Cross Country Songbook: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Live at The Greek Theatre 9/18/2015

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals at The Greek Theatre

After disbanding all the way back in 2008, Ben Harper announced late last year that he would be reuniting with The Innocent Criminals for a short run of shows in early 2015. Luckily for us, that run continued and we were able to score some tickets to their comeback tour stop at the famed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Set against Griffith Park, the Greek was the perfect location for Harper to make his return to Los Angeles amongst the trees and under the stars.

If there was any rust to shake off in the rehearsals leading up to the reunion tour it certainly didn’t show last night as Harper and the rest of The Innocent Criminals ripped through songs spanning across Harper’s 20+ year career with the focus of course on his earlier work recorded with the unit who performed last night. Classics like “Diamonds On the Inside”, “Burn One Down”, and “Steal My Kisses”, brought everyone in the crowd back to their collective stoner dorm room daze, but it was the grittier selections where the band really shined. Songs like “Forgiven” from 1999’s Burn to Shine and “Ground On Down” from 1995’s Fight for Your Mind gave Harper and co. the opportunity to dig into some extended jams that even further energized a crowd that had clearly been counting down the days for this reunion since 2008. The highlight though may have been the band’s rendition of “Where Could I Go”, a song Harper recorded in 2004 with The Blind Boys of Alabama. Near the end of the song Harper abandoned his mic and the crowd immediately went silent to look on in awe as he belted out the song’s final verse with no amplification whatsoever.

With the band reportedly recording material for a new album, the hope amongst fans is clearly that this run of reunion shows might continue in support of the next record. Until then we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed and The Innocent Criminals classics on repeat.

Posted on by Eric in Concert Review, Cross Country Songbook

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