Sunday 3 May 2015

#33 THE WAILERS - Paris Theatre, London 1973 (Flac)

Bob Marley & The Wailers
May 24, 1973
Paris Theatre              
London, England

The Wailers gave an extraordinary live concert at the BBC’s Paris Theatre, which was broadcast as part of the ‘Top Gear’ pop music series. Performing on the British radio network for the second time, the Wailers were on their best behaviour, and the performance emerged as a perfect jewel, almost “chamber reggae” in the band’s precision and attention to detail. After a well-meaning but fumbling compere, Pete Drummond, introduced the group to raucous whistles and applause from the Wailers’ loyal West Indian clique, Bob said thank you and the group clicked into the show-opener, “Rastaman Chant.” The band was nervous and Bunny’s opening drumbeat was tentative, but then the Barrett brothers synched in and the angelic Wailers harmony rang out:

Said I here the words of the Rasta man seh/Babylon your throne gone down, gone down/Babylon your throne gone down.

 After three minutes and fifteen seconds of harmony, the Wailers were cut off and the compere began his between-song patter. “That was a chant, which is sort of a roots song for the Wailers, to do with a cult which is Rasta Faria (sic) which a lot of West Indians are turning to, which was extremely popular in the 1920s. Rasta meaning ‘head,’ Faria meaning ‘creator.’ This next number is on their current album, Catch A Fire, composed by Bob Marley. It’s called ‘Slave Driver.’ ” Carly Barrett tapped out the opening beats, and a subdued version followed, driven by Tosh’s cruelly chopping guitar and Wire’s vivid, passionate organ breaks. When the number was through, the compere gently urged the crowd to dance, and the party was under way. A great rendition of “Stop That Train” was next, with Tosh delivering his strongest singing of the tour over the breathless harmonies of Bunny and Bob. The Wailers’ vaunted harmonies were again on display in the a cappella choral intro to  “No More Trouble,” which segued into a hard-rocking groove as soon as the rhythm section kicked in. Tosh followed this with an improvised lyric on “400 Years”: Won’t you come with me/You’re black and you’re proud/So you got to be free,” as the band supplied impeccable dub on the song’s coda. “Look how long…400 years!” Now the intensity of the set was starting to really build. “Midnight Ravers” was a bass/dub showpiece, six minutes of apocalyptic imagery, the “music of stampede” invading the staid precincts of the BBC. 

“Stir It Up” seemed even more of a simmering sex litany when coloured with, Tosh’s obscene wah-wah guitar solo on top of the instrumental passage. “Concrete Jungle” followed fast, Carly rushing the beat a little after a sharp snare intro. Wya made a mistake halfway through the song, starting his solo halfway through the second chorus. Bob shot Wya an evil look and killed the song early, going right into the Wailers’ new clarion call from their forthcoming album, “Get Up Stand Up.” The version was pure 1973 Wailers, brimming with tension, never giving up the fight. The compere announced the last number, and the audience protested vehemently. “Kinky Reggae,” the story of looking for herb in Piccadilly Circus, finished an entrancing set. Backstage after the show, Bob Marley got hot with Wya, who had blown a passage in “Concrete Jungle.” Always the perfectionist, Bob Marley didn’t like mistakes.  

(This review is an extract from the book, Bob Marley - Conquering Lion by Stephen Davis, 1983)
Original notes

BBC "In Concert"
Bootleg: "First Trip" [TDK!] (TDCY-6005)
Source: SBD
Lineage: Silver > xACT > FLAC

01. Rasta Man Chant
02. Slave Driver
03. Stop That Train
04. No More Trouble
05. 400 Years
06. Midnight Ravers
07. Stir It Up
08. Concrete Jungle
09. Get Up, Stand Up
10. Kinky Reggae

I think this is a different source because this version has no announcements at all.
The quality is superb. This sounds like a PreFM recording.


  1. Wow! The original Wailers! This looks very promising.

    Thanks, Mr. Basement, sir.

  2. Thanks, great boot!

  3. Recommend the bootleg Skanking in Boston. Grest concert and sound.

  4. Nice
    one love
    The Wailers sound better than BMW solo