It was sweaty, sticky, and hotter than hell. I nearly passed out, but I would not have left for any reason. It was the first night of the Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals Lifeline tour. In typical Ben fashion, it was an amazing evening! The new music is fantastic, gospel tinted southern rock recorded in Paris over seven days. With each album, Ben only gets better. Tonight those of us lucky enough to be in the sweltering Macky Auditorium, were able to worship at the alter of rock and revel in the Gospel of Ben. When the world is so upside down and backwards, it is a beautiful thing to see and hear hope dressed in a sharp three-piece blue suit. His clenched fist accentuates the passionate cries he preaches. “Where Could I go,” was overwhelming. Ben perched at the edge of the stage, lifting up the roof of the concert hall with only his spirit, no help of a microphone. The crowd was as silent as a church mouse, drinking in the sights and sounds of a legendary performance. “I’ll rise,” left me rocking my fist, empowered and barely breathing. He is a man of intense genius mixed effortlessly with humble gratitude. You get the sense that you (audience member, fan) are just as important as he is. To quote Ben, “Reciprocal Awesomeness!” Tonight was one more outstanding memory to file away in my soul; I can’t wait for the next service.