Concert review: Ziggy Marley at Plaza Live


Ziggy Marley at The Plaza Live, in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. ( Sean Nelson / Valencia Voice)

The Plaza was packed with people of all types last Saturday: attendees ranged from young to old; people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds ー and you could hear the mix of different accents and languages spoken in the near distance. You may find a burly middle-aged man with a thick beard wearing a leather Harley Davidson jacket; trendy twenty somethings with young hip-hop group Odd Future t-shirts, sleeve tattoos, grills and those hairstyles with the sides shaved off; moms and dads out with there kids; and let’s not forget about the locs: dark, blonde, thick and thin, some fake, wagging about in the air every now and again.

Typically, one might think that these people would have very little in common, but Ziggy Marley is of the tradition of bringing people together through music, a skill he may have picked up from his dad, maybe you’ve heard of him.

On tour since June, promoting his new album “Fly Rasta,” Marley’s been keeping fairly busy, even celebrating his birthday the the day prior at his show in Atlanta. It’s not every day that one gets the chance to come face to face with a living legend, and while that legendary status is most often attributed to his father, Ziggy has made a name for himself in his own right, continuing to spread his father’s message of love, unity and— from the smell of some choice herbs in the air—civil disobedience. Ziggy has gathered a myriad of people for a fun, light-hearted affair for fans to come together and enjoy, with classics from his time with the Melody Makers to his new album.

Outside was a mini festival prior to the concert for all to attend, with stands selling items from paintings and handmade crafts and jewelry, to vegan cuisine.

As the doors opened ,fans lined up and the halls were packed in no time. You could immediately get a whiff of a mysterious dank odor lingering in the air as you entered the lobby (because it wouldn’t be a Marley concert without it) with, of course,“Vote Yes on 2” stands by the doors.

It was a treat for Marley fans of all ages. To see a concert with such a diverse crowd shows the level of influence of his music has, bridging generational and cultural gaps, allowing for people to come together and hear the living legacy of Bob Marley.

Teacher and former Valencia student, Paula Black, tells me she’s been a Ziggy fan for about “forever” and was more than happy to comment. “I play reggae music in my class to my kids,” says Black. “Its all just good vibes and praising Jah.”

For many it was a timeless event. Long time fans who haven’t seen the 46-year-old reggae singer in years were thrilled, finally getting the chance to see the oldest son of the Marley clan deliver a performance they’ve waited years for.

“I’m 47 now, but I saw him when I was 21 at the Arizona State Fair,” said Scott McDonald, traveling all the way from Wisconsin with a friend after missing a Ziggy concert in Milwake earlier in July. “I’ve been a fan since the Melody Makers. I’m older now but I still dig it.”

For many, especially the younger crowd, it was their first Marley concert altogether. If you were born sometime in the last 30 years, then chances are you weren’t cool enough or alive enough to attend Bob Marley concert. So for some, it wasn’t just about seeing Ziggy, but a chance at being able to see a piece of Bob too.

I met Alexis and Nicole, two more Valencia students who were excited to be at their first Marley show. “I’m more of a Bob Marley fan,” said Alexis,”but anyone who’s related to Bob has to be like him in some way.”

“He’s a fraction of what Bob Marley is,” says Nicole, and for her, knowing that his children continue to carry on his legacy through music “completes the whole.”

Themes of love, harmony, and good vibes were shouted from the stage and well received by the crowd. The accompanying musicians complete with two back up singers/dancers did a wonderful job, too, of bringing the performance to life. Fan favorites such as “Rainbow In the Sky,” and “Love is My Religion,” kicked off the show.

In-between some songs, Ziggy would occasionally give a brief anecdote before starting the next, at one point saying: “The Human experience comes with pain, but through it all you get to live again,” before immediately breaking into “Could This Be Love,” receiving an instant reaction from the crowd. Knees leaped into the air and locs swayed from left to right. Other tribute songs included “One Love,” which were sung and performed so well that if you closed your eyes you would think that it was Bob in front of you right there, which is more anyone could have asked for.

Songs like “Personal Revolution,” and “Conscious Party” would quickly get the crowd in another dancing frenzy as well as “Black Cat.” The sounds of church organs got Ziggy and the dancers moving like it’s Sunday Mass. Songs performed from his new album were “I Don’t Want to Live on Mars,” “Sunshine,” and closing the night off “Fly Rasta,” in which Ziggy pounded away at the congas.

After the show you could see the sweat gleaming off the faces of those dancing up a storm and within minutes there was hardly anyone in venue.

Outside I met with McDonald, whom I mentioned earlier, and he his friend went around back to meet Marley. It’s worth noting that not only did McDonald come all the way down here from Wisconsin, but he also has only one leg, and wasn’t going to leave Orlando empty handed without an autograph. And (spoiler alert!) that’s just what he got.
One fan showed his adoration by not asking for an autograph, but personally handing a guitar to Ziggy Marley as a gift. And despite m what must have been a tiring and dynamic performance, he still stayed out a bit longer to sign, autographs and take pictures with the kids.

The last name Marley carries a lot of weight, but seeing Ziggy out there delivering nothing short of a fantastic performance shows that he lives up to it. After talking with the fans many of them can appreciate sincerity, and passion with which he performed with that night, and the answer for their admiration was unanimous: “the love.”