Ben Harper sang to the very appreciative and grateful sold-out crowd at the Jubilee Auditorium. They just finished performing Steal My Kisses to end their first encore. A quick nod and they played their second encore going over time but I know I could listen to him all night long.
A master of song writing and dynamics, you could hear a pin drop at the start of the show with Ben solo on the stage with a single overhead spot light completing the mood. “The Innocent Criminals” introduction brought out the band for God Fearing Man.
The energy is so peaceful and the words so powerful. The band played a full 15 song set covering the essentials including Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart), a Ben Harper & the Relentless7 cover.
Half way through the set Ben captivated the audience with a story of when he was young and he witnessed a racist incident with his father where his father pulled up next to the man and told him please “Don’t take that attitude to your grave” then performing the song of the same name.
I’ve had the honor to photograph Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, who set the mood for the night with a wonderful 2-piece performance. To watch a performer grow through the years. I first met him at a local outdoor festival and that night he was flying to Europe to play with Canadian Icon Brian Adams. He was the perfect opening act with the highlight for sure being the acoustic version of “I wanna make it with you”. The title track from his 2016 album.
I want to give a shout out to the staff of the Jubilee Auditorium who relentlessly kept on the individuals who felt videoing the performances with their phone was going to capture the energy of the night. Please people just keep the phones down and enjoy the full experience. Don’t miss it to try to keep it with you in your pocket, that you will most likely never look at again. The people sitting behind you will appreciate it. More artists need to adopt a “No Phone” policy like Jack White and Maynard James Kennan.
That night will always be in my memory and my heart.