to me about it. This was my first ben harper concert, but i was just as excited. his musical capabilities are beyond the limits of even MY wide imagination. so when you decide to post something, remember why you started to like ben in the first place. and remember that it is not a bad thing that ben has gained a lot of new fans because although it may not benefit you, just think about how incredible he feels. and if there is one thing i know, it is that it would be pretty damn selfish of me to try and keep ben to myself.
on a lighter note- i thought the show was incredible. gold to me, burn one down, blessed to be a witness, walk away, and waiting on an angel were just a few of the outstanding songs performed. but the one song that did it for me was amen omen. the pure beauty of every note in that song touched so deeply that i couldn't stop the tears from escaping my eyes. truly a remarkable experience and definately one that i will never forget.
thank you ben, you've helped me more than you can ever imagine.

Hereincali3's picture

Agree with breaking down re. the lights and the LAfans who came to see Jack Johnson and were drunk and stumbling out when ben was on (COME ON PEOPLE- I wanted to yell- OPEN YOUR HEARTS AND EARS AND ALLOW YOURSELVES TO BE SWEPT AWAY.) oh well- Ben's set seemed to start off lacking the energy that I had been accustomed to at his shows in smaller venues such as Avalon Ballroom, the Fox, etc... It is quite a different experience when you cannot see Bens fce express the emmotion that his music evokes. I had been to many shows before, however it was my friends first show, and I was sorry he couldnt see Ben... However, the show was great, especially when the vibe seemed to pick up sometime after "Gold". I am also in complete agreement with Breakingdown in regards to Bens sitting. While I love when Ben gets up and dances, I miss him sitting and just jamming for most of the shows. Understood some of his act has been altered to appeal to the "radio" and be more "popular" perhaps, however havent we all loved Ben b/c he never did this... Glad that Ben is making new fans and getting bigger, for his sake, although I long for the old days in the smaller venues.
ALL TOLD- I had an amazing time, as always. Loved "War", "Like a King"- "I'll Rise" as always amazing... Thank You Ben...
Fan For Life

breakingdown's picture

Why oh why were the HOUSE lights left up during the WHOLE show!?!?!?!? I saw a notice that Ben was filming and that may have been the reason, but it really killed the vibe.

And yes, I feel sorry for the fans who keep writing in about how their first or second show was "the greatest experience of their lives" or some such. Ben Harper is a shadow of his former self. He SINGS, He DANCES, He MUGS!

He sat down for at most four songs during the main set - and yes, it DOES matter. He can't play the slide if he's standing up, so please, no "I don't care if he stands or sits" responses.

Highlights? "Brown Eyed Blues", "Gold To Me" , the "War" cover, which makes the execrable arrangement of "Two Hands" bearable. "Walk Away", as always, but not helped by the fact that the majority of fans were staggering for the exits and talking, laughing, etc. , the Jack JOhnson fans who don't even know HIS music, just cheeirng the radio hits and the Sublime cover.

And yes, "I'll Rise" is still tremendous, and works well in a large setting like that.

Ben made a lot of new fans tonight.