Ben Harper is my favorite. I have been a fan of his since he opened for Pearl Jam in 1995. I have always loved the fact that although he is an outstanding person and musician, he did not get incredibly big in the music world. This means that I can typically get very up close and personal at his shows. This show was the closest I have ever gotten which was the 2nd row.
I had a feeling that Ben was going to play his new album because he is touring with Relentless and not the Innocent Criminals. I made sure to listen to it 10 times before the show so I would be familiar with all of the songs. I really did do the right thing because he played his ENTIRE new album. The only other song he played was Walk Away.
He got a little annoyed with the crowd and told people to keep the noise level down during the slower songs. I was annoyed too because way too many people were talking. He said that in all of his career, he has never had to tell a crowd to show some respect. I actually almost got into a fight with some gal and her Aquanet hairdo. Not to mention, the show was in Oakland and I had never been so scared in my life to walk 5 blocks to the car. The Fox Theater is beautiful though, they just spend a few million dollars on the remodel. I highly suggest anyone in the Bay Area to check it out if they have a favorite musician coming to play. The venue does not fit that many people and there were like 8 bar stands.
If I was a so-so fan, I would have been a little bit disappointed that he did not play any of his radio tunes. A couple of my friends were dying to hear “Steal My Kisses” and I was secretly glad he didn’t. But, because Ben is so great it really doesn’t matter what he plays, because he plays it so well. I could watch him read the telephone book and I’d be happy…but hey, that’s just me.