Friday, November 16, 2012

Ben Harper: Solo And Acoustic

Last Saturday night in Melbourne, Ben Harper gave us three hours of his music, spanning every album, and hitting every song you have ever wanted to hear him give you live.

Opening with the powerful Pleasure And Pain, sitting in the middle of a rug on a massive stage, in a massive lecture theatre-like venue. The Plenary within the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is mammoth - the acoustics in here were pretty impressive.  He was surrounded by countless guitars, with a piano at one end of the mat, and a huge xylophone at the other.

Hat on the whole night, the first few numbers featured serious concentration on the slide guitar in his lap, and included Blessed To Be A Witness and a stripped down version of Diamonds On The Inside.

The covers sprinkled across the night were awesome, with Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City a stand out, and then after saying it was for Jeff, Hallelujah.  The Drugs Don't Work, and Sexual Healing, of course, were also amazing.

Not Fire Not Ice was played after Ben told the room about meeting a fan in the elevator back at the hotel earlier in the day, who had told him that that was their wedding song - and that they were going to be in the audience that night. What a magical shout out!

A handful of new songs were in the mix too, with Masterpiece a love song to look out for.  Beautiful.

Please Bleed, Another Lonely Day and Walk Away brought the mood down, and the emotions at call, with that voice soaring around the room. The first encore brought it back with When She Believes and the lovely Steal My Kisses.

During the last encore, Ben took requests from the audience. He played Amen Omen for someone who called it out from the seats in front of him.

These requests also included Morning Yearning. Ben said that Heath Ledger directed the clip for this song.  And that he hasn't played this since Heath's passing. He told us stories of hanging out with Heath, and getting a call from him 2 months before his daughter was born with a favour request to write him a lullaby for her. Ben then said that because he was in Australia, he would play it for us, and he did.

It felt like Ben didn't want to end the night, taking one more request, and then another. Thanking the room for coming, and being so appreciative of the support over the years. What an epic, and amazing show!

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