Ben Harper: May 26, 2001
Berkeley, CA - The Greek Theatre
support: Lake Trout, Jack Johnson, Robert Walter's 20th Congress

Main Set:
God Fearing Man
Manic Depression
Number Three
Excuse Me Mr. / Burnin' & Lootin'
Burn One Down
The Woman In You
Ground On Down
Mama's Got A Girlfriend Now
Remember > Superstition
Steal My Kisses

Encore 1:
Walk Away
I Want To Be Ready
Give A Man A Home
I Shall Not Walk Alone

Encore 2:
Faded / Whole Lotta Love

Notes: My sister and I went to this show together, but we had to leave after the first encore, because we had a loooong drive back to Fresno that night.  Both of us were scheduled to work on Sunday morning (she at a church and me at a library) and couldn't stay overnight.  It was quite painful to hear "Faded" being played after we'd already left the venue!  We didn't get home until 3am, but it was a great show and totally worth the exhaustion the next day.

This is what I wrote about the show in my online journal a few days later:

I debated staying put on the grass, but in the end, my desire to be closer won out, and we ventured down into the seats and found ample space in the front row above the walkway that sectioned off the floor area, but we were WAY off to the side (Mikey's if it has been a PJ show, Edge's if it had been U2) and really couldn't see much other than Juan, the bassist. Every once in awhile, the people to our right would leave and we'd get to move over a bit more. But not really being able to see Ben that well made me feel rather detached from the whole thing. =(

God, it was still GREAT though. We were near the speakers and at a good level, so the sound was just PERFECT, you could hear every subtle sound of his guitar and voice. I cannot remember ever being able to hear a musician so well. It was not like some dumbass crowd that has to yell "EDDDIIEEEEE!!!!!!" during every lull in sound. It was quite a groovy crowd, actually, being Berkeley and all. ;) During the song "Burn One Down" there was exuberant crowd participation, both in singing and smoking! This huge cloud of smoke billowed onstage and I just had to laugh! And one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life had to be this girl who was in a wheelchair and dancing. She was spinning her chair around in loops and circles and figure-8's and curly-q's back and forth all night and it was just DAMN COOL. I wanted to hug her or give her a high-5 or something.

I'm not intimately familiar with all of Ben's stuff, so I don't remember a lot of details about particular songs. Here's the setlist / notes from

05/26/01 - Greek Theatre: Berkeley, CA
support: Jack Johnson, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Lake Trout
set: God Fearing Man, Manic Depression, Number Three, Excuse Me Mr./Burnin' & Lootin', Alone, Burn One Down, The Woman in You, Ground on Down, Mama's Got a Girlfriend Now, Remember > Superstition, Forgiven, Steal My Kisses
E: Walk Away, I Want to be Ready, Give a Man a Home, I Shall Not Walk Alone
E2: Faded/Whole Lotta Love
notes: The Blind Boys of Alabama made a surprise appearance and sang backup on "I Want to be Ready", "Give a Man a Home" and "I Shall Not Walk Alone."

"Ground on Down" was probably the highlight for me, because I LOVE that song and his manic howl in the beginning! I was jumpy even before it started, solely from the anticipation of what I knew was coming up. =D

But I also committed the ultimate concert-going sin, which I've never done before and hope I never have to repeat:

I left early.

Ugh. Okay, why did I leave early? Well, I was just really nervous about getting back on the road and headed for home, and I didn't want to have to fight a lot of crowds and traffic to do so. We stayed for the first encore and left right before the second, and OF COURSE the second encore ended up being something I REALLY wanted to hear. motherfuckme. I honestly have never left a show early, and I usually scoff at the people who do. I'm all about staying there until the very end, and usually until security comes along and sweeps me out! I just like to sit and rest and absorb all that I can while still in the venue. But this time, I got freaked and I was quite tired and wanted to get home as soon as I possibly could, so I could get at least some shred of sleep before having to be at work at 10:30 the next day. (Though that was really peanuts, compared to Julia needing to be at work by 8:45 and Mike starting work at 5-30-AM!) But ya know, I wonder how much difference it really would have made to stay for that last song, not more than 20 minutes, surely. dammit... never again! Not unless I have a plane to catch or something.

(June 1, 2001)


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