10.01.11 | Ben Harper | Terminal 5

Hoping to snag a good spot to see Ben Harper, I arrived early enough to catch the opener, Grace Woodroofe. I immediately regretted this decision once I had procured a spot and was able to watch her "perform". Deceived by her deep mature voice, her stage antics were more age appropriate to that of a teenager singing into a hairbrush in her bedroom. Not knowing the proper etiquette for a musician on stage, she chose to imitate the idea of the rock star, by thrashing about with her hair covering her face, and then immediately realizing that this was impractical and constantly tucking her hair behind her ears. One cannot blame Woodrofe for feeling giddy, as she was discovered at 16 by Heath Ledger, and skyrocketed to first in line to have her album produced by Ben Harper. Sure she may be his protege (or something more?) but she needs a few more years in the oven before they should let her open for such a commanding artist such as Ben Harper.

This was my first time seeing Ben Harper live, and he certainly lived up to the acclaim. He opened his set with a cover of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine", a thrilling intro to his dynamic vocal range. He then proceeded into a number off his new album, Give Til It's Gone. His set ranged from old favorites like "Diamond's On the Inside" and sure to be new favorites like "Rock N' Roll is Free". There were crazy, twenty-minute solos by all members, a blazing rendition of "Lay There and Hate Me" and a poignant moment when he played "Masterpiece". For the encore, he opened with, "Another Lonely Day" which was followed by Neil Young's "Helpless", which featured Woodroofe again in a much more fitting setting. The band also played a cover of Led Zeppelin. The set was a little heavy on the covers side, but it allowed the musicians to shine. It felt like you were sitting in on a jam session, and witnessing something organic.

Set list: October 01, 2011, Terminal 5, NYC
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