Ziggy Marley (Courtesy photo)
The re-opening of entertainment venues has, without a doubt, been one of the highlights of the summer. From Dodger games, to stand-up comedy, to countless iconic music venues, Angelenos have had more than enough options to fill an entire summer.
Arguably one of the most iconic music venues welcomed back one of the summer’s biggest hits, as Reggae Night 2021 kicked off the August portion of Hollywood Bowl season in unmatched style. Ziggy Marley headlined Reggae Night XIX on Sunday, August 1, 2021 in front of a sold-out crowd, with The Wailing Souls and numerous other talented artists playing before the son of the legendary Bob Marley.
The Wailing Souls played all of their hits, such as “Jah Give Us Life,” “Act of Affection,” “Fire House Rock,” “Oh What A Feeling,” and many more. They also played a wonderful cover of Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion,” much to the audience’s delight. Although The Wailing Souls have gone through a number of lineup changes since their inception in the 1960s, two of their original members, Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald, still play with the group and look and sound as good as ever. One of the highlights of their set was certainly a lovely medley they played to honor reggae stars who have passed on. The medley included covers of U-Roy’s “Wear You to the Ball,” “I’ve Got to Go Back Home” by Bob Andy, “Hold Me Tight” by Johnny Nash, “5446” by Toots Hibbert, and Bunny Wailer’s “Cool Running.”
Ziggy Marley then hit the stage donning a black t-shirt and jeans and immediately picked up where The Wailing Souls left off in terms of on-stage energy. After starting his set with his most recent hit single “Lift Our Spirits, Raise Our Voices,” (a very timely song which draws inspiration from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests) Marley hit the ecstatic crowd with some of his biggest hits, such as “True to Myself,” “Beach in Hawaii,” “Love Is My Religion,” among other hits. But perhaps the biggest roar from the crowd of the evening was when he played a cover of his father’s timeless iconic classic “Is This Love” as well as his 1967 hit “Stir It Up,” which came out one year before Ziggy Marley was born. He also played his father’s “Burnin’ and Lootin’” on the electric guitar following the acoustic part of his set.
He continued the night by singing “Circle of Peace” alongside Natasha Pearce and Tracy Hazzard, which really raised the energy level. Overall, there was a great balance of acoustic and electric sounds, a little rapping, with sprinkles of the immortal Bob Marley throughout.
Although not the most famous person in the Marley family, one of the many things the evening proved was that the younger Marley long ago moved out of his father’s shadow. The eight-time Grammy winner with hundreds of millions of streams on streaming platforms has become a headlining act in his own right.
Overall, the evening was a joyful and proper celebration of reggae that paid tribute to all of reggae history in a heartfelt way, with constant singing along from the fans and dancing.
Hollywood Bowl season continues until early November, with the LA Philharmonic playing some of their customary themed concerts one more than ten occasions. Some of the highlights of the calendar include Mariachi USA Festival, Carlos Vives, Hall and Oates, Van Morrison, Alanis Morisette, Andrea Bocelli, Jonas Brothers, Tame Impala and many more. Tickets can be purchased at the Hollywood Bowl box office or at www.hollywoodbowl.com, where they offer a variety of ticket packages and group ticket options.