The Red-headed Amazon invited me to see Ben Harper at the Keller Auditorium last night, along with a batch of her friends. I only kinda knew the music of BH, had never seen a show at the Keller, and had met her friends just once or twice before.
Harper was great! His music is a blend of modern blues, reggae and pop, backed by an amazing bass player, drums, keyboards, two guitars and bongos. Think Jack Johnson, with a lot more soul and energy. He sort of reminds me of a modern Bill Withers (and he actually covered a BW song last night). At one point in the show, the band dropped to a bare whisper and Harper stepped to the apron of the stage and sang several verses to the house with no mic, no amplification at all, just a raw, naked voice to a crowd of a couple of thousand people. I was overwhelmed by how powerful that moment was.
The only cheesiness of the show was how over the top some of Harper’s stage patter was. At one point, he congratulated the audience on their bravery in embracing such a creative and unique blend of music. Yeah, I’ve never felt so brave as when I attended a music concert. 🙂
The Keller is a big house, a traditional proscenium theater. It’s very wide, not terribly deep, and has two generous balconies. Our seats were about half way down, on the main floor, on the far left side. We had a pretty good view, and were able to stand on the wings when we wanted to stretch, fidget or bounce to the music. The crowd was incredibly receptive, applauding enthusiastically, standing for a bunch of the high-energy songs, and sitting quietly for the slower tunes.
And the RHA’s friends are a cool bunch that I’m enjoying getting to know better. Sitting in the car after the show, with four people piled into the back seat was more giggly, silly fun than I’ve had in a while. Good people, good times. 🙂