Piers Faccini sat in on "Masters of War."
So the back story is that I have an 8 mo old son at home and the wife was kind enough to give me the night off to get out on the town with some friends to go see Ben and the IC's in concert for the first time. I rarely attend concerts anymore and prefer the smaller venues like the Paramount. It's Friday as I write this and am still lingering on my favorite moments of the evening, still feeling the appreciation and gratitude for Ben's artistry and the shear power of his and the IC's expression through musicianship. The experience of seeing and hearing Ben play live with the IC's was pure joy and heart opening. Well, well, well, Masters of War, Whipping Boy, 11th Commandment, Like a King/I'll Rise all had moments of revelation - as if Ben reached out to touch ones conciousness, to waken people up to what's going down in the world. I have Ben's iTunes interview on my iPod and there's something he said in the interview which inspired me to no end - he said "I'm devoted to my family and my creative sincerity - that's my place of worship" - how true. It was on full display in Seattle. I don't recall which song it was but Ben stepped away from the mic to sing solo, unamplified: you could hear a pin drop and his message was loud as ever, even up in the mezz you could hear him crystal clear. It was an unexpected and very touching point to the concert. Ben, and the whole band, thank you. I can't wait to see you guys play again.
I think there's a quality in art regardless of its form that when it is shone directly upon you you cannot deny that you have experienced something 'spectacular'.
A color a sound a shape an emotion that defies description yet changes something within you allows you to believe in something that until that very moment you were completely unaware that it even existed.
I know 'WOW' isn't much of a review but it seems like words would reduce the experience to something inferior to what it was but 'WOW'!
Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals 'Thank You'! and 'WOW'!
An amazing show, as always. It was an interesting crowd...a contingent of the folks who love breaking out joints during Burn One Down (which he didn't play), along with the folks who listened to Ben and wore fancy pants, all crammed into a historic theatre. I could complain about the drunk girl behind me, but why? The music was too good. Some highlights for me:
Whipping Boy - The new "acoustic soul" theme is rad, but I found myself missing the raw power of the heavy sound of previous tours. This song brought it back to me. Watching his hands move on the guitar and the concentration on his face was amazing.
Younger Than Today - Ben on the piano...who knew? This short and beautiful song translated amazingly into live form, with beautiful percussion and guitar additions.
Use Me - great cover, my first time hearing it from him. Powerful baseline from Juan, and in the center of the song, all the other instruments fell away to just Ben and the acoustic guitar. He engaged the audience in singing the stripped down version, and then when the band jumped back in the whole sound felt all the more powerful.
Where Could I Go - I've never seen anyone abandon the microphone in the Paramount...I didn't even know you could. I was skeptical that the crowd could manage to be quiet, but it was almost silent as Ben moved to the front of the stage and sang his heart out without amplification. It was an amazing moment for the crowd, and I think for him too. When leapt back with a big smile on his face and the song kept going.
Well Well Well - My favorite from that album is beautiful live. My friend who didn't know Ben's music well loved this. The band all sang, leaving just Ben on the slide guitar to keep this song alive, and it was really strong.
Like a King / I'll Rise - A different version than the track on Live from Mars...this one had the whole band, and the intensity was palpable. Raised fists, Maya Angelou's words of resistance, and a sparse instrumentation that put the focus on the struggle...wow! He opened the show with Oppression and closed it with this. I'm glad the political Ben is still with us.
So, all in all an amazing show.
What time did BHC take the stage last night?? I get off work and have to sprint half a mile to get there!!
Amazing...i'm still absorbing it all. Unreal, Ben and the band get better and better each time I see them. Got to meet them after the show, which made it more of a unbelievable night. Can't wait for tomorrow's show!
WOW! I'm speechless.
Ben and the ICs played many songs from Fight for Your Mind, Welcome to the Cruel World, and Lifeline back to back subtly demonstrating the steady growth, breadth, and timelessness of their music. Never forgetting his roots, this man's soulful cries make me come alive. What a gift to us all. Thank you Ben. That version of Whipping Boy nearly tore me to shreads.
Another great performance tonight. Highlights were Wind Cries Mary, Use Me and Welcome to the Cruel World. Where Could I Go sans the mic was excellent and really something that I think blew the crowd away. Looking forward to tomorrow's show.