Known to some as simply the late Bob Marley’s backing band, The Wailers are a truly iconic group of artists. After Marley’s tragic death in 1981, the members continued on as an act in their own right, before slowly but surely parting ways over the years.
However, two years ago, bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett began to reach out to past members in an attempt to reunite the Reggae stalwarts – thus revitalising The Wailers and creating a new chapter in the group’s esteemed history.
After playing too much of South America, The Wailers enjoyed a successful tour of the USA in October of last year, before making their way across the pond to start their UK adventure. In an ode to their success with Marley, The Wailers are over here to perform Legend, the best selling reggae album of all time, in it’s entirety – and we were lucky enough to jam along at Glasgow’s O2 ABC.
Providing support for the night were Shanty, whose feelgood dub got the party started at the ABC – which was packed to the rafters by fans both young and old. The Wailers then took to the stage, opening with Natural Mystic, Buffalo Soldier and Is This Love.
Certified classics came next in the form of I Shot the Sheriff, Midnight Ravers and No Woman, No Cry – with the latter a gorgeously emotive rendition that also proved a chance for a monstrous solo from the lead guitarist. Positive Vibration, Waiting in Vain and Stir It Up continued the good vibes, with the energy displayed by the members of reggae royalty consummately reciprocated by the Glasgow crowd.
Roots, Rock, Reggae, Three Little Birds and One Love / People Get Ready were followed by Jamming, after which The Wailers took a brief break from the stage – returning to a raucous reception and an encore that began with an emotionally-charged number in Stand Firm In Babylon, a song which was finished prior to a gig in South Carolina the same night of the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
Next came Redemption Song – with a message after from one of the band telling people to “stop smoking cigarettes and smoke herb” – and Lively Up Yourself, before Could You Be Loved, Get Up, Stand Up and Exodus brought the night to a celebratory close and ensured all of the classics were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Words by Jonno Mack