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A family affair. 

I can remember the first time I heard Michael Franti & Spearhead. I was first introduced to them back in 2008.  I was working in the wireless phone industry at the time and had just been transferred to a struggling location that was much farther from my home and was sure to be a challenge.   It was my first day on the job and I was nervous, anxious, and dreading the challenge of a new store, new co workers that I would now be leading, and a new and challenging clientele base.  On my way to work I would always listen to the Eric and Kathy Morning Show on radio during my commute.  I was building up the nerve to walk in for my first shift listening to a song I’ve never heard played. It was "Say Hey (I Love You)" by a band I hadn’t heard before; Michael Franti and Spearhead.  The song was fun and catchy and instantly lifted my spirits.  It made my first day and many days after it much better as they played the song most days after around the same time. 

Fast forward a few years to The Rock Boat XV, a floating music festival at sea. Michael Franti & Spearhead was one of the acts booked for the cruise. Having heard "Say Hey" and a handful of other songs over the years I was excited that I would finally see him live.  He didn’t disappoint. He played a show on the cruise ships pool deck and I was instantly blown away by the band’s energy and connection to the crowd.  Michael injured his foot during the set and had to miss a scheduled meet and greet due to this.  Now some artists would have been OK with that, but Michael made it a point to set up a separate meet and greet in the ship’s merchandise store later on the cruise.  I could tell he was in pain during this, but he made it a point to meet every fan that came out and greeted every one of them with a smile and a giant hug.  This connection to his fans made me an instant fan for life. 

I’ve seen the band perform countless times since then and this connection to their fans has continued through every show.   On Thursday October 24, 2019 I was excited that I was approved to cover his show at the Concord Music Hall in Chicago IL. Camera in tow, I arrived at the venue ready to capture the story that is a Michael Franti & Spearhead snow.   Everyone that attended this sold out show enjoyed the concert and left feeling happy.   And I’m not even going to call this a concert.  Michael Franti’s shows are an experience.  Every song brings a positive message about peace, love, inclusion, family, belonging, and making a difference in the world. 

Michael Franti & Spearhead make their fans a part of the show and include them in the party.  On multiple occasions Michael ventured into the crowd and shared his microphone, his music, and his spirit with all.  He brought a young lady up to a small stage in the middle of the venue and had her join him on a song and ended it with a giant hug.  He followed this up by climbing (yes, actually climbing) up to the balcony of the venue to meet and dance with fans.   His wife Sara joined him on stage for the touching “Life is Better With You”.  You could feel the love they share as they sang to each other with giant smiles on their faces. Members from the audience joined the couple on stage for some fun dancing as well.  This positivity and love continued through the entire show topped off with a party performance of “When The Sun Begins to Shine”.  Multiple audience members joined the band on stage and danced, sang, and shared hugs. 

If Michael Franti & Spearhead come to your town, do yourself a favor and go to the show.  If you are a fan of music at all, you will enjoy yourself.  If you go alone, you will leave the show with new like minded friends.  If you are feeling down, you leave the show feeling happy, fulfilled, and with a better outlook on life. 

Be sure to catch Michael Franti & Spearhead on tour. If you would like to get involved in Michael’s community visit


Chris Moran

Photojournalist - Chicago

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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