Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, November 12, 2007

LastNight: Ben Harper at the Paramount Theater in Oakland

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2007 at 8:53 AM

click to enlarge harper_crop_thumb.jpg

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals with Piers Francini

Better than: MC Hammer Church

Download: this fat pic of the scene (caution, it's a meg).

This Saturday’s first-of-the-season rain wasn’t enough to keep a capacity crowd from gathering at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre to see Ben Harper and his Innocent Criminals put on an intimate and memorable show.

Opener Piers Faccini set the tone, then the crowd came alive for Ben, standing up before their assigned seats for the entire show. While the evening’s set wandered in tempo and featured songs from the breadth of Harper’s discography, the band managed to keep everything stylistically constant.

The crowd felt equally at home in the cozy theater, frequently interacting with Harper, who clearly enjoyed both the attention and the intimacy it created. In response to one of the many “We love you, Ben”s that could be heard throughout the night, Harper quipped that he thought his wife would be glad to know how many of the voices were male.

Other notes:

--Harper played a total of 6 different guitars all evening – two standard acoustic, a telecaster, a les paul and then some electric on a stand which he played slide-stile and his signature laptop slide acoustic.

--Songs both fast and slow, but everything maintained a gospel-like or revival rock tone. Great vibe. Many songs from newest album from what I understand from chats with more ardent fans than myself.

--Closed out the set after about 75 minutes and the crowd cheered him for a good five minutes before a new set list was put out.

--Opened encore with an eerie solo song on his acoustic slide, with sitar-like tones and Indian rhythms.

--Did a Dylan cover with opener Piers Faccini and the rest of the criminals next.

--After two more songs, had a brief off-mic conversation with somebody from the theater, after which he returned to the mic and said “Well, this song’s gonna cost me an extra $500, but we’re doing it anyway.”

--Played last song and we were out the door at 11:15 p.m.

--Tristan Johnson, special to the SF Weekly

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

About The Author

David Downs


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.
  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.