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September 14, 2007

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals: Chicago, IL 09.06.07

On the rainy night of September 6th, I had the pleasure of going to see Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals play at the historical Chicago Theatre. It may not be possible to not be in awe regardless of who is performing when you enter into the beautiful Chicago Theatre. However, Harper and the Innocent Criminals let the theatre be only a background to great show they put on that night.


There was quite the evident feel good vibe flowing throughout the auditorium that night. Although Harper is a natural crowd pleaser, his fans seem to truly love and respect his music. Every person in the audience had a smile on their face while listening and watching the concert.  There seemed to not be a person in the audience who was not standing up and cheering for the talent which we were all in the presence of. Harper’s vocals along with the instrumental talents of the Innocent Criminals reminded you that great live performers still exist today.

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals Lifeline was just recently released in late August. Yet, almost everyone was on their feet dancing, smiling and singing along to every song which was played. I am not at all surprised that the album is an instant hit with his fan base. Seeing this group perform together was unbelievable. Harper’s voice and lyrics are able to put the audience in a trance. However, the band seems to turn this musical genius into quite the performing package. The Innocent Criminals move along the rhythmic feel of Lifeline’s lyrics and sound.


I have been a fan of Harper for a long time, and his lyrics are something that has always kept me a fan of his music. A song that seemed remnant of Harper’s Walk Away, and Waiting on and Angel is the title track Lifeline. You are able to hear Harper’s own voice and also focus in on the lyrics that are being sung to you. When Harper sings songs with lyrics that you can so clearly relate to, you feel as if he is singing directly to you. Harper’s voice is set in a category of live performers, in which you can leave a concert saying that, “His voice live, sounds one hundred times better than on the album itself!”

Harper truly proved his vocal talents when he stopped near the end of the concert and sang to the audience without a microphone. This was one the most intense and also amazing solo performances I have seen in a long time. Harper was able to silence a sold out intoxicated crowd by belting out a song without any assistance. When done, the audience knew they were in the presence of a true musician.

Although Harper is of course able to carry a show, The Innocent Criminal’s instrumental groove was what brought the audience to their feet. The combination of blues and reggae perfectly intertwined with Harper’s range of vocals.


Harper returned to sing an encore after the show was over, and like his microphone free solo, the audience again returned to a state of awe. Harper and The Innocent Criminals put on an amazing show. What is great about this particular show, is that no matter what music you are into, this performance has such a range of musical genres that anyone who is just a fan of music will not only get to see a great show put on but also have a great time.  All in all, an unforgettable show.

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