Michael Franti and Spearhead | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | 5/31/24

Article Contributed by Backstage Flash | Published on Saturday, June 1, 2024

Michael Franti and Spearhead were back at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre last night, delivering a wonderful evening of musical messages enveloped in a hip-shaking rock and roll show! Franti’s globally conscious lyrics and respect for our planet and one another were as present as the giant monoliths that cradle the audience beneath them. His voice speaks of life's truths, and no matter how joyous or hard they can be to hear sometimes, they must be heard. His uplifting spirit, combined with his rock and roll attitude and stage presence, always leaves the audience fulfilled with love in their hearts and soul in the soles of their shoes.

Michael Franti & Spearhead | Morrison, CO

“Big Big Love” is the latest offering from Michael Franti & Spearhead, released in November of 2023. The title alone gives the listener a big big vibe before a single word is heard. Other tracks, including “Hands Up To The Sky,” “Lost But Not Alone,” and many others, are introspective accounts of everyday life's highs and lows. The album, like so many of Franti’s previous recordings, is filled with mind-melting observations of hope and love for all mankind. When someone so caring and responsible for uplifting so many minds and bodies comes to party, look out!

Yoga on the Rocks | Red Rocks Amphitheatre

When Michael Franti & Spearhead show up at Red Rocks, they make a day of it. A large group of people with yoga mats tucked under their arms made their way into the hallowed venue. They were greeted by abundant sunshine, cool vibes, and Michael Franti. The smiles on the faces of the participants were wildly infectious and full of joy. Franti was joined by his son, some of his bandmates, and a yoga instructor. They led the group in an acoustic music-backed yoga session that lasted about forty-five minutes. Michael spoke with the crowd, uplifting their spirits and opening their hearts with love and laughter. It was a yoga dance party, and I must say it was the coolest yoga session I have ever seen.

VIP - Togetherness Pre-Party group photo, With Carl Young, Michael Franti & Raga Wiguna

Next up on the fun-filled afternoon was the VIP Togetherness Pre-Party, once again hosted by Franti on guitar and vocals, Carl Young on bass and vocals, and the newest member of Spearhead, Raga Wiguna, on guitar. Wiguna, from Bali, has been in the band for about a week. He had never been to Red Rocks or the United States before this trip. We spoke for a few minutes backstage, and he told me he was so happy to be at Red Rocks and to be a member of Spearhead. What a nice man and great guitar player. Franti, Young, and Wiguna performed a thirty-minute intimate set for the VIP guests. Franti, Young, and Wiguna posed for a large group shot with the VIP guests at the end of the set.

Michael Franti | Morrison, Colorado

As a fan of live music as well as a professional music photographer, I get to see and hear a lot of music. I feel like I need to take a minute to describe to you what Michael Franti’s musical messages do for myself and many others. I have never witnessed an artist who uplifts a crowd of people so high that it brings them to tears of joy. His spirit is as big as his stature; he shares positivity with creativity, and he inspires with kindness while he rocks your soul to its core with his infectious grooves and lyrical wisdom. It’s just wild to me that he moves people in a way that makes you want to be a better person, to be more compassionate and caring. That’s something really special for someone to offer to so many people.

Michael Franti in the Red Rocks audience

When Michael Franti and Spearhead appeared on the Red Rocks stage, the place literally exploded with energy. The audience was soon swept to dizzying heights with no chance of keeping themselves grounded. Not even a third of the way through the first song, Franti ran from the stage and continued running up the steep staircase, and I was right on his heels with my camera. His destination was a raised platform in the audience that had lights on it to illuminate him to the crowd. He sang and danced with fans for a minute or two, then made his way across the venue, stopping to sing with fans of all ages along the way. His next destination was the same structure on the opposite side of the venue, where he proceeded to sing with fans before returning to the stage.

Michael Franti and fan | Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Franti's voice sounded crystal clear and strong, and his attitude and energy brought the crowd way up high. His bandmates also lit the place ablaze. Carl Young, hammering the thick bass notes, was all Manas Itene needed to hear to pound out the solid drumming he is so revered for. What a rhythm section this band has! Raga Wiguna and Greg Hvnsen shared the guitar duties, complementing each other perfectly. Then there is Mike Blankenship on keyboards, laying down cascading rhythms that gave the band's sound a really cool fullness. The band played songs from many eras of Spearhead's career, including new material from the aforementioned “Big Big Love” album. Weaving melodic melodies with dance hall beats and reggae rhythms, the band took the crowd on a wild ride of rock 'n' roll adventure.

Raga Wiguna & Michael Franti | Morrison, Colorado

The Michael Franti & Spearhead Togetherness Tour is happening now! If you like funk, reggae, dancehall, love, hip-hop, ska, punk, and whatever else Franti might land in your lap, go see this tour. The band is simply on fire, and you will be mesmerized by the musicianship and fun they have put together for the world to enjoy!

Michael Franti & Spearhead | Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Thanks, Michael Franti & Spearhead, for always shining a light on Colorado. Thanks to Red Rocks for hosting the concert. Thanks to the fans, and special thanks to 'On Location' for all you do behind the scenes organizing the VIP experience.

Raga Wiguna, Michael Franti, Mike Blankenship, guest singer - Al, Manas Itene, Greg Hvnsen, Carl Young