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day 6 – all the freaky people make the beauty of the world

November 6, 2008


The first time I saw Michael Franti & Spearhead was 7 years ago at the Starbelly Jam Festival in the mountains of BC.  I’d never heard of them before and had no idea that my mind was about to be cracked open like a pinata and explode into a million sugar-coated stars.  There I was, on a hot summer night, in a crowd full of hippies, artists and back-to-the-landers, when all of a sudden this barefoot guy comes on stage and sings… 6 foot 6 above sea level, I grab the mic because I like to take you to another mental level…  Sure, I may have partaken in some fungi flavored chocolate that afternoon but it doesn’t change the fact that Michael Franti’s baritone voice did take me to another mental level and I’ve been a die hard fan ever since.

The second show I saw was at the Ottawa Blues Festival.   This time, no magic mushrooms were ingested – we were in the nation’s capital after all.  Still, I felt the same exhilaration as I had years earlier (proving my point that it’s their music, which gets me high) and a spell was definitely cast on me when, after the show, Franti jumped into the crowd and spent time hugging everyone.  At this point, I’m further convinced that their music is made of the same molecular compounds as love and chocolate and rainbows and the beach (or whatever elixir you would concoct to create the perfect happy pill), all mixed up, recorded on tape, put in a boom box and blasted into your ears where it proceeds to pump life back into jaded hearts.

The third time was at the Evolve Festival in Nova Scotia.  A few hours before the show was set to begin, as the sun diffused a soft citrusy glow over camp, I left my tent for a few minutes to throw something away in the garbage.   On my way back, I noticed a man walking through the tent village, 6 foot 6, barefoot, dreads down to his thighs, unmistakable.  Normally I would be all shy, I’d point him out to a friend and hope that he or she would grab my hand, drag me over and do all the talking while I stood there with a silly grin on my face and stars in my eyes.  But the tent was too far away to grab a buffer.  Besides, before I knew it, my feet had sprouted a mind of their own and taken me towards him.  And that is how I found myself in front of Michael Franti, out of breath, on a lovely August evening, saying something like oh my god Michael, I’m so happy you are here, I can’t wait to see you guys on stage, this is like the 3rd time… blah blah blah.  To which he replied Thanks Sis and gave me the sweetest, biggest bear hug ever.  Just like that!  Me & Michael Franti hugging in the setting sun.  We talked a little while longer and for the life of me I don’t remember what he said but I’m pretty sure my feet were floating above ground.

The fourth time was at Metropolis, last night, here in Montreal.  And it was just as amazing as every other show, made all the better by the fact that it was the day after the elections and everyone was riding an Obama high (indeed, the band was in Montreal during election day and when asked why they weren’t in the States, Michael replied “Because if Barack doesn’t get in, I’m staying here“… Canada welcomes you anytime baby.)

So I feel like I really celebrated Obama’s victory last night, jumping, dancing, singing, clapping and generally making some noise for hours on end. I couldn’t imagine seeing a better show at a better time.  During the encore, the band sang a song they’d written that afternoon; the chorus essentially being a repeat of the name Barack Obama set to a happy little tune and it felt like we were in the Church of the Muppets – everyone dancing and singing along and shaking their head from side to side.

It will not be the last time I see Spearhead and if the past is any indication, the 5th time around will be in a different part of the world.  I never tire of seeing this band live.  After a Spearhead show, I always feel like I’m walking around with sunshine in my hair, no matter what the weather is like outside.  Especially when I’m still giddy from hearing the above song, played live, surrounded by a crowd of beautiful people singing:

I love you, I love you, I love you
I love you, I love you, I love you
I love you, I love you, I love you

michael franti

If they come to a town near you – GO.  You won’t regret it.  All you people on the East Coast, he’s coming your way this November.  Check it!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    November 7, 2008 7:28 pm

    Thanks for filling us in on what sounds like a great evening and also all the other concerts. How cool that you’ve seen so many and each in a different province.

  2. Frannie permalink
    November 7, 2008 7:32 pm

    Crap. When I read what you said about Michael Franti coming to the East Coast I thought you meant the east coast of Canada. Crap. I’m glad you had so much fun, though, and am especially glad to hear you sounding so happy.
    And it was a great post!

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