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A torrential rainstorm failed to dampen the spirits of Ziggy Marley fans at Wolftrap on Sept. 1, as the reggae legend performed a nearly two-hour show that kept even those on the drenched lawn dancing on their feet.
Performing old favorites and songs from his new album, “Rebellion Rises,” Marley, an eight-time Grammy Award winner, showed off the charisma and musicianship that has earned him the title of one of the leading voices in reggae music. Whether dancing or singing or changing from electric to acoustic guitar, Marley, accompanied by his dynamic nine-member band, performed a string of songs punctuated by the genre’s sizzling blend of rock, soul and calypso music.
A diverse, sold out audience showed its appreciation by delightfully singing along with each song, many of which were driven by lyrics urging one to raise their consciousness and promoting social protest.
As attendees playfully sent colorful beach balls floating through the air, Marley proved that like his legendary late father, Bob Marley, one of the most recognized and iconic names in the music world, he has a message to deliver: love and unity is the answer to the troubles in today’s chaotic world.
Marley’s setlist included “Rebellion Rises, “Change Your World” and “Beach in Hawaii,” the last being an easy going ode to a lover who he is missing and pining for. The artist’s cover of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Coming In From the Cold” was a huge crowd pleaser, as was “World Revolution” and the cover of The Wailer’s “Justice/War/Get Up, Stand Up” medley.
Marley’s talented band members added to the pulsating, soulful beats, employing a heavy, four-beat rhythm, driven by drums, bass and the electric guitar. A phenomenal brass section was allowed to show off its skills, garnering thunderous and well-deserved applause.
The lyrics of “Circle of Peace” promoted peace and justice while “Love is My Religion” and “All You Need is Love” had people swaying and dancing in the aisles.
Opening the evening was the California-based reggae group Steel Pulse, whose “Chant a Psalm” and “Drug Squad” were infectious with their hip-swaying, thumping grooves. “Babylon Makes the Rules” and “Don’t Shoot” had the crowd on its feet, with the latter being a play on today’s numerous gun shootings.
The group, Tribal Seeds, also performed, giving reggae fans a triple helping of Jamaican culture. By the concert’s end, the rain had stopped, showing a packed crowd still dancing wildly on the soaked Wolftrap grounds, oblivious to the elements.