02.19.06 Los Angeles, CA

El Rey Theatre with DJ Jeremy Soles

I Was There
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A string section played on "Please Bleed" through "Black Rain." Marc Ford sat in on "Wicked Man" through the end of the show.

Who Went

  • moderator's picture
  • lightmeup's picture
  • jarenzana's picture
  • Juan Pablo's picture
  • zumaron's picture


lightmeup's picture

This is the show that fans will talk about for years when we swap stories of "I saw Ben in ...".
You just had to be there.

smonn's picture

I've been a fan of Ben Harper's since 1995 have been lucky enough to have seen several of his shows over the years. I've enjoyed reading the posts on .net have never written a review of my own or posted to any forum...not until now.

Up until Sunday, my favorite shows were the earlier ones (Ben sitting, Fight for Your Mind days, etc) my favorite is still the first time I saw him play - a 1996 show at the Casbah in San Diego. However, the two shows I have seen in the past year have been great have rivaled any of those earlier performances. I was fortunate to have seen him play at the Fonda in July '05, and now the "Sunday El Rey" show. Both shows were off the hook I can't imagine how they can get much better. Ben the band seem to be at the top of their game.

The entire Sunday show was solid. Some personal highlights were Homeless Child, Steal My KissesPressure Drop, Amen Omen, Serve Your Soul, Where Could I Go of course Two HandsWar. Ben the band gave their all, and so did the audience. That culminated into the most amazing encore I have ever seen. Words cannot describe the energy that was felt in that room, and everyone who was there knew they were experiencing something truly special.

Thank you Ben Harper, Juan Nelson, Leon Mobley, Oliver Charles, Jason Yates, Michael Ward, Marc Ford the string players for such a great night - one I will never forget. Thank you Ben for stirring my soul with your words music for all these years. It's been great to be on this journey. I'm along for the ride and can't wait to see where it goes. A very grateful fan.

ambervann21061's picture

There was no other place in the world that I would have rather been then the El Rey Sunday night. Magical does not even begin to describe it...The people were amazing, the venue was perfect, and Ben and the band were trancending, but the experience overall was life changing I never thought that I would be able to experience something that amazing, and being there that night will definetly change my life forever. Regardless of what song Ben decides to perform, you cant help but to stop and think about what it is that he is trying to say and evaluate your own life to it, and his new material does exactly that. And if you cant laugh over a funny anecdote about the redsox, then lighten up.

Ben, on a personal note, your are such a gifted and humble human being. You strive me to be a better person for myself and for those around me, and your performance Sunday will live within my spirit forever.
Thank you.

cmelt2465201's picture

All the elements came together in this magical show. The El Ray, being a smaller club with an old feel, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals playing their hearts out, and all the people made this show what it was. The critics like to disect and analyze each song, but the fans take it for what it was-an unforgettable show. We skipped out on church that night to go to the show, but with Ben baring his soul and sharing his faith in the Lord, a tear came to our eyes . It is the only show that has ever brought a tear to our eyes.

jay.cochrun64919's picture

Wow Strait up.. Amazing I can confidently say the energy and vibe in that room left everyone fortunate enough be a witnessre-energized It was awesome and truly a pleasure to take part and literally watch Ben and company once again rise the bar Personally, I walked outta there feeling so damn good and as though I had just eye witnessed a page in history go down Solid as it gets

Cannot thank you enough for your passion Ben...you truly inspire us all


anonymous's picture

I had never been to a Ben Harper show before and now I am fan. His energy and his sheer presence on stage is mesmerizing and trancended into the audience. I have never felt the screams from an audience before and I left the show feeling like a more positive person. He is indeed a beautiful person with beautiful music for the world. Juan is the man as well and the percussion was awesome.

anonymous's picture

I am the luckiest guy in LA Not only did I get to go to the Saturday show with a very pretty girl, but I got to go Sunday and witness MAGIC. BHIC ROCKS

garrett.ellis26708's picture

Simply unbelievable show. Never have I seen a crowd that pumped up and that appreciative to see an artist. That was 3 hours of my life that I will never forget.

"Serve your Soul" was powerfully heavy and quite actually surpised me. Also great to hear Ben play the classics (that made me a Ben Harper fan) when he was alone up there (Another Lonely Day, Roses from my friends)

I asked one of the soundlight technician's if I could have the Song List after the show but he apologized and said that he couldn't give it to me because it was his 2nd night on the job and it had all his notes. That might've explained the poor vocal blend early in the show and during the soft acoustic portions.

Overall, best concert of his that I've been to yet. Very diverse show and I'm looking forward to the new album.

Brandon.duft74783's picture

Please release a live CD or DVD, anything to help us all relive this remarkable moment This is the best show I've ever seen. Thank you.

dj mitsuo's picture

Ben has evolved into the greatest live performer of our time. His energy on stage is matched by none. The strength and focus it takes to perform a near flawless three hour set is super human. Ben has evolved the BHIC sound to new levels of greatness and his lyrics once again provide the listner with strength and inspiration. The show was spectacular and after seeing him 25+ times it always is. Thanks for all the good times Ben.

TravisK's picture

Thank you, thank you, thank you... I really do not know what else to say. I have been to a lot of shows, by a lot of artists, but nothing can hold a candle to last night's energy. It was truly a sight to be seen, simply unparalleled.. The "dB's" (decibels) must have literally been off the charts, and the El Rey could have fallen down around all of us, and I don't think anyone would have noticed. Last night was only more proof of why Ben and the boys are the BEST around, period. A big thank you also goes out to the other fans that helped L.A. represent, and step up to the plate last night, unreal...

Ben, an extra big thanks goes out to you for taking the time to rap out with my friends and I outside after the show.. You are truly a class act Also, please thank the guy who walked you out last night for allowing you to chill for a bit, that was huge..

Can't wait for the KCRW show,

Travis K.

p.s. Thx for the gum

Hereincali3's picture

I must admit I was a bit leery coming to the show tonight, as my expectations of Ben have fallen with the last few tours and some of his more recent songs. I definitely have the "better back in the day (when he was sitting)" mentality This show reminded me once again why and how Ben has touched my life
The show, in a word, ROCKED I enjoyed the new songs, and am excited to hear the album now The first few songs got the show off to a killer start, then slowed down a bit by the new love songs (morning yearning, happily every after) which I happened to enjoy very much
I could live without ever hearing "Get it like you like it" again In fact, when I first heard the song at Temple bar I was convinced Ben had taken the last step towwards pop-artist- and this show I thought "When did I buy a ticket to see Lenny Kravitz" Aside from that, the first set ended well- I agree Steal my Kisses is a bit lacking but with Pressure drop it is great, especially tonight with the crowd so audible and into the song
This is running long, so I will sum up
The last set (encore II) blew me away I DUG the bluesy "the way you found me", wicked man is one of my favorite of bens older songs (yes it is older, just recently released) Dressed was intense I can live without Diamonds but....
AMEN OMEN was the best I have ever seen Ben play and it blew me away Ihave seen and heard Ben ALOT begining in '97 and the end of this show was the most energetic and intense I think I have experienced. BEn and all the band TORE UP the last few songs, capped by an extreme two handwar where Ben ended up dancing falling down, wailing, and jamming wiht the criminals.
The Music was fantastic last night and once again reminded me why I see and love Ben- to put it perfectly, as my buddy remarked as I dropped him off at his car after the show, "I am a better man after that."

87fbird's picture

Thank you Ben Harper the Innocent Criminals This show again reminded me why this is my favorite band. The crowd was awesome and the set was mind blowing See you all again soon

ChiefCrowe's picture

What a great show tonight, lots of new songs played so it was kinda hard to guage those but overall it was just a great, high energy gig
The sound system in there isn't that great so it was hard to hear the guitars and vocals in the beginning but later on they fixed that.

they played for a little over 2.5 hours and people were yelling so loud after the last song that they came out to do another one (two handswar), which turned into a big jam. Ben was dancing around like a mad man and fell down at one point.

There was even a 4 piece string section that played from please bleed until black rain, very nice addition to the songs. I dug all the new songs pretty much, but Happy everafter is a bit cheesy. Black Rain is freakin awesome, its about Hurricane Katrina and Serve your Soul is a HEAVY tune, the jam just smoked on that one it seemed to have some elements of Black Sabbath in there. Morning Yearning is a slow, mellow tune and i dug the lyrics and the acoustic guitar part.

i'm not that into steal my kisses since its played so much but the new
reggae version is cool plus Pressure Drop added to it just kicks ass.
Gather Round the stone is a kind of mantra-ish song with a lot of political undertones, good stuff. the new album should be pretty good, lookin forward to hearing it Where could i go was the best ive ever heard too... sweeeet guitar work.

Marc Fuckin' Ford came out to jam and played almost the entire 2nd encore (from wicked man until the end)
He played a Tele pretty loosely, didn't know some of the songs but got in the groove right away and threw down some sick solos, especially on Amen Omen (dual guitar solos from Marc and Micheal) and Two Hands, plus he went back and forth jamming with Ben on Dressed in Black.
Marc had a nice brown fedora on with a Pinto tshirt and a brown country-ish shirt, he looked happy and sounded really good.

Sweet, sweet show.. one of the best i've seen and looks to be a great tour coming up The band really was digging the crowd energy, they seem to take it to another level when playing in LA.

jaredboyarski46313's picture

WOW The set ROCKED ALMOST 3 HOURS Ben and the Criminal's energy were great. I can't wait for the new album.
It was good to see Mark Ford as a Criminal again. The energy for the last song was through the roof
Thanks guys.
I loved Steal my Kiss-Pressure Drop