I went and saw Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals play last night at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. I’ve always been impressed with two things about Ben Harper.
1. His guitar playing.
2. His songwriting.
Both things were showcased last night. The thrill of the evening though, was Harper saying, “I want to bring a very special guest out here…” I thought for sure it would be Damian Marley who opened the night (and joined BHIC for his father’s “Get Up, Stand Up” later in the evening), but instead he says these three words…
“Mister Carlos Santana” the place went ape. And the next twenty minutes were more licks than a Ben and Jerry’s giveaway. I was pretty much in awe of both guys going back and forth with each “punch” doing more and more damage until finally, Carlos tears the skin off the faces of most of the audience and Ben Harper puts his hands up in surrender. Pretty amazing.
A note on Damian Marley; I don’t know much about Rastafarians because my exposure has always been mostly with Trustafarians, so I’m gonna do a little research. I didn’t mind the music, per se, and the crowd was easily frenzied, and it struck me as being as authentic as it could be, I’m just not sure what they (Damian Marley and the crowd collectively) are fighting for. Or maybe it was that I couldn’t understand a word in any of the songs or of his speeches, other than the token Bob Marley covers.