Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Ron Artis II & Thuderstorm Artis Close Out Tour in San Diego – Review and Photos

Photos and Review by Brady Cooling

Jack Johnson closed his summer tour in San Diego, CA at North Island Credit Union Amphitheater on a beautiful fall afternoon. From the shores of Hawaii he felt sure at home here in SD. Meet the Moonlight is the 8th studio album by Jack Johnson and what he has toured on this whole summer as well. Joining him was the always fantastic Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and from Haleiwa, Hawaii: Ron Artis II with his brother, Thunderstorm Artis.      

Jack Johnson’s music and vibe is such a positive and inspirational force for good; he has been so for over two decades now. From an environmental, surfing, humanitarian, family and overall great person and his music stands for all of these alike. His twenty nine song setlist painted the picture from all over the ocean of people.

Jack and his band kicked off the setlist with some songs from his new album and kicked into a fan favorite, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” into another one of my favorites in “You and Your Heart.” Ben Harper came out for the first sit-in of the show, going through a medley rendition of “Upside Down,” “Time is the Master” and Sublime’s “Badfish.” Jack and Ben have such similar careers and really have such great chemistry onstage as well too.

An unexpected moment came when Jack’s band took the crowd to outer space for a really cool cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe (In the Air)” to change the pace for the show. A normally very bubbly and slower set of tunes made a nice transition into this.

Next, Jack and the gang brought up his Hawaiian brothers Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm Artis for an epic blues segue of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” Sergio Mendes “Mas Que Nada,” and Jack’s own “Staple It Together.”

The visuals for this show were pretty incredible as well with tropical scenes all the way from Hawaii, some delayed video footage of the band playing live, and some other psychedelic images as well. Such an inspiring setlist and really shows how great Jack is as a performer. To continue to give back to the artists who he has idolized, and now paving the way for future generations as well.

Another amazing example is Paula Fuga, who joined him for some songs, and is a beautiful Hawaiian singer he has performed with and helped grow as an artist. She recently signed onto his Brushfire Records, and has won numerous awards as one of Hawaii’s best native singers. Jack ended this beautiful night with a five song encore, and even told some stories about playing poker with Willie Nelson with Ben Harper and others as well.

In terms of family and community, this whole tour was nothing short of this mantra. Jack Johnson is such a humble and heartfelt person, and I’m so grateful to have been able to be a part of it. I know his music will continue to bring happiness into so many people’s lives, myself included as well.

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