Article and Photos by Photojournalist Rock NRobins
It is very probable that you have already heard about the bomb that exploded at the Mishawaka amphitheater on Thursday night August 23. It was loud, bright, explosive, rebellious: it was a love bomb. The love and power of Bob Marley blew up the stage at the Mishawaka, in the form of his eldest son David, better known as Ziggy Marley, who is currently touring in support of his new album, Rebellion Rises.
On a stage that was set out like a miniature chessboard, with Ziggy being flanked by two female singers who were flanked by guitarists who were themselves flanked by keyboards – the indispensable bass and drums hidden in the back – Mr. Marley sang, danced, jumped, played, whipped his locks as he also whipped his fans to frenzy with themes of Love and Rebellion without ever breaking a sweat. The venue was so packed there was no room to move, but the crowd was so enveloped in the Rastaman Vibration (yeah!) that kindness abounded despite the lack of space.
The nearly two hour set was fast paced without being frantic. The overt themes of Ziggy’s message fell staunchly into two categories. Many were the entreaties to consider your actions and thoughts in the greater scheme of things: world revolution can be answered by a peaceful solution. No more killing for religion, and a sea change in attitude and action can still positively affect our world. The second theme, as often happens when listening to a Marley, clearly is the message of love. So much love! Wild and Free, True to Myself, Love is My Religion, One Love, and even a brief Beatles tribute with a few bars of All We Need Is Love! Is This Love was so heartfelt and rousing, the entire venue chimed in – the hills were ringing.
Speaking of the hills, the Mishawauka Amphitheatre is a magical place. Mr. Marley mentioned that he had played the venue once about twenty years before. (I was present at that show.) That time, he went down by the river, and he wrote a song. He sat by the Poudre and wrote, “Reggae in my Head.” He performed it Thursday night to a grateful crowd. If felt like we were all family, and we had inspired a favorite son.
Ziggy Marley lets you know what he thinks. But he also lets you know how he feels. He is hopeful for the outcome that can be brought about if we all are conscious, if we think of ourselves as a race, and not as racists. He puts his life behind the thought that the willing can change things, and see their dreams realized. He preaches that we can all stand in the circle of peace. His song choices swung from the political to the loving -cries for justice and community. Peace. Awareness. Action. Positive vibes. Dreams. Playfulness Fun. Love Love Love. But also – Rebellion Rises.
Actually, the more I consider this, the less I see the song choices as a duality. This Rebellion, this Justice, this World Revolution should happen BECAUSE we all want love and peace and justice, and BECAUSE we are all one family, one humanity.
As the songs went back and forth from political teachings to positive vibe feel good songs, the integration and the path seems possible. Perhaps all is not lost. All is not despair. After all, as Mr. Marley sang on Thursday night, there’s no hiding place from the mother of creation. Humanity Together!
Get your copy of Rebellion Rises today!!