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Keep me lifted

My neighbor dragged me to the Michael Franti show at Marymoor Park yesterday. I didn't really want to go, but she bought me a ticket, so what could I do? Well, it turns out that I could have great time.

Show started at 6pm, but there was a long line up of opening bands that we'd never heard of, not to mention the fact that it had been a long week and a glass of wine sounded good. Since we were going through Woodinville anyway, we figured we might just spot a winery. With thoughts also turning to grappa, we stopped to check out the Grapeworks Distillery. When we found that it was closed, we tried the Martedi Winery next door. Little hole-in-the-wall place with a supremely charismatic owner who gave us tastes of six different wines and a line of chat about wine, grappa, and Italian coffee that never ended. He was a total hoot. After a year of getting their place set up, they're having their grand opening today. If you're out Woodinville way, check them out. Really nice wine, to my inexpert palate.

E. wanted to get right up front for the Franti/Spearhead show. I was still feeling dubious about the whole thing, but what the hell. Franti started working the crowd, and I thought, "Isn't he getting bored with this shtick?" Then the crowd started hopping and waving their hands in the air, and the riddim just kept rolling and rolling, and there were smiles and nodding heads all around, and before I knew it I was feeling pretty damned happy myself. Amazing how he always manages to lift my mood, no matter how burnt out and over it I'm feeling. At some point he brought out his 15-year-old son, who has a kidney condition that reduces function by half, and he sang him a love song that was so sweet and heartfelt that he had the whole crowd in a puddle.

He also came out into the crowd during one song giving out high fives and hand clasps, and he came right between me and E. and gave us each a hand. Though the last album of his I have is dated 2008, I recognized most of the songs. He mentioned that the bassist has been with him for 20 years, and I think he's the only original band member of Spearhead left in the band. The guitarist looked about 15 himself. Franti brought out a couple young performers to join in on different songs, clearly delighted in playing the mentor to new talent. For the final two songs he invited all the kids in the audience to come up on stage, and there were a damn lot of kids. It was a family affair, and they sang a few stanza's from Sly Stone's "Every Day People" in the middle of one of their own songs. Franti mentioned that their first show was at a bowling alley in Seattle, and eight people came

I didn't dance my head off as I would have ten years ago, but I still had a blas. Almost as soon as the music stopped, the rain started, and it was a fitting sign of refreshment.

2014-06-27 Michael Franti at Marymoor

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