Michael Franti & Spearhead performed an electrifying double-bill at the Orange Peel on Thursday, Feb. 26. The early show/family matinee was packed corner-to-corner with fans of all ages. Infants, toddlers, children, parents and grandparents shouted and danced in the sweltering concert hall. Perched high on their parent’s shoulders, children threw kisses to the stage and waved their arms above their head with enthusiasm.
Franti & Spearhead performed an array of songs from All Rebel Rockers (2008), (including “I Got Love For You,” and “Say Hey I Love You”) as well as songs from their albums, Everyone Deserves Music (2003) and Yell Fire (2006). For the younger fans, Franti sang the Sesame Streets theme songs and a song about rainbows, encouraging everybody to sign along with him.
For the last two songs of the early show (Say Hey I Love You and The Obama Song), Cherine Anderson, a Jamaican musician featured on the band’s latest album All Rebel Rockers, and Franti invited more than a dozen children to join them on stage. The band passed out toy guitars, tambourines and other instruments, requesting only that each participant dance and sing as loud as possible. The kids loved it and many had memorized the words to his songs. One young girl sang directly into the mic, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
For the evening show, which began at 9 p.m. and ended a little past midnight, Michael Franti & Spearhead delivered a powerful line-up of songs, ranging from acoustic solos to all out reggae-rock and funk jam sessions. The band works extremely well together and have the expertise to create seamless improvisation.
Reggae artists Anderson and Courtney John opened the concert and joined Franti & Spearhead for select songs throughout the performance, adding a collaborative and vocally rich texture to the show. Anderson, who performed a dazzling opening, engaged the audience with her sultry charisma and soaring voice. At one point she even invited a photographer on the stage with her. “You want some good shots?” she asked playfully. “Well, then climb on over, just climb over!”
From contemplative songs like Hey World What You Say (which moved many in the audience to tears) to reggae songs like The Rude Boys Back In Town, Franti’s vocals were elegant and strong. He is an utterly commanding performer committed to spreading a message of love, unity and peace for all men, women and children of this earth.
Check out our photo gallery of both shows here.