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Anticipation from Stephen Marley fans was running high as the July 2011 dates for the New England area shows approached. It had been four years since Stephen Marley had performed in the Boston area with his own band on the 2007 Mind Control tour – the same year that Stephen’s Grammy winning debut solo album of the same title was released. After performing at two major festivals in Canada, the tour in support of Stephen’s new album, Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life, returned to the US as the bus rolled into Burlington, VT to begin a series of four shows in New England.
While I couldn’t make the Burlington, VT show, I was happy to make it to the remaining New England area shows: Lupos in Providence, RI (7/10), Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, MA ( 7/13), and the House of Blue Boston (7/15). Each show was special in its own way. Setting the party like atmosphere alive at all the shows, DJ Gee Fus from Stone Love hyped up the crowd, then introduced the band well known to long-time Stephen Marley fans, comprised of Christopher Meredith on Bass, Ranoy Gordon on Guitar, Nicholas Laraque on Sax/Flute, Bowie McLaughlin on Keys, Squidly Cole on Drums, Llamar ‘Riff Raff’ Brown on Keys, and supporting vocalists Erica Newell & Rochelle Bradshaw. Stephen then appropriately kicked off the set with Punky Reggae Party.
The approximately two hour set list contained a nice mixture of hits from Mind Control, including Chase Dem, Mind Control, and Hey Baby as well as several Bob Marley classics Buffalo Soldier, Jammin, Could You Be Loved and Three Birds. The balance of the songs were from his new album, which certainly pleased the audience especially on several previously released new favorites such as No Cigarette Smoking featuring Melanie Fiona and Jah Army featuring Junior Gong and Buju Banton.
Stephen Marley @ Providence Lupos (click on each one for larger view)
Stephen Marley @ Cape Cod Melody Tent (click on each one for larger view)
Stephen Marley @ Boston House of Blues (click on each one for larger view)
A surprise guest in Providence and Hyannis
Spragga brings his high energy style to Providence
As Stephen introduced his hit songs Traffic Jam from Mind Control and Jah Army from The Root of Life, he referenced his younger brother, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley which drew enthusiastic audience support. While Damian was not present for these particular shows, Spragga Benz ignited the crowd by Joining Stephen on stage during Iron Bars in Providence and Cape Cod shows and stayed on stage with the Ghetto Youths Crew to perform.
Another surprise in store for Hyannis and Boston
In Hyannis as well as Boston, the audience was in for a special treat when big sister Cedella Marley joined in on the Bob Marley classic ‘Could you be Loved’, the final song of the set before the encore. This especially delighted fans that have been following the band since the days of the Melody Makers.
A strong encore closed out the show starting with Three Little Birds as the fans sang along to the well known lyrics of “don’t worry about a thing , cause every little thing gonna be alright” Made in Africa & Tight Ship followed from his new album before ending the show with the internationally beloved anthem One Love.
It’s a family vibe – keeping Bob’s memory alive for future generations to come
Keeping the family vibe fresh, many of Stephen’s children were present on stage and either sang, danced or waived the Rastafari flag in a celebration of One Love uniting fans new and old. It is my hope that similar to the 2007 tour, Stephen Marley and The Ghetto Youths Crew will soon return to the Northeast for a second run.
Stephen takes some time to meet supporters in Boston
Slide show of Pics from Providence, Cape Cod and Boston