It’s not often we start a review with the word “wow”, but that’s the best word to describe the show Michael Franti & Spearhead put on at New York’s Playstation Theater on Saturday night. Aside from the backing band, known as Spearhead, being comprised of very talented musicians, Michael Franti himself is a performer like no other, taking his acoustic guitar into the crowd a few times during the course of a show that had everything – balloons, Franti performing on a podium-type thing in the middle of the second level of the venue, his wife and a few others coming out to help on a different songs and kids being pulled out of the crowd to join him on stage.
That alone would be enough to make anyone enjoy the whole thing, but add to that the fact that his photo policy is incredible – photographers got the entire set to shoot from anywhere including the pit – and you have something so unique that it will probably never happen again with any other artist. I worked overtime on this one and was only one of two photographers not including the tour’s guy, and after a while, it was just me chilling in the pit and chasing Michael Franti around the venue to get shots of him in the crowd.
But I digress a little, and it’s at this point where I wish I had the full setlist, so I’ll tell you the numbers I know were definitely played on this one: Hey Hey Hey, I Got Love for You, Hello Bonjour, Summertime Is In Our Hands, Life Is Better With You, 11:59 and, of course, Say Hey. There were obviously many more tunes included on Franti’s setlist, and his wife even came out to sing on one of the group’s songs, which only added to the fun of the entire experience.
What’s left to say at this point? The entire show was an absolute blast from start to finish – balloons, guest singers, guest dancers, kids on stage, watching the entire show from the best seat in the house – I couldn’t ask for more from a concert. I’ve been to more shows than I care to count over the last two years, and I’m certainly not complaining, but holy shit. Michael Franti & Spearhead took what I thought a concert was and turned it up to 11. Of all the great shows I’ve seen, including some legends and many of my favorite bands, this one is going to stick with me for a long time and raise the bar for every other show I attend.
Check out our photo gallery below: