Jack Johnson and friends at the Santa Barbara Bowl

The evening began with a set from fellow Gaucho alums ALO, followed by a mellow keys-and-lap-guitar show from Ben Harper with his sweet, gentle voice, who rightfully declared later, “Action is always better than inaction.”

Jack Johnson then introduced local Montecito resident Abe Powell, who led the Bucket Brigade and gave a poignant speech about the Thomas Fire and ensuing flood, remarking that many lost homes, but that others “lost their people.” Then, Johnson started with “Times Like These,” imbued with deeper meaning this time, as were songs like “Good People” and “Better Together.” The sing-alongs on hits like “Bubble Toes” and “Girl I Wanna Lay You Down” were fiercer than ever. Many tears were shed.

There was lot of love for first responders, the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, and everyone else who has helped throughout the Thomas Fire and March 9 debris flow. All of the tickets sold added to the hundreds of thousands raised. The people of Santa Barbara and Montecito came together and bonded like never before.

Text and Photos by Thomas Long