Sunday, February 10, 2008

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS LIVE AT THE ROXY, 1976.

Back in May '76 I noticed a tiny item on the inner pages of the LA Times, Bob Marley and the Wailers were to play a gig at the Roxy in Hollywood on the Saturday followed by a show at Pauley Pavilion at UCLA on the Tuesday. I imediately called the Roxy, "Sorry this is a closed event, not open to the public" was the sorrowful news. Damn!
That afternoon I met my friend Ron and told him my tale of woe, "Hey no problem, you should speak with so and so, she's married to the guy who owns the Roxy, she used to be my room mate, I'll give her a call" About 5 minutes later my phone rang, it was she, calling from Spokane; "Hi, Ron tells me you want to see the Marley concert, how many tickets do you need?" Oh God, I almost fell off the chair, "Could I get two" I tentatively asked, "No problem, I'll have them put your name at the will-call window for all-access, and would you like tickets for Pauley as well? This was too much, "I'd love it you could do it" "No problem she said, "You'll have two on the guest list there with all access". I don't remember what I spluttered at that point, I was probably just babbling inanities.
The big day arrived, I drove to Hollywood and parked right across the street from the Roxy, there was a huge crowd totally blocking the sidewalk and access to the box office. In those days I carried my camera gear everywhere, a bag with at least a couple of Nikons and several lenses etc. When I finally got to the will-call window it was exactly as she'd said it would be, two all access passes, but when I got to the entrance a guy who looked like a professional football player said "No Cameras or recorders period, no exceptions" I showed him my passes, "Did you hear what I said, No Cameras!" Damn, now I had to go back through the crowd to the parking lot and stow my gear and when I returned the crowd was so big that I thought I might never reach that door again, but I finally did and when I entered there was space at a table about 10 ft from the stage. It's a small club and it was packed; I immediately saw why it was a closed event, everybody who was anybody in the music business in LA was there, I saw Lennon, Dylan, CSN, Joni, the entire audience were music personalities!
The lights went down and the band started playing behind closed curtains and this went on for several minutes with the crowd getting more excited and noisy by the minute: Tony G, Bob's local man in LA did the intro's, " Well Rastafari, peace and love in the South, I and I would like to introduce, direct from Trenchtown Jamaica, what we call the Rastaman Vibration, Bob Marley and the Wailing Wailers" and with that the band switched into Trenchtown Rock and it was underway! The crowd went nuts, the Wailers had never played so well. An amazing concert, definitely the best I was ever at and the bonus was being back stage in the dressing room afterwards!
At some point shortly thereafter Junior Marvin gave me a board check cassette of the show, I treasured it and played it constantly, every year on air I did a BMW special and it was always included. I had dozens of board tapes from lots of the live shows but that one was exceptional. And then in 2003, twentyseven years after the event Tuff Gong/Island records released it on CD, actually a double "Bob Marley & the Wailers Live at the Roxy.
The most amazing part of the concert was the encore, the Wailers came back on stage and did a 30 minute set that was unbelievable, they and Bob played Get up, Stand up, No more Trouble and War in a manner never heard before or since, they were transported. It was spectacular, here it is, it's a 24 minute cut, I suggest that you just hit play and turn the volume all the way up.

2 comments:

treefrogdemon said...

Thanks so much gf - great music, great story.

Gabriel Dread said...

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story!! Please write more about this concert. I was born a week before Bob Marley died, but I'm sure I was present at the Roxy that night... If I could be alive for just one day in my life, it would be spent at this concert...

I love when Marley improvises "I've got to go but I don't wanna do so"...

I feel there is some deeper meaning in these words... Like his Will, only making sense now that he's trully gone from our material world...

If you have more stories from this night to share, please email me: gabrielsica@gmail.com

Greetings from an ecovillage in Brazil!

Gabriel 'Dread' Siqueira.