Comments/Reviews

bud dill's picture

We got there around 615 and drove by to see at least a thousand people already in line wrapped around the building and almost to the back of the parking deck. I assumed it would be seating now based on the picture of the classic center web site, so at the time I was pretty disappointed to see the crowd size. But once we were inside there were several surprises. One it was floor only, which is fine, I can handle that, just means I'll just be able to get closer to the stage. Second, they had a roped off area where they sold beer/drinks. The strange thing was you could only drink your drink in the roped off area, no cups outside the ropes! That sucked big time for reasons I don't have to explain. Third, I assumed based on the looks of the place and it being in what I thought at the time a theatrical type setting, there was no way you'd be able to smoke in there. That was the MOST friendly inside concert I've ever been too. Fortunately there was a group a brother from Clemson standing by us that said "no worries man" like he was our guardian angel, and sure enough like a true Clemson Tiger, he blessed us several times.
Ben had his usual presence about him when he came on stage with the band and could instantly feel his energy just from his presence He started out with his new song "better way" and then pplayed the album title song, "both sides of the gun" from his new album. I'll go ahead and say I don't like those songs, I don't have time for them in my world of ben harper. He also definitely sang them in straight studio version, not much emotion, just played through them. I'm thinking to myself, well he's never been one to hold back on stage like he's building up for a big climax at the end, he just comes out and starts hammering away. Hmmmm. I'm not sure of the exact order of the rest, mostly because I don't know the names of his new songs, but after those 2 he played another new one. Then he played a decent "ground on down" which of coarse I was really glad to hear. The rest of the set was filled with mostly new songs, but to me his best song of the set by far to me was "please bleed." That was about the only one he layed it on the line for in that set in my opinion. Nice surprise for the second set, he came out by himself and sat down to "walk away" and "roses". Unfortunately those were the only 2 he played in the set which was really disappointing to me because I know he usually plays at least 3 if not 4 in the second set which is usually a collection of older ballads. Encore set was by far the best. Ben came out smiling from ear to ear with his eyes closed. I knew it could possibly mean "talk mode". Sure enough, it was great, he started babbling about nothing like only he can do for a few minutes, Man it was awesome, then he kinda realized it made a comment about talking too much and laughed and went into the highlight of the night up until this point. "Suzie Blue". Juan is playing some funky thin stand up bass instrument that sounded awesome. Ben tore it up, really got jazzy and the band jammed with it alittle bit, definitely one of the highlights of the night by far. He then played a new song which was one of my favorites of the new that I've heard. I hoped he wouldn't do it, but he did, he played burn one down next. But its always great live and on this night it was top 5 overal. Next came the highlight of the night for me, "amen omen." Played it like it was his last song he was ever gonna play, which to me and I'm sure most of his fans it defines what he is, and what sets him apart. Seen quite a few shows but am still somehow always surprised at his raw emotion and intensity on the stage. Last song of the night just as I had feared was "my own 2 hands". But still it was great as usual, went into war which also was wonderful as usual, but now he's mixed it up alittle more with it and goes back into "better way". Really good song, and a good way to end a show but to me alittle disappointing and predictable.

I'm a Ben Harper fan, and because to me he's set the bar SO high that maybe its impossible to reach that bar every time, but I didnt get to the bar last night, not even close. Maybe it was me and my expectations. But for the overall show I think he was off in some way or another. Matter of fact, I know he was, for whatever reason I dont know. But If he played as long as I thought he would and as many songs that would have helped some. The show only lasted 2 hours and 15 min tops. I fully expected 3 hours or at least 5 or 6 more songs. I without a doubt think he cut first encore, the solo ballads short because 6 thousand people were singing with him word for word and he probably couldn't hear his own voice. I dont blame him for that. But I was just disappointed with his intensity on stage and possibly the new songs. I need to listen to them. Great to see Ben and the band again, his new guitarist is of coarse no Marc Ford but he's good and Ben seems to really like him, gives him alot of solos. Also something else I didn't mention earlier, that in some of his new songs he doesn't play the guitar, he just sings. Sit down days were a long time ago...I dont want to sound selfish for not appreciating the opportunity to see him play, because it was a Blessing as always. I couldnt be any more thankful for my girlfriend buying me a ticket and for him choosing to come to Athens to give us the opportunity to see him he certainanly didnt have to go to that random town. I'm just a big fan, I expect maybe too much from the greatest singer songer writer guitar player in the world. But like I said he set the bar, its his fault!!

bikephan's picture

i have to agree with the above folks with the crowd. I even heard"is he the one that sings with jack johnson". Saw him in asheville(even better than the atl due to size of venue,about a 1000) and at the tabernacle, and many times before. both the tabby and asheville had great crowds that got ben even more hyped which made the concert last forever. got to hear all the classics and even more. But up in athens, when "burn one,with my own 2 hands, and war" i saw the ones happy to be there with their hands up(and it was not alot) ben does deserve better than that and knowing he is a very emotional singer you got let the man know!!! the new songs were a great addition but i would have ended it at 1045 with the vibe and sound in that place as well

mcclintock7045502's picture

This was probably the best concert I have ever had the fortune of attending. BHIC deliver energy unlike any other I have seen. Musically flawless performance! It was truly a spirtual evening for me and my friends. Thank you for playing in Athens Ben! I was blessed!

anonymous's picture

I have to agree with those of you who were fortunate enough to be at the BEST SHOW EVER in ATL in August!! The Tabernacle was incredible, it was my first show, and I got to meet the entire band! Everything about that nite was perfect. Athens was cool because anytime with BHIC is awesome, and the music still rocked, but my expectations were set too high. I blame it on the horrible venue...Come on Athens, Ben deserves better than that! Anyway, I still had a great time, and I got to meet the band again, so I can thank Athens for that. Still, an incredible thanks to BHIC, the best band ever for making the most captivating music ever to fall upon these ears...You never ever disappoint!!!!!!

elisabeth108880's picture

Just wanted to let everyone know that I had a blast at the show. My boyfriend and I drove from the gulfcoast of mississippi for this show. We both took two unpaid days off of work so we could make the show. Ben Harper was so amazing, so soulful that I couldn't contain my emtions and started to cry. I could not belive that I was finally infront of such an amazing artist as Ben. Thanks so much Ben I hope that you can make it down to New Orleans or even on the Mississippi coast, (whenever we get our lives back to normal and actually have a venune for you to come play at since Kartina blew ours away). Thanks for keeping it real!

anonymous's picture

this night was no less than perfect!!! Without rambling on let me try to sum it up. The show reunited two friends who have been distanced for some reason or another, so that was magical. THANK YOU, to Ben Crew. We got the last ticket in the house, we walked in to the lights going out and the band walking out, it seemed like He wanted it that way for us, THANK YOU, to God. The music for the evening was just incredible. If anyone has any doubt of Ben's message to all of us and the Great Lord's message just look over the setlist and decide for yourself. THE SPIRIT was present, I hope that all we're able to see how He continues to work His magic through Ben Harper The Innocent Criminals. Thank you, Thank You, Thank You.....

da_wolverine772911's picture

INCREDIBLE... The show was amazing. It was my first but deffinitely won't be the last. The only word that I can find to describe the experience is.... "Euphoria." Great Show Ben. Next time, I hope you will come up to Clemson, SC. We'll welcome you with open arms, and you won't be dissappointed. GREAT SHOW.

aps36's picture

I AM A HUGE BEN HARPER FAN I DROVE OVER 800 MILES ROUND TRIP TO SEE HIM. THIS WAS MY FIRST BEN HARPER SHOW I ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT, THE EXPERIENCE WAS AMAZING. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM AGAIN. PS

jaylumimi15646's picture

I went to the show with my wife and neighbor and brothers and sister in-law. I have and will travel anywhere to see Ben or BHIC. I have to say the venue was a crappy auditorium with gymnasium sound. I do have to say BHIC was tight as always and the new stuff sounds INCREDIBLE Just have to poke my bottom lip out at the venue. PLeAse Mr. Harper come back this year and rock the ATL...please, please, please...

abran_ahmed67159's picture

I had an absolute blast. I wish High Tide/Low Tide was played. And I wish I didn't stop at Krystal Burger on the way back to Greenville, SC. But those 2 things were the only things I would change about the night. Hell of a perfomance, and from the bar area, the sound quality was great. Again, a great show and I met some great people. See you again Bah

patmore63137's picture

The venue was shoddy, no doubt, and, unfortunately, it seemed like lots of people were there strictly to socialize. A practice all too common in athens i'm afraid. But despite all of that, I had a fantastic time at the show - it was my first time seeing Ben and the boys and it exceeded my expectations. I cant find the setlist online, but i'm hoping someone can tell me the name of the song he played early in the set that sounded like a stevie wonder song - absolutely insane And here's to the guys for playing marley's War at the end. Fantastic

pat5507's picture

I love BHIC, but the Atlanta show back in August was way better than the Athens show. The crowd seemed dead. In addition why did the show end at 1045 I couldn't believe they didn't come back out. After all the negativity, I enjoyed the new songs. Ben loves to play Better Way. The concert was great, but BHIC come back to ATL the crowd will give you what you deserve

matejoh23679's picture

I'd have to agree with Angel about being disappointed. It seemed like the venue got the best of everyone the music did what it could, but the speakers or the engineers couldn't make it work. I also saw BHTIC at the Tabernacle so maybe my expectations were too high. That was the best show I've seen by any artist PERIOD. I would like to thank Ben Harper for coming to Athens (it has been five years though) and maybe in the another five years we'll have a venue worthy of the music.

triplestack1274865's picture

I am not going to lie, I was disappointed. The only reason I say this is because the venue sucked. Ben and the Criminals rocked like always but the sound in that crappy warehouse was awful. There was no one starting out for BHIC which upset me a bit and the sets were short. I understand Ben was promoting his new album but the sets were weak. I saw Ben in the Tabernacle in Atlanta and that was amazing. The vibe, the people, the music was amazing. This time around the venue was horrible and I have to say that Ben bringing up the whole interview thing is unlike him and I was VERY disappointed with that

Either way I love BHIC and you can't expect every show to be perfect. Thanks for coming to Athens, your music is amazing

anonymous's picture

The show was truly amazing. Better way was a awesome song to open with and Excuse me Mister and Please Bleed made my night. I drove 4 hours to see this show and it was worth every minute of it. Thank you very much BHIC for picking Athens to open your tour with. You all seemed very happy on stage tonight and I hope you will return to Athens soon. God bless your travels on the road brothers.
Peace and love,
Sincerely, Chuck Louthan

johnny5's picture

opened and closed with better way...right there with you Ben...it's good to know that I wasn't the only person crazy enough to make the drive from Nrth Carolina. this new album sounds good from what I've heard so far

anonymous's picture

4th time seeing Ben, and the show was great again. I've enjoyed watching the band grow and change together. The new tracks were more than solid and I am excited about the new album. The prolonged jam session with Ben on slide was something that I've personally never seen from him but it is something that I liked. I really appreciate how BHIC refuses to be stuck in a genre. There is something about good music that transcends genre. Maybe it is honesty, maybe passion, or maybe it is just an apparent love for music. Maybe it is all of those things. Whatever it is BHIC has it, and they have alot of it.

anonymous's picture

The show was amazing. I also drove awhile to see them. It was worth every obstacle. I would not have missed it for the world. The band puts so much energy into the music and it rocked my soul. Ben is an amazing artist, as well as the rest of his band. Good show.. Well done.

anonymous's picture

Definetly a great show. I decided to drive from Maryland to see it and I knew I wouldn't regret it. I actually got to be up front and see just how much emotion Ben puts into his show, and that's why he's amazing. The speakers were the only flaw. I'm sure they sounded better the farther from the stage you were, but who would pass up being inches from Ben Harper and TIC. All in all, i loved the show, and cannot wait for the next. Ben, keep doing what your doing because we all love it.

graphics.adv7527's picture

The show was AMAZING My first BHIC after being a fan for years, and they totally delivered. Great opening (can't wait for the album), great everything - Leon and Juan were particular favorites of mine, but they were all fantastic. I can't wait to see them live again - come back to Athens

The music world needs more people like this - thanks for a show that focused on the music we all came to hear rather than a bunch of silly special effects What a great way to celebrate my birthday . . . thanks, Ben

Wishing you much success with the new album and upcoming tours . . .

anonymous's picture

My brother and I just got home to NC at 3 am after the Athens show, and it was worth every mile. Ben doesn't disappoint with awesome energy and great new music... there were fewer sing-a-long classics, but we traded them for a peek at a half dozen songs off the upcoming album, and I came straight home to preorder it. "Morning Yearning" is beautifully written ("like a summer rose, I am victim to the fall...but soon I'll be returning") and "Better Way" is a jaw-dropping opening for an album or a show... couldn't be better. My sleep deprivation caused us to drive through a grassy median on the way home, but we'd do it again in a heartbeat to see this show.

shfrey's picture

Incredible It was my first show, certainly not my last. 2 encores. Opened with Better Way, can't wait for the album. Thanks Ben IC