The Wailers at O2 Academy Bournemouth 03.03.2022
A return to Boscombe to the O2 (O2 blog). Went for a late start as I didn’t fancy a long night and the pricey beer choice has crashed of late, so wandered in to hear the last couple of songs from support Samuel Johnson and his band. Sorry Sam.
It was only about half full but picked up a bit as The Wailers were ready to start. The upper two floors were closed off and one addition was tables and chairs set out near the rear downstairs bars. You can’t see much from there mind as the balcony roof drops down low but a bonus on a quieter night for a grey-haired gig goer. We made do with the rear steps for a bit.
The Wailers came on and after their first song there was some hesitancy from lead singer Aston Barrett jr. (Son of long-time Wailers’ bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barratt) as he peered into the crowd and the band came to a halt. There was a bit of rushing about down the side and Aston jnr. announced a ‘medical emergency’. A woman had collapsed at the front and after confusion and chatter in the eerie pause a medic team rushed in and brought the poor gig goer out on a trolley with a blanket over her, parting a concerned audience as she left. Hope she was OK 🤞🤞
Understandably a strange atmosphere after this that took a while to lift. The Wailers did it though with songs of one world, love and peace, as the threat of World War Three emerged on the news…. and while many in the busy and restless audience trooped out for an occasional smoke, returning followed by a calming herbal vapour trail.
It was really quite cold in the venue which the band commented on… the gas price crisis is kicking in. We were warmed up though with Is This Love and I Shot the Sheriff, and a new song in between. One of a few reminders that the pictured guitarist gives that new songs come from the ‘Grammy nominated more recent One World album.
I’ll be honest, it’s pretty hard to get to the bottom of who is in this offshoot of Bob Marley’s original Wailers – even from their own website and social media. The band changes are frequent and touring members aren’t the same as recording members necessarily. I saw them back at the same venue in 2015 but it was different lead singer then. I guess it’s all about the legacy and the songs and you can’t get away from the fact that this is a tribute act with heritage.
As everyone gets into their stride the classics emerge: Buffalo Soldier, Jamming and, with maybe pop reggae at its best, Three Little Birds that they run into One Love. The lad below was just in front of me for a lot of the time.
It’s a good relaxing school night loosener this one. For encores, first the beautifully solemn Redemption Song, then You Could Be Loved.