Michael Franti and Spearhead at Edgefield

The concert grounds at Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon

In recent posts I talked about the fabulous McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon. We enjoy staying at hotels in this chain anyway, but in this case we were also looking forward to a concert. That night, we had tickets for Michael Franti and Spearhead. We have never seen them live and didn’t know what to expect.

Opening band was The New Respects. SO GOOD.
The New Respects had people up and dancing with their first song.

The concert was really wonderful for me. I loved the easy, grooving style of music, the positive messages, the love coming from the stage. Pedro was appreciative, even though his favourite music is more hardcore, heavy metal, thrasher stuff. One great thing was sitting on grass in the shade under the trees, and listening to music. That has to be the best way to experience a concert. Though I loved the music and the open air venue, the scene made me happiest.

Portland, Oregon is suffering a bad reputation right now across the country, as is Seattle. We are not violent, chaotic cities, as portrayed on Fox news. Even liberal news can’t resist the headlines about the nutjobs with guns, the racists throwing punches, the vandals that hit our streets. But I’ve lived here for 15 years and I know it’s the same city in its heart. Portlanders are a special breed of people and while the news articles hype up drama when they can find it, this is not reflective of the real Portland. I think maybe the reason the occasional craziness catches everyone’s attention is because it is unusual and surprising. And that means most of the time, Portland is a loving, tolerant place populated more with hippies and activists and artists than with the characters you see in the news.

At least, that is the hope I have held inside. Because, during a pandemic, we haven’t had a chance to be with each other and have our assumptions confirmed. All we have is the news, and it has shaken my convictions. Maybe I am in denial and willfully resisting seeing the new character of the city, but the concert helped reinforce my beliefs.

A wide variety of people live in Portland and they generally get along well together.
Random people hugging, just because they are in the mood to hug.

All around me were dykes, and tech nerds, and emos with black lipstick, and tough guys (see the body builder in the black muscle shirt to the left?), and rednecks in camo, and old ladies and kids squealing, and it was just beautiful and made me so happy. This concert venue can accommodate a crowd of 5,000 people. When Franti took to the stage, he poured love out over us the whole time. “Introduce yourself to the person next to you, and give them a hug and tell them you love them!” he asked of us. So we did.

Lady sitting next to me that I had just met.

The New Respects music was extremely fun and danceable, and so was Franti’s. We were up and bouncing around the whole time. It was a good workout.

The concert was family-friendly. Franti brought lots of kids up onto the stage, and invited them to sing.
He also walked out into the audience and hung out with his fans.
As you can see, the crowd was having a great time and dancing their hearts out.
Goodnight water tower.

After the concert, Pedro and I walked the short distance across the grass to our room. That is a treat, compared to the usual after-concert routine, of waiting in lines forever, trying to get out of the parking lot and onto bumper-to-bumper roads in order to get home. We were in the middle of a heat wave, but had a fan going in our room with the windows open the whole time we were at the concert, so it was beginning to cool down by the time we were ready to sleep.

7 thoughts on “Michael Franti and Spearhead at Edgefield

  1. That did look like so much fun. Perfect way to experience a concert. You are right about your description of Portland. I think the media is so desperate that they take everything and make it worse than it is. Portland, like everywhere is having growing pains. The pandemic helped intensify it all. I still love it there and wish I was still there. I’m so glad you two had a wonderful time.

    1. It’s nice to hear your validation, Marlene. I mean, yes, there were terrible riots instigated by out-of-town hate groups, and yes, there are still incidents by extremists. It’s not purely peaceful. There’s a current news headline about how drastically homicides by guns have risen in the past two years. But I don’t think that makes Portland a war zone to be feared. I think that is, as you said, a reflection that the pandemic is having difficult repercussions and Portland is going through what a lot of places are going through. It’s hard, and ugly, and needs to change. But I still love the city.

    1. Thank you, Derrick. This occurred to me because of my visit to Seattle and talking with my brother and his girlfriend about how they find themselves defending Seattle when they visit relatives out of state. The relatives ask if they are able to stay safe in such a violent city, and that question leaves them baffled. I feel the same way when people ask me how I stay safe in Portland.

  2. I understand that the media has a responsibility to report what is happening in the world, but sadly, it can only seem to report what is bad. And in doing so, make it worse, much worse. Even the responsible news sources become involved in this. The irresponsible sources, such as Fox, are horrid.Good for you, Crystal. A warm and welcome post. Keep dancing. –Curt

    1. Thanks for the love, Curt! Yes, it felt really good to be reminded of all the goodness in people. I am firmly convinced that people are good, and it’s only when we are afraid that we begin to act wicked. Sadly, the news is often the source of our fear. And our political leaders love to tap into that fear and stir it up to get themselves elected, which should be a crime.

      1. “And our political leaders love to tap into that fear and stir it up to get themselves elected, which should be a crime.” If I were a religious person, Crystal, my response to that would be would be ‘Amen!’

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