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Modern Day History at The Apollo Theater for the One Love! Bob Marley Tribute – Photos & Story
Story and Photography by Empress K (Reggae Reflection)
Apollo Theater Marquis
While I was no where near NYC when Bob Marley made his historic debut at the Apollo Theater 35 years ago in October of 1979, I realized recently I was meant to be there for this special Bob Marley Tribute. Let me digress for a moment. It’s been somewhat of an emotional year for me. My mom passed away in July after a short illness and I arranged to have her graveside service a month later on August 27th in her home state of Maine. It was a beautiful small celebration of her life with people representing every aspect of her 85 years including grade school classmates, high school friends and residents in her hometown. Before returning home to the Boston area, I spent the afternoon in the Old Port section of Portland shopping with my cousin who I found out not too long ago actually attended a Bob Marley concert with 4th row center seats in Boston in 1980! As we browsed in some of the stores, a random sighting caught my eye. It was a replica of an old Bob Marley poster. I looked it over and since the photo of Bob was not that clear I hesitated and put it back. We proceeded to have lunch and shop a bit more. As my cousin and I were about to say our goodbyes, I felt compelled to go back to the store with her and buy the Bob Marley poster, fuzzy picture and all.
Fast forward a couple months. I’ve become aware of the Apollo Theater Bob Marley Tribute in NY and immediately decide I will be there for this classic Reggae show right after Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to go to the Apollo Theater and this is a perfect opportunity. Thanksgiving morning comes around which is exactly three months to the day of my mom’s service and I am posting online about the upcoming show. All of a sudden, a lightbulb goes off in my head. Where is that poster that I bought and what show was it? I locate the poster quickly and sure enough I find that it indeed is a replica poster of a Bob Marley Apollo Theater show in 1979. The month is off, but everything else about the poster is eerily reminiscent of the current flyer design minus the fuzzy photo! Apparently my universe knew I would be going to this show in NY before I did!
1979 Replica Bob Marley Apollo Theater Poster
2014 Bob Marley Tribute Apollo Theater Poster
Reggae Ambassadors – Third World takes the stage
Third World Band kicks of the evening
The show was nothing short of historic. Keeping with the schedule of the original Bob Marley debut, there were two shows on the same evening. The 8:00pm show which I attended sold out in advance and the 11:00pm sold out shortly thereafter. The Apollo Theater was everything I imagined it to be; a beautiful theater which has obviously been restored to its original glory.
The world renowned Reggae Ambasadors, Third World, kicked off the evening appropriately with their popular hit of the same name. Their charismatic singer A. J. Brown taking on the new lead vocals role did not miss a beat as Third World continued their set with other classic songs such as 96 Degrees in the Shade and Try Jah Love.
Cat Coore – Cello Solo ‘Redemption Song’
Cat Coore, Richard Daley, AJ Brown
Stephen “Cat” Coore performed a beautiful Cello solo rendition of Redemption Song and they had everyone on their feet dancing when they performed their hit Now That We’ve Found Love. Special guest Maxi Priest joined them on stage and performed two Bob Marley classics, Jammin and Turn your Lights Down Low much to the audience’s delight.
The Wailers celebrate with Ky-mani Marley
Next up was The Wailers featuring Aston “Family Man” Barrett on bass. Barrett, an original member of The Wailers was present for the 1979 debut performance. Dwayne Anglin provided lead vocals as the band performed a tight set of songs including No more Trouble,Exodus, and Heathen among others.
Ky-Mani Marley making a not so common appearance in NYC was definitely a highlight of the set performing two of his father’s songs. It was beautiful to see Ky-mani perform in front of the giant Bob Marley backdrop overlooking the stage. Surely Ky-mani was making his father proud during his brilliant performance of I Shot the Sheriff and Crazy Baldheads.
Surprise Guest Lauryn Hill thrills the audience
When the stage crew brought out a few more mics, I’m sure members of the audience were wondering who else was going to come out since all the special guests had already made their appearance. Well, the audience was in for a special surprise! Lauryn Hill was announced and the fans excitedly rushed to the stage when Lauryn appeared with her three supporting vocalists. Lauryn looking exquisite in a long black and white ensemble with a matching wide brim black hat was spot on with her performance of Zimbabwe followed by Is this Love.
One Love Finale
One Love Finale
The evening ended on a perfect note with a grand finale of everyone back on stage singing One Love. The One Love! Tribute to Bob Marley certainly made for another historical night at the Apollo Theater. I’m sure my mom was happy I was there to witness this modern day history. It was meant to be!
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