08.10.08 Jersey City, NJ

All Points West Music & Arts Festival with Jack Johnson, Trey Anastasio, Matt Costa

I Was There
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Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Setlist 1969-12-31 - All Points West Music & Arts Festival - Jersey City, NJ

Who Went

  • WillSmith's picture
  • cblair6271's picture
  • decaturt6211's picture
  • lhandel's picture


guavajelly's picture

This was my 8th time seeing ben and the boys, right up front, slightly to the right of center stage-perfect view. Unfortunately, due to some sort of unexplained technical complications, their hour and fifteen minute scheduled set was cut to just an hour as they began playing late. Ben said something close to 'Sorry, it's nothing that my crew did, I'm just a mercurial guy. I walk in the room and the toaster breaks.' He said it with a smile but seemed pretty distracted by whatever issue had arisen.

They opened strong with glory and consequence. Oliver was killing it the whole time. Drums sounded very tight and it was obvious that he wanted to be there heavy banging sunday night, really into it. Can't say the same for the others though. No solo for Leon to shine on, which was unfortunate. Juan didn't appear to be having much fun at the start, but got more into it going along. Jason and Michael were almost afterthoughts as nobody was really highlighted throughout the set. Granted, it was a short set, there's only time for so much. Musically everything was alright, vocals and instrumentation. There did seem to be occasional discontent with the sound levels, with motions made to the side of stage to raise or lower with the respective instruments. I really don't know what was going on with all of that. A couple of goodies, can't remember everything that was played, but got a nice forgiven and a few other greats along with festival-friendly standards like diamonds.

Further disruption was provided at two different points by giant balloon sculptures/animals/costumes that were passed around, surfing atop the crowd mid-set. It had been used as part of an interactive art experience during the festival. Worth googling pictures for, they're called 'MegaMites'. they were really neat to see walking around, but not appropriate for mid-show tossing and grabbing. Terribly distracting to the audience and the whole band. Within good reason-they're huge rainbow brite insect-like balloon creations. Anyways, Ben appeared irritated at the multitude of averted attention, and it was obvious that patience was wearing thin across the stage.

They closed out with a relatively uninspired With my own two hands, they had run out of time after a slightly rushed set and didn't have the room to really throw down a chant or put a medley of something else in a two hands sandwich.

Really not a bad show overall, they managed to fit in plenty of good music. There were just too many road bumps for the length of the drive and they were never really able to hit a rhythm and take off for the usual spectacular. sample-sized BHIC.

Another bit of disappointment was that jack johnson played right after him so the prospect of ben sitting in was fairly high, but instead matt costa and trey anastasio were the guests (to no complaint on their additions whatsoever). But the kicker was for us to find "FLAKE w/ BEN" typed on the setlist for the nite as the closing song but freshly crossed out with black pen. :(