Oakland native Michael Franti visited Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Friday, bringing a 13-year touring tradition of his to the Seaport: pre-show yoga. Following the disaster on September 11, 2001, Franti adopted yoga as a means of controlling his anxiety on the road, studying at studios around the country.
Bringing his new hobby on tour, Franti began to invite members of his crew to small yoga sessions during sound checks. However, the gatherings quickly grew—yoga became paramount to the 47-year-old songwriter’s concert tradition. Recently, at a concert in Red Rocks, Colorado, around 1200 yogis showed up to join the pre-concert ritual, much to the surprise of organizers. To better accommodate the demand for yoga with Franti, these sessions have become an official piece of his current Soulshine Tour.
Instructors Honza and Claudine LaFond of YogaBeyond led Friday afternoon’s gathering, with Franti intermittently performing stripped down versions of some of his more famous songs, among them being “Say Hey (I Love You),” “11:59,” and “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like).” After the mats were all rolled up, the Pavilion began to pack. The concert later that evening included featured acts SOJA, Sona Rele, Brett Dennen, and Trevor Hall—with Michael Franti & Spearhead closing the show with an 80-minute set.