The capacity crowd was waiting for Marley magic inside the House of Blues, the
nouveau jook joint on Sunset Boulevard. The intimate club was virtually
cigarette-smoke free (due to a recent California law), the air accented instead
with anticipation and the mixed bouquet of irie vibes and home grown spliffs.
And as if it was all part of the evening, a good omen, there was first a Magic of
another kind, as Magic Johnson ducked in a quiet entrance minutes before Ziggy
Marley & the Melody Makers greeted the enthusiastic crowd for their first of two
nights in Los Angeles with the cry: "JAH RASTAFARI!"
Ziggy, Stephen, Cedella and Sharon Marley began the set with "Beautiful Mother
Nature," and soon enough the steel and wood blues house felt more Jamaican than
Hollywood. The four Marley kin proceeded to launch an incredible display of energy
as only the Marleys can, bringing the Rasta style celebration of their their
most recent release "Fallen Is Babylon" to the west coast of America.
The group punctuated the evening with other compelling performances, from the
searching encore "Justice" to the timeless "No Woman No Cry," in which Stephen
led the entire audience in a tender cover of their father's classic.
Stephen, who co-wrote and produced several of the songs on "Fallen," moved the
crowd to jump up and down to the ragga style breaks during the night. He was
joined onstage for a cameo rap from Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, a member of Ghetto
Youths International and Bob's youngest son. Stephen demonstrated new
versatility, bringing the crowd to a hush with crooning numbers such as
The tight band had at least 10 musicians playing at once to Ziggy's subtle cues,
through one continuous set. The Melodys had room to stretch out, and Cedella and
Sharon gave inspired vocals on "Brotherly Sisterly Love" and
"World So Corrupt".
The group closed the night with a double-time version of "Could You Be Loved"
that left the crowd feeling, if just for one night, that Babylon the great has