Bob Marley and The Wailers concert review
Sat, 28 Apr 1973, 50 years ago
Lancaster University in Lancaster, UK
This was weird! I used to attend the concerts at Lancaster University regularly. I had doubts about this one. It was advertised in black lettering on an orange dayglo poster in large ketters - 'DISCO' - and in small letters at the bottom - 'With Bob Marley and the Wailers'. The entry fee, pay on the night, palm stamped from an ink pad as proof of payment, was 50p.
It wasn't a disco (music played from records) at all. It was one long session of Bob and the Wailers in a well-attended hall, with everybody standing/dancing to the band's music. The night was sensational. I had seen a brief reference to the band; probably in Melody Maker, which had good Jazz/Rock coverage in those days; but I knew little or nothing about the band other than that.
I was dancing with my girlfriend immediately below the stage and directly in front of Bob Marley. I recall staring up at him wondering, 'Why am I only paying 50p for this?' and 'Why is this advertised as a Disco?' This early UK performance by Bob Marley and the Wailers ranks alongside Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' tour concert, which I also attended at Lancaster University as the two best live concerts I have attended.
There is some irregularity with the date of the concert which I cannot reconcile. Concerts at Lancaster University were normally on Saturday evenings. The Bob Marley concert, to my recollection, however, was on Friday evening 27 April 1973. I recall this because the day after the concert (Saturday) I went into Preston and bought a copy of the 'Catch a Fire' album, which I still have. There appears to be some mix-up with the initial gigs played by the band on this tour, with at least one cancelled. Maybe this is the source of the confusion. I recall asking about the band at the concert and being told that this was their first UK venue of the tour. If the gig was hastily re-arranged from the Saturday to the Friday night, this might explain the cheap, hastily put together, dayglo poster and the ridiculously low entry fee of 50p - a generous concession to the organisors for the rearranged date?