A giant stream of people lined up in front of the Irving Plaza double doors Friday night in eager anticipation for latest New York City Ziggy Marley concert. Excitement was in the air, but also disappointment for the late arrivals who discovered that the concert had sold out hours beforehand. Dejected, those procrastinating fans slouched home while those in line shifted anxiously to enter the theatre. There was no sign of the typical rowdiness and excitement before a concert opens begins. Even when the doors remained closed fifteen minutes passed schedule, there was no sense of anger from the crowd. People of all different ages, races and languages were getting lost in the wonderful aura of love and joy in the air. They were all just happy to be there and grateful for the wonderful show that lay before them.
Soon enough, the doors opened and the sizeable Irving Plaza ballroom became packed with an ocean of fans decked out in various yellow, red, and green colors of Ziggy Marley’s Jamaica. Here, the friendly comradery shown in the streets grew into a joyous celebration as strangers introduced themselves and made friends with fellow Marley fans from all walks of life. Had Ziggy’s father been present, he would be proud to see his son carrying on the mission of spreading love through so many societal barriers.
When Ziggy Marley finally did take the stage, casually striding while tuning his guitar, he was greeted with a respectful, affectionate cheer befitting an old friend sitting at the dinner table rather than a multi-million dollar music star. After a few playful riffs and some shaking of his hypnotic dreadlocks, the reggae star kicked off his Fly Rasta concert with “Love is My Religion” as appreciative fans danced slowly to the soothing beat.
Unsurprisingly, the Reggae star channeled his legendary father when performing the classics “One Love,” “Revolution” and “No Woman No Cry“. It’s clear that many of the older fans in attendance look up to Ziggy as the heir to his father, and with a nearly-identical voice it’s hard to blame them. But Ziggy is a different type of artist that performs with a passionate energy Bob Marley rarely exhibited. The night contained a few of these dynamic hits, including “I Get Up,” “Tomorrow People,” and the kid-friendly “I Don’t Want to Live on Mars.” Sadly, there was no performance of “Beach In Hawaii,” one of his most popular songs. or “Wonderful Everyday,” a tune that should be extra familiar for fans of Chance the Rapper or PBS’s Arthur.
The Fly Rasta concert fittingly ended with Marley’s eponymous single. With that, Marley gave his love to his audience, who even in the late hours of 2:30 am were sad to see such a wonderful night come to an end. The crowd graciously flowed down the exits and out into the dark Union Square night. One fan, having been among the earliest in attendance, sighed contently to the open air “that was wonderful.” It was indeed.
Check out the complete Set List below:
Love is my Religion
Wild and Free
I Don’t Want to Live On Mars
No Woman No Cry
I Get Up
Rainbow in the Sky
Roots Rock Reggae
True to Myself
Give it Away
Look Who’s Dancing
Forward to Love
Iron Lion Zion