It would be an understatement to say it was a special night for the exceptionally fortunate 10,000 or so people at the Santa Monica Pier for the biggest opening night of the outdoor concert series in its 25 years. The unique mix of pure joy and emotion emanating from those packed on the pier and the thousands of others camped out on the beach below was palpable. I’ve been attending the free Thursday night concerts over the years and have never experienced anything like it. The ban’s performance was beyond memorable; it was magical. You had folks of all ages dancing, singing, clapping and cheering with the music showing, once again, the power of music to connect people across boundaries. All on different, yet shared walks through life: enjoying in their own way together; an eclectic harmony of humanity.
In Step Before the Set
I arrived at the pier just as Bushman, a respected reggae band from Jamaica, began their set. I immediately walked back stage, where I joined Clarence Bekker and South African legend Vusi Mahlasela in an impromptu dance session. Within minutes, Grandpa Elliott had joined in with his graceful grooves to which Vusi responded with some swift, smooth moves of his own that brought his knees just inches from the ground. Other band mates and young fans jumped in; the musical moments had already begun and the band had yet to play a single note.
Paying Respect to Roger
Just before the band began their set, Mark welcomed old and new PFC fans alike and poignantly dedicated the concert to Roger Ridley, who used to perform just a few blocks away on the 3rd Street Promenade. As I stood with Whitney, PF’s Co-founder and Foundation Executive Director, and the rest of the crew, we all took a moment to appreciate how far this people-powered movement had come. It was the right moment to celebrate Roger’s legacy and the impact he continues to have on all us.
Singing in the Streets
After the show, nobody wanted to leave and security eventually asked us to clear out. As we exited, I spoke briefly with Jackson Browne, a long-time mentor and supporter of PFC and even filmed Norman and Grandpa catching up before they booted us. Afterwards, we stopped by the Afro Funke party at Zanzibar and talked about the band’s recent trip to Glastonbury. Our evening ended with Clarence and I singing “When Doves Cry” A Cappella as we walked the band back to their hotel.
Sharing is Caring
Fortunately, if you weren’t able to attend, the concert’s audio was recorded, and Kevin filmed a few songs in HD that you’ll get to experience yourself. Keep sharing episodes and telling everyone you know to “Join the Movement”. Due to your inspired participation, we are truly bringing peace to the world through music.
Thank you for emailing your written reaction or video response to the band’s performance on The Tonight Show. We’re going to do some flip cam filming backstage and will reciprocate with footage of the band’s feelings after the show.
Upload your video, photos to YouTube, Flickr, or wherever and email the links (not the actual media files) to [email protected]
Excited to hear from you and share your feelings with the community!
If you didn’t see the performance yet, click Tonight Show . (the video for this performance has since been removed, so this is another recording of it)
Keep checking the blog for stories and experiences from a variety of voices, especially the musicians …stay tuned. Here are some of Jeremy’s photos from the show just posted on the PFC Flickr page.
it’s on to New Orleans…