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Sunday, October 31, 2010

"But I Know, I Know, I Know I'm Not Alone..."
or spending an energetic evening with yoga loving Michael Franti

Last Saturday my work buddy, Sue and I travelled to the Carnegie Library in Homestead to be drenched in the shiny, happy positive energy of Michael Franti and Spearhead.

And, Dude! They sold alcohol! At the library. No shit. We got lit amongst the literature.


Best. Bibliotecca. EVA!!
Randy Andy smiling approvingly at the lushes
amongst his literary legacy
The only draw back to this venue is the acoustics, which is kind of an important thing being a music hall. I don't know if we were in a dead spot, or the mix was wack, but every time he spoke in the mic it sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher talking. "Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa"

I'm not kidding. I admit I have trouble understanding chatter at bigger concerts in general, but everyone in our section was having the same issue so it wasn't just me and my impaired hearing. We all just shrugged our shoulders and Woo Hooed along with the crowd, completely ignorant to what we were cheering on. Could have been a simple "Hello Pittsburgh!" or "those deaf chicks in the balcony are buying!!" It all sounded the same to us. Unintelligible.
The coolest man in the room

I fell in love with Franti's work after hearing his 2006 release, Yell Fire! and have been wanting to see him in concert ever since. His music and message is buoyant, upbeat and completely infectious. Even when he strays from his signature songs of love, peace and harmony into the political realm, he still manages to be positive in his admonitions. "El Presidente, you behave!"

He is uber cool and his optimism is ridiculously catchy. I absolutely cannot sit still during one of his songs. It's embarrassing. I awkwardly bound around the room with complete abandon. Good thing there's usually no one around to witness the horror of my Elaine Benis dance movements. The humiliation is worth it, because there is nothing like a big ole dose of happy feet to make you forget your sorrows.
a sea of white folk bouncing to the beat

Anywho, the theater is smaller holding probably around 250 people, but the stage is large enough to accommodate all the band members and their equipment while still leaving ample space for Michael to jump and dance around. Which he did... for two hours, only slowing down midway for a slower three song set.

Right out of the gate, as soon as Franti stepped on stage, the energy hit the roof propelling the audience to it's feet. He was non-stop pogo jumping, tribal dancing and belting out the good Ju Ju, effortlessly wrapping the crowd around his finger. He has incredible energy for a 40+ humanoid. He hardly broke a sweat and wasn't the least bit winded. Amazing. Must be all the yoga he practices.

The evening was spectacular, uplifting, energizing. The masses clapped and danced along with every offering from the stage. We were putty in his gentle hands.

One cat in the balcony was so into it, he just had to remove his shirt,, I mean treating us all to his pasty-white, beer belly in full glory.

Seriously. Why.

I ask you, why is it only white guys with big guts, farmers' tans and pants barely hanging on under there mid section are the ones who go shirtless? Why don't any of the gorgeous six-pack ab, tanned Adonises ever go au naturale? So not fair!

But I digress...

At one point he picked some people to join him on stage during "Shake It" to .. um, shake it with him.

a full-on dance par-tay

Shake it! Sh-sh-sh shake it!

He fearlessly cruised through the crowd during his bouncy "Hey Hey Hey"

fearlessly up close and personal 

ending up on our balcony to sing Happy Birthday to the girl in the hat before motoring on, successfully avoiding contact with the aforementioned pasty-white, sweaty, shirtless dude.

Is that a groovy gee-tar, or what?
Happy Birthday to her

Finally, he called everyone under 16 and over 60 to the stage for the big finale of his huge hit "Say Hey, (I Love You)".

"And I know one thing. I love you. Baby girl."

I didn't take any videos this night because of the whole Charlie Brown teacher sound factor, but here's a video of the finale from this summer's Bonnaroo Music Festival.

Besides being a purveyor of peace, love and positive vibes, Franti is a humanitarian. Ten years ago he performed in a third world country where most of the people living there never owned a pair of shoes. As a sign of solidarity he decided to go barefoot for three solid days. Ten years later he still doesn't wear shoes. To mark his anniversary, he created the Soles4Souls charity to collect money as well as actual shoes to send to those children around the globe who have none. He spoke with a family from Pittsburgh who are doing their part.

Just a little thing he does to give back. There's a lot of good karma floating around him. We could all take a lesson. We're all in this thing called life together. Like Michael says, "I know I know I know I'm not alone..." You can find out more on his website here.

If you're in need of a serious lift in your spirits, go buy his CDs here.  And be prepared to be moved, with or without your shoes.

1 comment:

Soles4Souls Inc. said...

Thank you so much for promoting our cause & partnership with Michael. We've had an icredible time being with him on the Barefoot Concert Series! Glad you had a great time at the show! We did too.