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Friday, June 5, 2015

Ben Harper @ Grinders - Crossroads in Kansas City

image from relix.com

Prior to this concert I knew three Ben Harper songs – “Steal My Kisses,” “Diamonds on the Inside,” and “With My Own Two Hands.” I tend to pick my concerts based on acts which I know backwards and forwards. I also couldn’t have told you much about Harper. I’d have guessed his age at about ten years younger than he is (45) and his discography to be about half what it is (12 studio albums). My buddy Paul didn’t know much more about Harper, but talked me into going. I’m glad he did.

While the old man in me craved a chair by the encore, I was certainly not bored by the music. Harper and the Innocent Criminals were versatile performers who clearly enjoy their jobs. They incorporated reggae, ear-piercing guitar rock, acoustic folk, alternative, and even elements of prog-rock. Harper frequently changed out guitars and was generous with highlighting the band, which included multiple – and well-deserved – choruses of cheering and applause for the lively percussionist.

The set list ignored the last five albums, but that makes sense considering that this is the Innocent Criminals’ reunion with Harper after a seven-year layoff.

The Set List:

1. Better Way 7
2. Brown Eyed Blues 5
3. Excuse Me Mr. 2
4. Ground on Down 2
5. Diamonds on the Inside 5
6. Masterpiece
7. Don't Take That Attitude to Your Grave 1
8. Burn to Shine 4
9. The Woman in You 4
10. Steal My Kisses 4
11. Roses from My Friends 3
12. Gold to Me 2
13. Amen Omen 5
14. The Will to Live 3
15. Mama’s Trippin’ 3
16. With My Own Two Hands 5

Encore:

17. Walk Away 1
18. Another Lonely Day 2
19. There Will Be a Light 6
20. Oppression 2
21. She's Only Happy in the Sun 5
22. Burn One Down 2
23. Glory & Consequence 3

Studio Album Discography:

1 Welcome to the Cruel World (1994)
2 Fight for Your Mind (1995)
3 The Will to Live (1997)
4 Burn to Shine (1999)
5 Diamonds on the Inside (2003)
6 There Will Be a Light (with the Blind Boys of Alabama, 2004)
7 Both Sides of the Gun (2006)
8 Lifeline (2007)
9 White Lies for Dark Times (2009)
10 Give Till It’s Gone (2011)
11 Get Up! (with Charlie Musselwhite, 2013)
12 Childhood Home (with Ellen Harpe, 2014)


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