The Crows and Augustana teamed up for two of the night’s most resonant covers, first with a ragged-yet-inspired version of the Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia” and then later with what Duritz called “just about the most beautiful song ever written,” Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman.”
Augustana showed promise on their original material — particularly with “Twenty Years” and their breakout hit, “Boston” — yet they didn’t make enough of an impression to earn new fans like they could have done before such a diverse audience.
Anyone who wasn’t familiar with Michael Franti & Spearhead before this night, however, no doubt knew and — based on the exuberant response he drew from the audience en masse — hit up iTunes for his reggae-drenched tunes shortly thereafter. Franti was on fire, kicking out the jams on “A Little Bit of Riddim” and “Say Hey (I Love You),” both tracks from his most recent album, All Rebel Rockers. As she is on the recordings, vocalist Cherine Anderson was present, complementing Franti’s infectious energy with a bundle of her own. Other highlights that Franti offered up included a throbbing, seemingly impromptu take on “Billie Jean” (with a thriller of a bass groove) and “I Got Love For You,” a slow-to-build rhythm with a message he’d written as a dedication to his adult son.
On a night underscored by camaraderie among artists and the common ground that music occupies for all of us, everyone — singers, musicians, and audience — ultimately joined together to sing “This Land Is Your Land,” bringing the show to a most-fitting conclusion.