Eight time Grammy Award winner Ziggy Marley brought his message of love and peace to a sold out (and possibly over-packed) crowd at Ace of Spades on Saturday night, June 23. Marley released his seventh solo studio album, “Rebellion Rises”, in May to raved reviews. Eight of the show’s eighteen songs were from the new album.
Marley started the show with five songs from “Rebellion Rises”, which would seem like a gamble for most artists who have been making music for 39 years. It’s often considered a given that fans going to see a well-established artist in concert are there to hear the hits and usually head for the restroom or bar when the new songs are played.
Such is not the case at a Ziggy Marley show.
Although out for less than a month, the crowd already knew most of the new songs and sang along with enthusiasm. Few and far between were those who listened to Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers’ breakthrough album “Conscious Party” in 1988 and then stopped following the artist for the rest of the band’s twelve studio albums or Ziggy’s seven solo albums. Instead, the place was filled with loyal fans who knew every song from the artists’ long career.
Ziggy Marley is a legend in his own right, having won eight Grammy Awards (and an Emmy) in the process of becoming one of the leading voices in reggae music over the past several decades. Ziggy doesn’t hide behind the legacy of his famous father, but instead honors the legacy of Bob Marley while forging his own legacy along the way. In addition to his solo material, Ziggy played four of his father’s songs, including crowd favorites “One Love” and “Is This Love”. He also played two of his own songs from Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.
As packed as Ace of Spades was on Saturday night, nobody seemed to care since everyone in the place was dancing and singing throughout the night. When Ziggy sang “Walks of life, let’s stand together – Dance all night with each other” (which closed out the main set), the crowd didn’t need to be told, as they’d been doing just that all night long.
If anyone came to the show feeling a bit down, perhaps due to what’s going on in the world today, Ziggy Marley provided a welcome tonic to fear, hate, and negativity. With songs like “I Will Be Glad”, “Love Is My Religion”, “High on Life”, “Circle of Peace” – pretty much every song played – it would be hard to leave the show in a down mood.
As Entertainment Magazine once wrote, “Attending a Ziggy Marley concert is the closest thing to a reggae church service you can get.” They weren’t wrong.
Opening for Ziggy was DJ Cherry Baby, who played a nice selection of reggae tunes to get the crowd ready for the show.
Sacramento was Marley’s second to last stop (having played San Francisco on Sunday) before heading overseas for a 25-city tour and then returning to the United States and Canada to hit another 22 cities. Follow Ziggy Marley at ziggymarley.com.
Photos by Tony Cervo