Operation: Ben Harper pt.2
1 army utility bag with clothes, copies of Someday Soon, running shoes, toiletries
1 Acoustic/Electric Martin D-15
1 big ass box with my battery powered amp, new "Joe Marson" shirts, pillow and a blanket.
I missed my connecting flight because the first was late. Had to wait 5 hours for the next one. All good.
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Someday Soon EP
blog post #3
When I got in, I rented a car. Some sort of Hyundai machine. All I know is it has satellite radio and a better turning radius than the Marson-mobile.
Was pretty disappointed that I missed the opening crowd of Ben’s first show but at least I managed to catch the end. This was sort of just a practice run. Feeling out the best way to do what ever it is I was gonna be doing for the next week or so. As I was scoping out the venue, I ran into Ben's tour manager Dean, who I have corresponded with off and on. Was nice to see him, to hear that he had read the first part of this blog, and was expecting me.
Ben and a Bear Hug
As myself and a group of fans waited for Ben to come out, I played songs for them; some original, some covers. Great reception, sold a bunch of CD's. But the highlight of the night was my surprising interaction with Ben. I was sort of trying to play it low key and waited around the corner as everyone mobbed him when he came out. I wasn't sure how he was going to react by seeing me all the way out on the west coast (I assumed Dean told him about what I was doing). Would he think I'm a stalker, some sort of dedicated super fan? Would he try to avoid me?
I peeked my head around after a while only to have Ben recognize me, run up and give me a big hug. He seemed really excited to see me and said we'd get some time to hang out.
It was great welcome and start to this adventure.
Slept in the rental that night then drove to Seattle the next day.
Seattle, Washington 11/11
The drive to Seattle was easy enough. Did a Craigslist rideshare with two sisters to save on gas money. Stayed with an old family friend by the name of Sander. It had been about 14 years since the last time we saw each other but we were like two Jewish gangsters in a pod. Strange description? Maybe. Does it make sense to Sander and myself? Yo vey, matza balla.'
A game involving Q-tips taped to fingers was initiated within ten minutes of arrival. Freddy Queger and Edward Q-tip-hands. Plus notice the sweet Wolverine set up on my raised hand.
San Francisco, CA, 11/13
After speaking with Ben after the show, I picked up Sander* at 2am. We drove from Seattle to San Francisco, getting in just in time for my gig at Dolores Park Cafe that I had set up with a great local SF musician named Roem Baur. Ben was taking a day off so I used that as an opportunity to play for some fans I have in the area (as well as making some new ones). It was definitely a highlight of the trip getting to see folks like Jesse and all his friends, as well as Monica, who had heard me in the New York subway last year.
Played outside of Ben's show at Davies Symphony Hall the next night. Not a great location as I wasn't aloud to play within 30 feet of the marquee where everyone goes in. Halfway through I was told I couldn't use my amp because of city regulations. Singing unplugged was really tough because I have to belt every note, over the crowd and street traffic. I pushed through it though and ended up having some great exchanges with new fans. Sold a good amount of CD's as well.
*Sander spontaneously joined me for the ride to San Fran. We were also joined by a rideshare of the crazier variety. Won't go into details but involved dropping her off at a truck stop on the side of the road. Ya...
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Seattle, Washington 14 hour drive San Francisco
The next day, we went for a run around Greenlake and hung out with Sander's sister Sage, who I also have not seen for 14 years. Great day, then off to the venue for me. This is the schedule I came up with and have follow subsequently:
5:00pm leave for venue
5:30pm park and explore, feeling out where I should set up.
buy playing fuel; two cliff bars, a bottle of water and bottle of coke zero
6:30pm grab my stuff and set up
6:45pm-8:00 sing my ass off
The list of covers I have been doing includes:
Get Up, Stand Up-Bob Marley
No Woman No Cry-Bob Marley
If I Ain't Got You-Alicia Keys
No One-Alicia Keys
With A Little Help From My Friends-Joe Cocker version
A Change Gonna Come-Otis Redding
I've Been Loving You Too Long To Stop Now-Otis Redding
The Weight-The Band
Sir Duke-Stevie Wonder
Higher and Higher-Jackie Wilson
The sign below is what I have been setting up in front of me at each show, starting with Seattle.
Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Stay tuned, and please share this blog with anyone else that might be interested :)
feel free to tweet to @BenHarper as well if you want to help my mission
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