The near 100-degree weather yesterday didn’t phase Michael Franti when he and his band, Spearhead, took to the outdoor stage at Rose Park. If anything, the weather couldn’t have provided a better atmosphere for Franti’s positive reggae pop jammin’. The park was packed with a crowd that bounced multi-colored beach balls and danced throughout the entire show.
It probably helped that Franti had a chance to adjust to the heat before the show too. A couple of weeks ago, he posted in the Facebook event page and asked his fans to join him in some pre-show yoga. Franti says he does this before almost every show and we wanted to make it happen, so we teamed up with our friends at Logboat for some yoga in the park. About twenty fans showed up, many with gifts and stories to share with Franti after the final namaste. Hugs were given, pictures were taken and babies were kissed. (Yes, there was a baby that sat quietly through the entire session and was a fucking trooper.)
Yoga sessions give the band a chance to meet fans and connect with them over a practice based on positive thinking and peace, something that Franti preaches and practices. For each ticket, a dollar went to Do It For The Love, a charity that Franti and his wife founded, which brings together various artists and uses music to “provide empowering moments for people living with life-threatening illnesses, children surviving severe challenges, and wounded veterans.” The foundation’s summer campaign has a goal of granting 1,000 wishes by the end of August. At the show, Franti said they have already reached over 900.
As for the show, it was one of the cooler experiences that Rose Park has seen. People from all ages joined to dance. Literally, at one point in the show when Franti asked the crowd to pair up with seven or eight people around them, hold their hands and dance in a circle. For his hit “Life is Better With You,” Franti brought his wife, Sara, up on stage to sing with him. As if it couldn’t get more adorable, he brought up a group of kids from the audience to dance and sing along toward the end of the show. He talked between songs about peace, loving your neighbor and listening to those around you. When he wasn’t spreading the message from the stage, he joined the audience to sing among the crowd. After the show, the audience trickled out. Among them, were some already wearing shirts they picked up at the merch booth that said “Stay Human” across the chest.