Michael Franti brings ‘Stay Human’ tour back to Aspen
IF YOU GO …
Who: Michael Franti and Spearhead
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Tuesday, June 4, 8 p.m.
How much: $95-$185
Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com
Belly Up’s summer concert season kicks into gear on Tuesday with the return of Michael Franti, one of Aspen’s most beloved pop musicians and most frequent visitors.
The genre-bending singer, songwriter, activist and master of uplift makes seasonal appearances in Aspen, this time bringing his ongoing “Stay Human” tour to Belly Up for a Tuesday night show. The tour coincides with the recent release of his new album “Stay Human, Vol. II,” and Franti’s documentary film, “Stay Human,” which is about people he’s been inspired by around the world who are battling our age of cynicism with hope.
“I’ve been a lot of places in the world, and it’s one of the most beautiful places,” Franti said of Aspen during a recent visit. “I feel like no matter who you are, no matter what your political situation is, people cannot help but be moved by the natural beauty. That makes Colorado a unique place. And Coloradans have a spirit of having the land they’re stewarding be there for generations. I think that changes people.”
Franti’s shows here often take on an otherworldly dimension. In August, when he headlined the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, his sunny onstage optimism seemed to will away gathering storm clouds and manifested in a resplendent double rainbow over the festival crowd. In 2017, when he performed to an international crowd during the World Cup Finals in Wagner Park, he covered John Lennon’s “Imagine” while fireworks burst over Aspen Mountain behind him in an instantly iconic Aspen moment that seemed to bring a divided world together for a few brief moments.
The Bay Area native always puts on a memorable show. He’ll always make his way into the crowd for a chunk of his performance. He may hug you while he’s there.
Visiting Aspen regularly, he’s given his time to local nonprofits like the Buddy Program and the Aspen Yoga Society. He launched his own — the wish-granting charity Do It For the Love, which creates live music experiences for the ill — with a fundraiser here at Belly Up owner Michael Goldberg’s house in 2013.
And Colorado’s notoriously committed music lovers have a special place in his heart.
“Nowhere else in the world do people say, ‘Hey, let’s hop in the car and go to a concert,’ and that’s a four-hour ride,” he said. “It’s the best music fans in the world.”