Friday night produced a concert with Michael Franti and the Spearheads at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville. I have loved the sounds that this band produces (see previous post) and was hoping to go and see this show.
Turns out, I got to see the show and sat happily in the balcony at the Bijou (one of my fave concert spots in Knoxville). Kicking my shoes off, I awaited the arrival of the band, as the opening act cleared the stage.
At about 9:15, in dances Franti, barefooted, smiling and jumping with his guitar (kindred spirit, can we guess?) and I am immediately moved to my feet. As Franti and his band barrel through several songs unknown to me, I move and dance easily.
There is an aura that Franti emanates of happiness, love and freedom. When he said “jump,” we all jumped. When he said “put your hands in the air,” we followed suit. Everyone was in amazing spirits throughout the show.
Highlights to the show included Franti inviting approximately 20 people on stage to dance, all which were female but one, a young boy who won the audience’s heart by singing all the lyrics with Franti, a release of gigantic yellow balloons and Franti playing in every aisle and the balcony (where we were seated).
It truly was one of the best shows I’ve seen. It was awesome to see a performer of national recognition be so humble, happy and amongst “us.”
To drive this point home, after the show, I didn’t want to intervene on the revelers wanting signed copies of this and that, so we left and went to Nama for sushi. Not 10 minutes later, Franti and his band walk into the SAME SPOT!
We complimented Franti on the great concert we just witnessed, and he walks up, shakes my hand, hugs me and says, “What’s your name, I’m Michael.” To which a bit of giggling occurred, as we definitely KNEW who he was. We introduced ourselves to him, and hugs went around as well as discussion of the good sushi restaurant we were all experiencing.
I am amazed at the grace and humility with which this performer met everyone around him. I am honored to have met this performer and I wish him and his band the best of luck in whatever endeavors they encounter next. If you could witness any performer in the next few, I would highly recommend this performer.