Ben Lee’s new album Awake is the New Sleep came out last Tuesday on New West Records. In celebration, Ben did two shows - one at NYC’s TONIC and one at LA’s Viper Room.
The LA show was reviewed on this web site with glorious adulation. I attended the NY gig, which was nothing less than a love in. From the flowers that covered every inch of the stage to the beautiful lyrics and melodies that came one after the other from songs that make up this latest record. These songs are some of the most positive, hopeful and realistic songs I have ever heard. But... Ben is that way and always has been as long as I’ve known him. That’s why he was in his usual giving spirits when he asked me to come on Conan O'Brien and sing back up vocals for him with seven of his other “friends”.
Ben passed out lyric sheets to all of his “friends”, which included upcoming touring mate Har Mar Superstar and Dim Mak’s Steve Aoki, to name a couple. Rehearsing backstage and clapping along with everyone took me back to a different time. One with a lot more freedom and less hesitation to simply be and be in the moment. I think Ben is aware of this and always makes people feel at ease.
We went on set and did a run through twice and we were all very energized. We took suggestions and tips from the PR team and made sure we would all smile and as Ben said, "have a good time".
At 6:20 the producer came to our dressing room and in true Rocky Balboa pre fight style said “It’s time.” We were led down the famous NBC corridor and on set. The stage was now being pushed forward making it a lot closer to the studio audience. We were then given the ok to take our places on stage and walked out to a round of applause from the studio audience. Soon, Max Weinberg and the house band played us back from the commercial and Conan introduced us. The ride began and we were off.
Much love and thanks to Ben Lee for letting me be a part of his magic. Pick up this record and you too will share the magic. Ben’s tour with Har Mar begins 3/21 in Denver, CO, and runs thru May. Go see him.