Marley 70 concert pulls massive crowd
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
The Digicel-powered Redemption Live Concert, staged on the Kingston Waterfront on Saturday, pulled thousands of patrons and Marley fans, as they were treated to an excellent show.
However, according to actor-songwriter, author-activist and poet Patrick 'Curly Lox' Gaynor of the duo Twin of Twins, who attended the event to pay homage to the legendary Robert Nesta Marley, recording artistes should not only celebrate Marley's accomplishments, but truly carry on his mission.
He believes some contemporary reggae acts have somewhat neglected the concept of a buffalo solider, as outlined by Bob Marley in the song of the same title. Speaking to The Gleaner at the event, Curly Lox said, "I don't think most of the current crop of Rastafarians in music can continue a mission that they haven't embraced. For the most part, they have lost or never received the spiritual convictions or foundation on which the movement was built. This, he says, was mostly due to where their allegiance now lies - the commercialisation of the Rasta culture. They have bowed to the same system that fought against Bob Marley and the message of black consciousness and upliftment for the downtrodden that he stood for ... I would advise them to wake up," Gaynor told The Gleaner side-stage.
strong showing by Griffiths and Mowatt
In the meantime, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt of the I-Threes, who provided backing harmony for Bob Marley, gave a strong showing at the show, delivering classics, among them, Trench Town Rock.
Hosted by telecommunications giant Digicel, who has been on board with the Bob Marley Foundation for over four years, the concert attracted patrons from vast geographic regions, among them Africa, Europe and Asia.
Tommy Cowan, in his role as MCee, gave the audience intermittent reminders about Bob Marley and the Wailers, paying special attention to their accomplishments.
Some of his stories of Bob were apparently new to the audience and appeared to hit the mark, as they roared in approval, especially in response to his tales of musical rebellions.
Cocoa Tea came next, showering praises on Bob. His set included Stand Up Straight, She Loves Me Now and Love Me Truly, which features Shabba Ranks.
Richie Spice later came chanting Marijuana Pon Di Corner and was rewarded with cheers of approval. "You know we have to balance it for the ladies," he said, before delving into the lyrics of hits like Brown Skin and Groovin My Girl.
Freddie McGregor took patrons down memory lane, digging deep into his catalogue to deliver some strong hits like Africa Here I Come and Push Come to Shove. He also dabbled in a bit of contemporary dancehall, by performing Chino's From Morning single. Ska was the first genre practiced by Bob Marley with the release of his single, Judge Not, at age 17. Freddie made sure the genre was not sidelined, as he performed ska songs like Carry Go Bring Come and If I had Wings.
I-Octane was the first to represent for the hardcore dancehall community, for the night, and he did so in fine style, seamlessly delivering hits from his growing catalogue. He was later joined by Vanessa Bling, formerly Gaza Slim, as they both performed their popular collaboration Cya Do It, which was well received.
Capleton warned That Day Will Come, and also paid homage to Bob Marley by performing Don't Worry. However, he was a hard act to follow where energy and crowd response was concerned, as he literally had patrons jumping and waving their hands for the entire duration of his set.
Tessanne Chin's set
Tessanne Chin cooled things down with her soothing delivery of singles like Anything's Possible, Redemption Song, among others.
Actor-reggae artiste Ky-mani Marley came next after a lengthy band change to perform hits from his father's catalogue. He also received positive responses for original singles like Rasta Love featuring Protoje and Get High. His brothers Julian and Damian followed later, giving a memorable display of talent.
Peter Lloyd, marketing director at Digicel, said, "Digicel is extremely humbled to have been able to celebrate Bob Marley's 70th birthday with this amazing concert on the Waterfront. Redemption Live paid tribute to the Reggae Legend in the most befitting way - with people from all over the world celebrating his life and music. We would like to thank our customers for coming out, and thank Red Stripe, JTB, Main Event, Phase 3, and all our other sponsors for their support."