The first serious and seriously good concert I attended was 33 years ago. Bob Marley and Wailers at Northrup Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
I used to cook in a greasy spoon open-all-night campus café with a guy who worked in a local record shop, named Ned. He had an amazing and eclectic record collection and will always be remembered as the guy who introduced me to such artists as Fela, The Flamin’ Groovies and The Bonzo Doo Dog Band. One late Saturday night when we were both covered in flour (our café’s speciality was pizza that in the immortal words of one reviewer tasted like ‘it had been scraped off the carpet’) Ned told me that Bob Marley was coming to town soon.
I had never heard the name. “What kind of music?” I asked.
“Reggae,” Ned said.
“Just come along.”
I did and wow, what a night. We sat right in front the light board from which clouds of ganja smoke drifted through our heads. Bob raced and jumped back and forth across the stage, his dreadlocks covering his face all the time. The I Threes swayed and cooed throughout and the band sizzled like a bbq in the desert. A new world opened before me. How, I wondered, have I not heard this groovy music before?
I recently listened to tonight’s selection, Babylon by Bus, which was issued around the same time as the concert I attended. It deserves all 5 stars awarded by so many critics. The sound is crisp, the band is tight and Marley simply bristles with energy. Exactly as I remember.
Some say this is the best live reggae record ever made. Who knows. But God, it is exciting! Give it a spin. It will get your blood flowing.
01 Positive Vibration
02 Punky Reggae Party
04 Stir It Up
05 Rat Race
06 Concrete Jungle
07 Kinky Reggae
08 Lively Up Yourself
09 Rebel Music
10 War/No More Trouble
11 Is This Love