Opening Night | Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Return

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Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals returned to the stage last night for the first time since the group disbanded in 2008. Harper and band’s first of four shows at San Francisco’s The Fillmore included a number of re-arranged versions of songs from Ben’s career with a focus on material from BHIC’s first five albums. The group has big year planned with a lengthy world tour already announced.

[Photo by Gavin Conaty]

The evening began with two songs off 1995’s Fight For Your Mind: “Oppression” and “Ground On Down.” From there, BHIC leaned on 2003’s Diamonds On The Inside for its title track and “Brown Eyed Blues.” The title track of 1997’s The Will To Live came next along with “Gold To Me” and “Please Me Like You Want To.” A 16-song main set continued with “Roses From My Friends” and “The Woman In You,” the evening’s initial song off 1999’s Burn To Shine. After “Mama’s Trippin,” Harper delivered an acapella rendition of “Where Could I Go” off his 2004 gospel album with Blind Boys Of Alabama. A combo of “Like A King” and “I’ll Rise,” both from BHIC’s debut album Welcome To The Cruel World, brought the set to a close.

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals ended the concert with a six-song encore. The instrumental “Strut” led into “Walk Away” and “Forever” off Welcome To The Cruel World. “Strut” was the only new song BHIC performed on Wednesday night and showed off Harper’s acoustic slide Weisenborn skills. “Amen Omen” was followed by “Forgiven” before “Better Way,” the night’s lone song from 2006’s Both Sides Of The Gun, ended the evening. The group returns to The Fillmore tonight.

[Photo by Gavin Conaty]

Setlist

Set: Oppression, Ground On Down, Diamonds On The Inside, Brown Eyed Blues, The Will To Live, Gold To Me, Please Me Like You Want To, Roses From My Friends, The Woman In You, Burn One Down, Faded, Steal My Kisses, Mama’s Trippin’, Where Could I Go, Like A King, I’ll Rise

Encore: Strut, Walk Away, Forever, Amen Omen, Forgiven, Better Way

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