“Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne were one of Bob’s favourite places to tour, England wasn’t really the place to put us on the map, it was right here in Australia. When we came out here, there were like thousands and thousands of people so we greatly appreciate you coming down then, and for supporting us still.” – Al Anderson
Packed to the rafters with fans from all ages and walks of life, the Astor Theatre filled with a sense of reverence and excitement as The Original Wailers band members took their place on stage after a great performance by local support band The Weapon Is Sound. Al Anderson began by thanking everyone and sharing the story of how the impact of the Australian fans helped to put Bob Marley and Wailers on the map.
“Are you ready for some reggae music? Let’s do it,” Anderson said as they opened with I Shot The Sherriff. With Bob Marley & The Wailers having such a rich back catalogue of music, deciding the setlist would be an unenviable task. For fans of all levels, it’s a show most definitely enjoyed and respected for its inspirational, musical and lyrical richness. The Perth crowd certainly soaked it up, the band smiling, holding tight, but challenged to focus on playing an instrumental break at one point because the entire crowd kept singing the lyrics in unison. It was a reflection of the band’s expertise and the unifying effect of the music on the crowd all rolled in one.
With the joyful, smiling and vocally rich Chet Samuels on lead vocals/guitar leading us through the night, while singing Hypocrites which he described as “the song that Bob Marley put his stamp on the world with,” I started hearing the voice of Stevie Wonder coming from him, next thing, he began singing the lyrics to Wonder’s song I Just Called To Say I Love You along to the beat, his likeness was uncanny.
With passion and smiles oozing from each of the band members throughout the show, Anderson on lead guitar and vocals, Puerto Rican Samuels on lead vocals/guitar, Jamaican industry veteran Stephen Stewart on lead keyboards, Omar Lopez on bass guitar, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cisneros on keyboards, and drummer, Shane from New Zealand, they gave the crowd hours of joy and great music.
But there was no going past the original Wailer, Anderson, during hits such as Get Up Stand Up and No Woman No Cry, you could’ve sworn smoke was coming from his guitar, beautiful and amazing at the same time. Then, in the lead up to Redemption Song he gave us a powerfully long guitar intro. Moments to remember, for sure.
He also shared news of an upcoming yet-to-be-named album for The Original Wailers due in January/February 2018 and added that lead vocalist Chet Samuel’s album called Say My Name is also available now.
With so many hits that the crowd hardly stopped dancing and singing along to, it was one of those goosebump nights that has one feeling inspired at how music such as reggae unifies humanity. Closing with Exodus, the crowd were as electric as ever, “how you all feeling? You feeling irie?” Samuels asked, as the crowd went wild.
As the crew began packing up, Al and the band came down into the crowd to humbly shake hands, share Hongis with beloved Maori fans, and take selfies. The graciousness of this gesture, was much-loved and appreciated by the rush of adoring fans towards the front of the stage.
“Thanks a lot for making us what we are today, a piece of our success was right in this city here.” – Al Anderson, Perth, Australia.