Free At Noon Flashback: A fired-up Ben Harper debuts Call It What It Is for a sold out Queen

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Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s been eight years since Ben Harper teamed up with his long time backing band The Innocent Criminals, but this spring brings the release of the fired-up new LP Call It What It Is, out April 8th on Stax Records. This afternoon at Wilmington’s World Cafe Live at the Queen, Harper and the band – percussionist Leon Mobley, bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Oliver Charles, keyboardist Jason Yates, and guitarist Michael Ward – gave a sold-out crowd a taste of the new record with a Free at Noon performance broadcast live on WXPN and on VuHaus.

The performance included eight of the album’s eleven songs, including the powerful and politically-charged title track – its lyrics “gun control, mind control, self-control, we’ve dug ourselves a hole / call it what it is: murder” creating a stirring resonance in the room – counterbalanced with as the cowbell-heavy “When Sex Was Dirty” and the soaring anthem “Dance Like Fire,” which showed up as the main set wound down. For those who stuck around, Harper treated the crowd to an off-air encore of “Faded.”

Harper returns to Philadelphia on Sunday, April 10th, to headline The Fillmore Philadelphia – more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen back to an audio archive of the performance, watch a video of “Shine” from the show, see the setlist and peruse a photo gallery.


Setlist
How Dark Is Gone
Shine
Call It What It Is
When Sex Was Dirty
Finding Our Way
Deeper and Deeper
Dance Like Fire
Goodbye to You

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