Ben Harper at Wakarusa 2011

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Ben Harper at Wakarusa 2011

Post  MCTolen on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:09 pm

Been meaning to post something about this show. I was fortunate enough to catch Ben's 1st official show of the summer here. It was particularly exciting since normally I've seen ahead of time what songs are rotating in the setlist, so I know what to expect. This time, there were no expectations....anything goes! You can check out the full setlist on benharper.com, but as you've probably seen he's been kicking off his shows with Burn One Down. He actually does it solo acoustic which was a great treat. It's also smart since it shuts up all the jerks who would otherwise spend the entire show drunkenly yelling for it in your ear. Relentless 7 then came out and kicked it hard with Rock and Roll is Free and Clearly Severely. Next, Diamonds on the Inside was great to hear and She's only happy in the sun would have been a great suprise had I not already heard it on Live from Letterman and the France broadcast. Number with No Name was one I was dying to hear and it didn't disappoint, they really no how to rock that one out! Ground on Down was awesome as always followed by Another lonely day and Walk away. The crowd was amazingly quiet and respectful for a festival crowd during the solo acoustic moments. The cover's were OK, it took me awhile to place Led Zep's No Quarter which was never a personal favorite Led Zep song of mine, but the keyboards gave it all a very cool psychadelic vibe. Ohio is of course a classic song, but it didn't seem to make sense to me why, of all songs to cover, he picked that one. It's a seminal song of the 60's but in todays context I just didn't get any connection. Ben's a master at putting his own spin on cover songs, but these just seemed to pale in comparison to previous choices. Better Way was a MAJOR highlight. I've seen it performed with the IC's a couple of times but this was the best it's ever sounded. Serve your soul is another bad ass jam I've seen done with the IC's, but is best done by R7. Finally, I about flipped my shit when he came out and played Forever solo acoustic at the end. That's one song I've always been hoping to catch live and now I can finally scratch it off my wishlist. Overall a great show that pulled songs from nearly every era. The time flew by and felt like a short set as can be expected at a festival, but really was only a couple songs shorter than his regular full shows. Ben was very chatty with the crowd and made it feel very intimate despite being a big multiple stage festival. I'm always so amazed at how appreciative and humble Ben is during his performances. My only disappointment was that I didn't hear more R7 songs. I was never able to catch the tour with R7 for the last album which generally featured nearly all the songs on that album. So, given that there was now a whole other new albums worth of material backed by R7 I was hoping for more songs from both albums. I would have really liked to hear Keep it Together, Fly One Time, Shimmer and Shine or Boots Like These as well as I Will Not Be Broken, Spilling Faith and Dirty Little Lover off the new album. Funny, for an artist that's been around as longs as Ben has, it's not often you'll hear someone say they wished he'd play more of his "NEW" stuff. That's a real testiment to how vital Ben has remained in my opinion. If I had my pick I would also like to hear R7's take on Faded, Glory & Consequence, Fight for Your Mind and My Own Two Hands (some reggae with a harder edge would be awesome!). I hope I get to catch him again later on this tour, maybe at a point when the setlist has been changed up alot. I REALLY wish Ben would take more of a cue from Pearl Jam and pretty much make a new setlist from scratch every night. I'm sure its easier said than done, but I have no doubt he's capable of doing it...so why not?! There's just soooo many songs I'm still dying to hear!!
Who else has seen Ben lately and what did you think?

MCTolen

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Re: Ben Harper at Wakarusa 2011

Post  SOLAT319 on Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:21 am

Wow....great review!! Before everything else, gotta say that so jealous you got to hear Clearly Severely live! I got to be at 5 shows this tour. My personal highlights were:
1. Where Could I Go acapella at Warfield (this was INCREDIBLE)
2. Sexual Healing at Malkin Bowl
3. Morning Yearning at Marymoor (where he mentioned he may not do that song ever again since it almost made him feel like he'd end up in a padded cell)
4. Diamonds On The Inside at Doheny Days (My personal story is a different thread to explain why)
5. I'm On Fire at The Mint

I completely agree with you on the Pearl Jam comparison. It's not like he doesn't have enough material you know. Hey maybe he'll try it next tour, who knows.

Thanks so much for your review...
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Re: Ben Harper at Wakarusa 2011

Post  pjvedder on Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:28 pm

anyone seen any audio recordings from wakarusa?
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