Reggae Night XIX Featuring Ziggy Marley and Wailing Souls Stir Up Hollywood Bowl (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

It was a lively night on August 1st as a sold-out crowd celebrated the beloved music of Jamaica at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as over 17,000 fans gathered up some good vibes and hear laid-back beats. Reggae Night XIX at the Bowl opened with Wailing Souls whose origins date back to the 1960s, and then Ziggy Marley and his rhythmic band followed with a memorable headline performance.

Wailing Souls are one of the originators of rocksteady whose beginnings date back to the 1960s. Still going strong after undergoing several lineup changes over the years, the two original continuous members, Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald remain with the group and deftly handled most of the lead singing while Roger “Papa Juggy” Samuels also took vocal duty. The band played several of their traditional songs, but the Paul Simon-penned cover of “Mother and Child Reunion” received a large and participatory reception.

Winston Pipe Matthews and Lloyd Bread McDonald

The band also did a nice tribute medley for some of their fellow reggae stars that have recently died. They played “Hold Me Tight” (Johnny Nash). “Wear You to the Ball” (U-Roy), “I’ve Got to Go Back Home” (Bob Andy), “Cool Running” (Bunny Wailer), and “5446” (Toots Hibbert).

Eight-time Grammy winner Ziggy Marley and his 15 piece-band opened with the new song “Lift Our Spirits, Raise Our Voices” that hit streaming services this past May. The catchy “Black Cat,” and the uptempo “High on Life” were played on key and on point, while Bob Marley’s iconic “Stir It Up”  just keeps on giving more than 50 years after its 1967 debut.


Ziggy kept the tribute going as he strapped on an electric guitar for the first time in the evening’s program and belted out the 1973 elder Marley song “Burnin’ and Lootin’.” Ziggy, like his father, has been politically outspoken with his lyrics for decades. He followed his father’s song with his own “See Dem Fake Leaders” and to emphasize the point, he followed with “Tomorrow People” and “Conscious Party.”

“Circle of Peace” featured Natasha Pearce and Tracy Hazzard, two of the three fantastic female backup singers, who pranced along the front of the stage doing alternating raps. “Beach in Hawaii,” from the 2006 album “Love Is My Religion,” featured Ziggy on acoustic guitar. He followed with the title track from that album and implored the audience to get up and sing along;  it did not take much prodding as thousands joined him on the lyrics.  

The show’s highlight had to be the roaring cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” which again had everybody off their feet. The band closed the show with another Bob Marley classic “Wake Up and Live” as the band continued to play the mesmerizing tune as Ziggy and the ladies sauntered off the stage and gave Reggae Night XIX a peaceful conclusion.

Live photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon ©2021.

Live photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon ©2021.

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