It’s late and I’m so tired my eyes are blurry, but I had to post this before I creep off to bed. This Halloween, instead of dressing up and going out to insanely popular destinations like South Beach or Coconut Grove, we went to see Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals at the Gusman Center. And he was absolutely INCREDIBLE.

The center is gorgeous, it’s an oddly intimate venue with lush lighting and lots of ornate details on the ceilings and walls. Ben Harper’s voice is just amazing. I am positive video from tonight will creep onto YouTube soon enough – I saw quite a few film making hippies in Halloween costumes up near the front. But for now, all I can do is share this beautiful video with you all to give you a taste of the Ben Harper experience. This is Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, singing a cover of Bob Marley’s “High Tide or Low Tide” on the Carson Daly show.

Awww. Love this song — its meaning is so sweet and pure. And both of these guys make such blissful, chill music. But tonight’s concert wasn’t all chill – Ben Harper rocked out, got gospel soulful, sang a capella, played acoustic guitar… dude did it all and he looked fly doing it. Now I am exhausted from dancing, and off to bed to dream happy dreams. Fingers crossed for a Thursday morning post before work.

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nearandfar says:
November 1, 2007, 4:17 am
That was incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing that with us. Love both of these artists' music and had the blessing of seeing Ben Harper live in Paris at Bercy. True artists.
Chic Alert says:
November 1, 2007, 8:57 am
Awesome. It's a goose bumps song!!!
Nerd Girl says:
November 1, 2007, 9:03 am
I think Ben is one of the most unappreciated artists out there (stateside anyhow). Actually went to high school with him (go Wolfpack) and am proud to see a local talent doing so well. Thanks for highlighting him today - and for the clip!
1969 says:
November 1, 2007, 9:19 am
**sigh** Ben Harper is fine!
bella says:
November 1, 2007, 9:22 am
Ooh, Nerd Girl - what was he like in high school? He's just stunningly handsome. And so talented and modest. Love this man. So yeah, no time for a bigger post before work today. =( Sorry, bellas. Now more than ever before, it's really important for me to get into work on time. The days of writing a post in the morning -- between getting ready, and all the morning things I need to do before I leave the house... there's no way for me to squeeze in a post of any significance. Later will most definitely be greater.
bella says:
November 1, 2007, 9:39 am
Oh and I thought this was interesting.... I was one of perhaps seven other black people sprinkled throughout the audience. And the show was sold out, packed to the gills. It kind of bummed me out, because the message of his music is definitely about freedom and struggle and concepts that are about the black experience. I wonder why that is?
Naomi says:
November 1, 2007, 10:21 am
I saw him and with the Innocent Criminals this fall in Minneapolis, it was amazing. I'm a longtime fan, and it was an amazing show. He and the band added in "Purple Rain" in honor of being in Minneapolis, it was definitely the highlight for me as he and Prince are two of my favorite musicians.
HaitianRoots says:
November 1, 2007, 10:58 am
I remember my first Ben Harper concert. Jack Johnson opened...ahh it was the Spring of 2001. They rocked and I fell in love with Jack Johnson. Folk are so sleep on what great music is out there!!! And I feel you Bella, me and my not-yet-husband were part of the elite brown faces in the audience.
nearandfar says:
November 1, 2007, 11:06 am
bella, Come now, you know why that is.
afrobella says:
November 1, 2007, 12:09 pm
I do, nearandfar. I was being facetious. I don't think it should be that way, you know? I see Ben Harper in an almost a Marleyesque, Stevie Wonderish light, almost - his music has deep messages, and he doesn't stick to a genre, he's out of the box. And because of that, I couldn't even tell you a Miami radio station that would play his music. It's also something I've noticed when I've seen artists like Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Sharon Jones.
Ami Jane says:
November 1, 2007, 2:11 pm
I know you are gonna laugh, but i'm still trying to figure out which one Ben Harper is! Sounds good though. I'm guessing the lead guitarist is the dude:) Thanks for sharing!
sbgatewood says:
November 1, 2007, 3:38 pm
Thank you for sharing, the song lifted my spirits today. Since the kids in my neighborhood were out trick or treating, a group of teenagers decided to spray paint all of the cars on my block.
argo2d says:
November 2, 2007, 2:24 am
made my day!! truly awesome voices
Zoe says:
November 2, 2007, 7:48 am
thanks for another great post. i was first introduced to ben harper's music when i was studying abroad in france almost ten years ago. he was a superstar there and he was selling out stadiums all over the country!! apart from me in the audience, all the black folk were up on stage! i have found the same to be more or less true at the many roots concerts i've been to. ?uestlove mentioned in "dave chappelle's block party" that all of the artists featured in that documentary shared the experience of coming from a different cultural background than their fan base. i thought it was a funny thing to say (given i think of myself as firmly part of that fanbase) until seeing the audience make-up for myself. and artists like the roots, erykah, jill et al. more readily fit into genres we define as hip hop or r&b. it seems even more difficult for artists such as ben harper, alice smith (the list is very long) to be played on black radio stations or to have substantial black audiences at their live gigs.
Wendy says:
November 2, 2007, 8:02 am
Ben Harper is so cool, I was lucky enough to catch him at the Brixton Academy in London. I was a couple rows from the front. His voice is stunning at the best of times, but when he told the band to cut the music so he could sing 'I'll Rise' accapella, it was too beautiful for words. Thanks for posting the video. I'm just waiting in the wings should things not work out with Laura Dern!!
Nerd Girl says:
November 2, 2007, 11:16 am
Bella - Ben was a genuinely nice guy in high school - I think he graduated 2 years ahead of me. I had a crush on him then and it seems to have lasted for 20+ years! He's got 2 younger brothers and they're both talented artists (visual) as well. Just a great family all around. LOL at Wendy ". . .should things not work out with Laura Dern."
Dj says:
November 2, 2007, 7:42 pm
Ben Harper, where do I begin....High tide or low tide is an awesome song. I will be singing and performing his 'Forever' song in two weeks at my friends weddings. If you haven't heard 'Forever' you haven't heard the best of Ben Harper. Jack Johnson is remarkable also, as you all may already know Ben discovered him. I would love to see them in concert. Speaking of concerts, Alice Smith was at World Cafe Live here in Philly on Halloween night! She is sooo pretty!
Wendy says:
November 3, 2007, 9:36 am
Nerd Girl, I'm telling you Laura better stay sharp!


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