What does Tahoe do on a Wednesday night?
It gathers in the Crown Room at Crystal Bay Casino to sing and dance to a high-energy performance from Michael Franti, J Bowman, Carl Young and Ethan Tucker.
The Nov. 12 sold-out One Heart One Soul Acoustic show raised everyone to a new level of consciousness and connection.
Tucker, who made his way on tour with Franti after years of persistence, shined brilliantly with his lyrics and amazing vocals. He performed the first hour solo and ended with his well-known song “Roxanne.”
Later in the show he took stage again with Franti and jammed with the group and delighted the audience with the song “Let It Go.” This song is a collaboration of Franti and Hawke’s talent and has been recorded and will land on Ethan’s album next year.
There were many people in the audience who joined the Franti experience for the first time. Jenny Whitney, from Tahoe City said, “I have known his music and have been a fan from afar. Franti has a big heart and he is here in our neighborhood at this great venue, and the acoustic show appealed to me. I think it is going to be really fun.”
Another first timer was Kyle Miller, production assistant for Devil Dog Productions. We caught up with him after the show and he raved, “This was really good. We thought it was going to be too rowdy for him to be acoustic, but he demanded the audience attention and it worked out perfectly. Everyone was super attentive. I thought he was amazing, it is one of the biggest artists we have had in the Crown Room and his show sold out in three weeks, faster than any other show.”
The Crown Room is a beautiful room that accommodates more than 600 people. It has an open high A frame wood planked ceiling and spacious dance floor accented with an open bar at the back of the room. It makes for a very intimate party space and great venue for acoustic sounds.
After a DJ high energy warm up, Michael Franti, J Bowman, and Carl Young took stage and performed a couple songs to get the crowd moving.
Franti joked, “You all have been here for a couple hours already, but I have been outside and what you may not know is that it is dumping snow out there right now.” Everyone laughed, and he continued, “There is actually 3 feet of snow, but I’m happy to be back here it’s been a long time.” The crowd exploded with applause.
Once they settled down Franti introduced his next song.
“This was a song I wrote when I was on tour and my appendix ruptured. Every day I was in the hospital I would go to the window to see if the sun was shining, and if it was I would be like, Yeah! It’s gonna be a great day. I would soak up the Vitamin D from the sun. If the sun was not shining I would be like, I need to reach for the Vitamin M.” The audience laughed and he continued, “It’s not what you are thinking, it is music. I got a guitar when I was in the hospital and I started writing and this is the song that came out.” He began playing “Here I Am.”
Franti thanked the crowd for being part of the One Heart One Soul Tour and contributing words and messages to the wall. The wall of messages has become the backdrop for this tour and he read out loud some the messages written on the cloth squares.
“Some of these say, love on another, find a cure for cancer, peace, and one person wrote, ‘San Francisco Giants Rock!’ Everyone cheered. Those who follow Franti, know he lives in San Francisco and is a Giants fan.
He went on to say, “You may have noticed a tall curly hair guy out there helping with the wall? That is my son Cappy. He is out on the road with us. I wrote a song for Cappy when he graduated from high chool. I was filled with emotion of, thank you, Jesus! Then I got really sad when decided to leave home and was going to be traveling to NYC on a Greyhound bus. I headed to the studio to write this song for his trip.”
He began to play “Love for You.”
This feel good song started slow and the crowd was swaying and then it exploded and there was jumping up and down, clapping and J Bowman rocking out with his guitar on stage. It was such a high-energy interactive song and when it was over, Franti quietly said, “I love you son”.
Tahoe Onstage asked Cappy what this tour means for him and he enthusiastically replied, “It’s pure love, One Heart One Soul is bringing everyone together, doesn’t matter who you are, what race you are, how much money you have, doesn’t matter any of the external factors. We are all one, all one soul and heart and we all want the same thing, to be happy, and sharing the love and vibration through this tour.”
Do It For The Love Foundation also play an important heartfelt part of this tour. Founded by Franti and partner Sara Agah, this foundation provides music concerts and meeting of artists for families that are going through challenging times. Franti announced, “Last August me and my better half, Sara, started this foundation; it’s like a make a wish foundation for music. We invite people to write to us and we will give your family member their wish of attending a concert and if you want to get involved we would love to have you.”
Franti sadly announced that the second recipient of these wishes was a man named Bill who lived in Bend, Ore., and had just passed the previous day. He shared a touching story of Bill and his daughter rocking out to music as his daughter learned to drive and dedicated the next song to Bill and his family.
“I want to sing this song for Bill in appreciation of life and to share with one another.”
He came to the front of the stage and away from the microphone and began playing his guitar and singing softly. It took a couple minutes for the crowd to quiet down, but eventually they did. Franti returned to the microphone and continued the song “Life is Better with You.”
Sara Agah said, “This tour is really special for me because I have seen it so many times, but this intimate experience brings the music to a different level and it is fun to see them together and connect together on this stage.”
Before the song 1”1.59,” Franti admitted he gets frustrated at times with the world, but then he sees ordinary people doing extraordinary things and that brings him an appreciation for the good works of people.
“I may not see the all the good works in my lifetime, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “That is why we should spend every day appreciating those that are close to us and I want to say thank you to everyone. Love you guys!”
Another touching song that isn’t on a record and was shared by Franti had lyrics that included, love will find a way, and it was a crowd pleaser; everyone sang along, danced and put their hands together.
This unique tour also highlights new talent and allows them to take stage with Franti and the band. People send in videos of their talent and if chosen, they perform on stage in their city. This Tahoe night in the Crown Room, a young girl named Kendall took stage and sang “Say Hey (I Love You).”
One of Franti’s signature shout outs during his performance is “Are you ready?”
And, yes, Tahoe was ready. Song after song the crowd became present, alive, and interactive with Franti and the music. During the show, Franti said to a man in the audience, ”You know the words? Get up here”.
The man came up and began singing and was in his own world. Franti was enjoying this random performance and when the song was over Franti said, “I have no idea what he said, but it was all fuckin’ awesome! “
The song “Ganja Babe” began with Franti trying to whistle and asking for help from Young who played solo on his flute, a great performance that was enjoyed by all.
Franti energized the crowd with another song, “Never Too Late.” This got everyone jumping up and down; the music and lyrics touched the heart and soul of this lively audience and once they settled down again, Franti said,
”So this is what you do on Wednesday nights, hang out at Crystal Bay, we may have to do this every Wednesday night”
Everyone agreed and yelled, yes, do it!
“Maybe we will, thank you for being here” Franti replied.
He asked the crowd, “How you feeling? Put your hands together y’all” and began playing another new song that has not been recorded or on an album and goes something like this,
“Everybody gotta love somebody at least once a day, everybody gotta kiss somebody everyday and we will all rise up.”
Cappy came up on stage during this song. He was rocking out with everyone and hugging Franti and everyone he could touch. The love in Franti’s heart and eyes for his son could be seen and felt, a very touching performance.
You could clearly see that Franti was at home in Tahoe. He wanted to see the faces of those that came out on that Wednesday night.
“Turn up the lights” he yelled a couple times, “I want to see everyone!”
He got the fans pumped up and involved at this concert. After two hours of heart and soul music, Franti, stepped off the stage and planted his genuine leathery bare feet on the dance floor and sang and rocked out in the middle of the crowd for nearly 15 minutes, and invited people to come to stage to dance. Once back on stage he spent another 15 minutes dancing with those that made their way to stage. He hugged, connected, took photos, signed T-shirts and looked so happy and peaceful.
The pure energy of this tour and everyone involved exudes love and is so unmatched in the music world. This is how Michael Franti, his friends and family rock ’n’ roll. He truly touches and transforms our hearts and souls.
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