Ben Harper, the Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, 4/3/98
Well, I have to admit I was somewhat caught off-guard by Ben Harper's performance this evening. Having listened to his most recent album ('The Will to Live'), I was expecting something quite a bit more bluesey instead of being confronted with Jimi Hendrix meets Bob Marley meets Dave Matthews Band with a very heavy handed serving of gigantic funky bass (delivered by a gigantic funky bassist, nonetheless). And the crowd was equally diverse, with a heavy weighting towards the rasta set, a mess of whiteboy rasta-wannabes (My hair looks like pasta! I think I'm a rasta! I'm fakin' Jamaican!), some people wearing ties, one guy dressed like a pressboy for the Daily Planet, at least one person named Kate, a certain number of people enjoying the wacky tabbacky, and a whole lot of folks getting down to the driving beat of Harper's two drummers and his unique lap guitar-delivered rootsy sounds. Maybe music is the way to go in bringing people together - Harper seemed to have succeeded well in uniting the audience - at the end of the show, he stood eclipsed by the blinding stage lighting with his fist strongly, peacefully raised, and from the back of the hall, I saw rows and rows of hands of all colors slowly rise in unified answer. It was a nice image.
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