Photos and article by Robin Shaffer aka Rock ‘N’ Robins
July brought Colorado some rain, some hail, some blue skies, and some powerful reggae from the master, Ziggy Marley. The first Colorado shows were presented at the idyllic Denver Botanic Gardens. But the ultimate show occurred July 5 at the mystical Mishawaka Theatre in Bellvue.
As the sun went down on the sold out venue on the Cashe la Poudre River, the crowd geared up with energy and positive vibes. The venue was packed tightly: a sure situation to cause some problems with, dare I say, entitlement and space. But, just like last year when Ziggy Marley graced the Mishawaka stage, it all felt like family. Granted, some of our family can get a little drunk and rude, but for the most part, you just help them move through. People smiled, stepped aside, offered hands, helped each other. And it’s a good thing. Because we need each other to do the things Ziggy has outlined for us to bring into action. Opening with Change Your World, Mr. Marley offered, “ Move with me, move with me, I’m gonna change your world.” For a couple of transcendent hours, he certainly did.
Mr. Marley is an expert at combining things. He brings together all sorts of diversities: genders, ages, races – any perimeter that might divide is fodder for the machine he has built to bring us together. It is a lesson to hear him weave, preach, uplift and even co-mingle. Singing songs from his newest endeavor, Rebellion Rises as well as some of his earlier favorites and even some of his father’s songs, Mr Marley is teaching us, but he is also one of us. He urges us to examine the principals we say guide us, and make sure our deeds are in line with our betruths. (Rasta doesn’t have be-lie-f; that has a lie in it.) Mr. Marley wants us to come together in realization that only the willing will see their dreams. And we must dream together.
It is always a special treat to hear the eldest son of Reggae icon Bob Marley take on some of his father’s songs. Given the diverse age range of the audience, there were very likely others at Mishawaka that had heard the Original Marley. Regardless of previous experience, it seemed each person in the venue responded to those cherished tunes with even more love and gratitude. When Mr. Marley called out during a Botanic Garden set of Is This Love, “if you know it, sing it!” I barely repressed a laugh. Everyone knew it. At the Bellvue venue, he didn’t have to ask. The sound of all of our voices rang through the canyon like the anthem Bob Marley intended it to be. Once again, despite our difficulties, we are lifted to know we can, together, surmount them. The message, strong, necessary, simple: we must work together to make our world a better place. And we can.
Bob’s eldest son is expert; a mesmerizing melding deliverer with emotion and intensity: dancing, thrashing, passionate wailing with flying locks, stomping feet, – human rights! – what about the children rights? Suffering in the world! Suffering on the borderline! What about the Woman rights? JUSTICE!!!!! As Ziggy curls and uncoils, locks akimbo, arms moving in huge arcs, feet stepping high, I see Bob. I hear Bob. I feel his message. I am transported to a place of possibilities, where love and livication can surpass injustice and wrongs. Is that your dream too? Remember, “only the willing will see their dreams”.
I am grateful for every note, every cell Bob left for us. Ziggy Marley, eldest son and leader, brings more life to the legacy and reminds us of our obligations. He lifts us up, holds us to his father’s high standards, urges us on, reminds us the only way we can do this, change this world, make things better, is by working together. And when you hear him preach, you want to.
Thank you, Bob! Thank you for finding a way to keep the message moving forward, generation to generation, rebelling against ism and schism. Rebellion Rises!
Stay Connected with Ziggy
Ziggy pon tour in Europe beginning July 25 through August 26th