Since Bob Marley’s passing in 1981, famed bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett along with many original Wailer’s band members have been championing the music of their fallen bandleader.

Throughout their illustrious career together, Bob Marley and The Wailers generated worldwide record sales exceeding 100 million. Subsequently, the group’s seminal 1977 long player Exodus was declared to be the “Best Album of the Century” by Time Magazine. Spin Magazine also sited Bob Marley and The Wailers as 4th in their “Top 50 Greatest Bands of All Time”. These duly deserved accolades reflect the group’s significant contribution to the music world.

Today the North East of England along with much of the UK has been battered by some of the worst weather conditions we’ve seen in recent years, including sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall. However, to coin an old phrase ‘the show much go on’ and that’s exactly the spirit which brought The Wailers and their diehard legion of fans to the O2 Academy Newcastle this Friday evening.

Tonight’s concert on Tyneside showcases the group’s impressive songbook, with a set which centres on their Legend greatest hits album. The latter of which being the best-selling reggae album of all time.

Collectively this impressive eight-piece ensemble brings these timeless anthems to life. This evening’s performance features original members of The Wailers that includes legendary guitarists Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey along with long-serving keyboard player Tyrone Downie who collectively along with the rest of the group drive their distinctive reggae groove. The band’s charismatic lead vocalist Josh Barrett humbly and respectfully delivers the unmistakable lyrics penned by the late great Bob Marley all night long.

The Wailers set is packed full of timeless classics with the likes of “Rastaman Vibration”, “Buffalo Soldier”, “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Is This Love” featuring early on and setting the tone for the night ahead. The latter of which features Junior Marvin on lead vocals, who is also often up front encouraging the crowd to sing and dance, which they do in their droves all night long.

The positive messages encapsulated within anthems such as “Three Little Birds” and “One Love” are certainly something that everyone can get behind in these challenging times. The crowd sing each number wholeheartedly and at the tops of their voices.

Barrett declares to the Tyneside faithful, ‘if you love brother Bob Marley say yeah’, the response is a resounding yes. Of course, the classic “No Woman No Cry” which is oozing with the dazzling organ skills of Tyrone Downie results in one of the largest singalongs of the evening.

Meanwhile, guitarist, Donald Kinsey takes centre stage during an incredible rendition of “Johnny Be Good”. The Wailers close out their main set with the anthemic “Jammin”, which features some superb vocal harmonies between Josh Barrett and the band’s incredible pair of backing vocalists.

Tonight The Wailers are like a much-needed ray of sunshine on this bleak winter’s day, they are just what the doctor and Newcastle ordered.  The musical legacy bestowed upon The Wailers by Bob Marley is certainly in safe hands.

The Wailers
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Event Date: 02-Mar-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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