He closes his eyes as memories flash through his mind like lightning from a brewing storm.
His signature smile can be visibly seen painted across his face as he remembers the tender touch of the electric guitar from Could You Be Loved dancing across his skin, the unparalleled embrace of One Love wrapped around him and how each inflection of his voice moved the crowd in unimaginable ways. He lowers his head with palms covering his face.
On his left shoulder he feels a gentle tap…a split second later he feels another on his right. He looks up into the mirror of his dressing room to see none other than his brothers; Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
“Nuh tell mi seh nerves taking over yuh body Bob?!” Tosh chuckles looking to Bunny nodding as if to say “Yeah, he’s definitely nervous”. “It’s not dat you know…it’s just surreal to have the originals back together for this reunion concert, it’s just…” explains Bob before Bunny cuts him off mid-sentence moving towards the exit “Brothers our fans are ready for us…we can’t stall any longer…they almost went berzerk when sister Rita announced that Peter and I were held up in traffic.”
Today marks a day in not only Jamaican history but for music worldwide. Hundreds of thousands flew to Jamaica to witness what is expected to be the greatest show the world would ever experience – the reuniting of the original Wailers after 33 years. The decision to come together was a simple one. As some of the originators of Reggae music who propelled the brand to the world, there is no higher honor than to go back to the heart of having everyone Jamming to a few hits…after all, what better way to enjoy Reggae music than to Get up, Stand up?.
Ziggy, Stephen, Rohan, Ky-Mani, Damian, Robert and Julian steps center stage to deafening screams.
starts Ziggy, carrying the crowd into another frantic cheer.
“Greetings in the name of His Imperial Majesty…” continued Stephen.
“Emperor Haile Selassie…” Rohan, Ky-Mani, Robert and Julian add.
“Jah!” Damian shouts at the top of his lungs.
“Rasta-far-I” the crowd responds in a choir-esque fashion.
“Welcome people…to a night of true Reggae music,” Ziggy begins. “This is where it all began and we are so privileged to be in the presence of history in the making,” Rohan and Julian add.
“Tonight we welcome back to their native roots as musicians, the Wailing Rudeboys!” shouts Ky-Mani. “No the Wailing Wailers”, says Stephen. “No man just The Wailers” chuckles Jr. Gong.
“People get up, stand up and help us welcome The Wailers!”
The stage gets pitch black. Bob skips onto the stage in a fashion only he can while Peter wheels on with his unicycle. Bunny can be seen smiling ear-to-ear chuckling to himself saying “I don’t know bout you guys but I’m way too old for all those fancy footwork.”
The crowd seems uncontrollable as cameras flash, phones are held high and the world looks on.
Wasting no time they jump straight into their arsenal of hits.
Starting the set with Lively Up Yourself, the crowd rocks to the walking bassline of the guitar chords and dips to the dance moves of the I-Threes.
Bob flashes his locks in a much reserved manner than his younger performances but still strikes a chord within the fans that seemingly hangs on to his every move while Peter plays his solo in a red beanie to the front of the stage. Walking out into the spotlight, Peter begins an electrifying performance then makes his way to the drums and collabs with the Bunny on the percussion for another 30 seconds. Bob jumps with his captivating energy having the crowd react in an intense roar. He shouts, “Jah” and the audience respond “Rasta-far-I.”
With one hand raise to the sky and the other placed on the microphone stand, eyes closed shut, Bob asks “How yuh feeling?” The answers hit him in a mumbling roar.
8 hours of hits after hits swept by in a blink of an eye.
“Yuh tired yet?” Peter asks with the crowd echoing in a resounding “Noooo…” “Oh Bumbo Klaat” he chuckles to himself.
This is a moment everyone and history will remember forever, seeing the men who started all of this, from the days of Ska to the revolutionary era of Reggae music - Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer on one stage for one night with their biggest hits; patron couldn't help but have tears springing to their eyes.
With sweat dripping down his brow and his dreads framing his aged face, Bob Marley calls his band mates to join him center stage.
His sons and the other band musicians gather behind them, with Peter and Bunny to his right and left as they get ready to close the miraculous show.
“Because of you this has now turned into a movement” he begins to say looking at all the people surrounding him. He shakes his head and laughs before blurting out that this is just the beginning, a 3-month-long worldwide tour was to come - rumor has it they are calling it The Reunion Tour of Reggae Hall of Famers.
He closes saying “to I there is no higher honor than to be reunited.” The curtains slowly fall leaving everyone in awe of what they just witnessed.
Death can be emancipation; sometimes it allows us to see the enormity, and prevents our giants from depreciating before our eyes. With Bob, we get to appreciate the good, and ponder what might have been. He's alive, and thanks to his music, he always will be…
REST IN PEACE, BOB AND PETER!
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB :)