Burning Spear Departs the Stage in Tears

The 71 year old artist performed for nearly 90 minutes, delivering some of his most beloved songs including “Jah No Dead,” “Driver,” “Man in the Hills,” and his epic classic: “Old Marcus Garvey.”

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Burning Spear last performance on the Hollywood Bowl stage. Photo by L. Johnson. All Rights Reserved. © 2016

With tears in his eyes, international reggae superstar Burning Spear aka Winston Rodney made a heartfelt announcement to a nearly sold out crowd of music fans at the Hollywood Bowl: “Yes, it was good to be here. It’s my last performance in California.” And with that, Reggae Night XV at the Hollywood Bowl will go down in history as the last stage in California to host Burning Spear, one of reggae music’s most influential figures. “I give thanks to the Hollywood Bowl for giving me this pleasure, this opportunity to close it off in California.” he told the cheering crowd.

Reggae Songstress Etana, at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo by L. Johnson. All Rights Reserved. © 2016

Reggae Songstress Etana, at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo by L. Johnson. All Rights Reserved. © 2016

The Hollywood Bowl runs a tight ship when it comes to time. The concert started promptly at 7:00 with Etana building a good vibes for the growing crowd. The popular Jamaican songstress has a contagious smile and strong stage presence and easily engaged the audience as she belted out her biggest tunes including “One My Way,” “Reggae” and “I’m Not Afraid,” which she dedicated to the victims of the tragedy in Orlando.

Etana brought the crowd to its feet with her rendition of a popular Marcia Griffiths song, “Stepping out of Babylon.”   Etana’s version of this reggae classic is an international hit, getting massive airplay in Jamaica and abroad. After her  forty minute set, Etana thanked the crowd and made way for the next artist.

Ky Mani Marley with the Confrontation band. Photo by L. Johnson. All Rights Reserved. © 2016

Ky Mani Marley with the Confrontation band. Photo by L. Johnson. All Rights Reserved. © 2016

Ky-mani Marley brought some family love to the Bowl, kicking off his set with his father’s iconic tune “Concrete  Jungle.” The “Shottas” actor performed some of his most popular songs including “Hustler,” and “Rastaman” before  ending his set with another one of his father’s legendary songs, “Iron Zion.” CaribPress caught up with Ky-mani  moments after his 45 minute performance. “Good feeling, good feeling!” he said about the show. “The crowd was  energetic, the band was nice.” Ky-mani went on to explain why he always enjoys playing in Los Angeles. “The West  Coast carry a totally different vibe, to me its like a different world over here. California West Coast is a place where we  feel like that real appreciation for music.” He added, “The West Coast fans has always been loyal to the movement.  Them no really travel with the wave. Them know what them like.”

The man of the hour, Burning Spear then took the audience on a musical journey that began with the very first song he ever released, “Door Peep.” The 71 year old artist performed for nearly 90 minutes, delivering some of his most beloved songs including “Jah No Dead,” “Driver,” “Man in the Hills,” and his epic classic: “Old Marcus Garvey.” In typical Spear style, he entertained the crowd with nyabinghi drumming, dancing and his famous quip: “Talk to me people, talk to me!” And they did talk to him with an eruption of cheers. Spear told the people, “I know you will always remember Burning Spear.”

Spear left the stage on time at 10:10pm but the crowd was not done with this experience as they stood cheering to see him again. As a sign of respect and appreciation, Spear was given extra time to interact with his California audience. He returned and addressed the crowd with a reference to the late Prince, who passed away in April. Spear asked “Do You Remember the Days of Slavery?”  then launched into one of his most famous songs, Slavery Days. With tears in his eyes, Winston Rodney then exited the Hollywood Bowl stage for what he says will be the very last time.

One Response to “Burning Spear Departs the Stage in Tears”

  1. JoAnna Kozak says:

    Great Article! Your writer must have had front row seats and is totally into the music and the people.

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