It got kind of annoying at the end:
"Which show are you going to see?" they asked.
"The Wailers," I answered.
"The Wailers; Bob Marley's band."
"What? Bob Marley's dead."
"Yeah, but his band is still touring."
I was surprised by the amount of people that had never heard the name The Wailers. But even I, a non-connoisseur of reggae music, knew about Bob Marley and The Wailers. Come to think about it though, why is it Marley and somebody? We don't say Sam Roberts and his band.
Reality is Bob Marley had that special something that set him apart. His persona outgrew the boundaries of his band, his home country and his generation. I know of baby-boomers that listen to Bob, and were introduced to his groovy rhythms from their children. We are still bombarded with countless remixes, reedits and re-releases of Bob's music. We all have our favourite Marley song, and we all have memories, habits and stereotypes associated to Bob's music.
We probably won't be served with beyond-the-grave products from Tupac 25 years from now (or at least I hope so; let the man rest, greedy capitalist scum). Bob Marley though, has truly earned his title of The Legend.
As an aside, I think highly of the man's desire to leave his seed on our planet (being The Legend and all) through an ever-growing number of confirmed illegitimate children, even though it must be kind of a downer to be the child of Bob and not benefit from it in any way.
This year, instead of breaking windows, the CSU decided to jumpstart the educational hostilities (read: the fall semester) with two weeks of celebrations; known as Orientation. Festivities during which, like at Frosh, copious amounts of beer were consumed and a few free shows were organized (just to make the whole thing look like it is not all about beer, but we all know the truth here). That is how Montreal was blessed with a free outdoor show by the Wailers. And it definitely was the whole deal, no doubt about it; the scent of sticky green in the air, Rasta people of all races, and the token young chicks, shaking it up on the big speakers next to the stage.
Well, not really the whole deal, 'cause Bob wasn't there. The crowd did not seem to mind though, with tons of dancing and some singing along.
I doubt that many there had previously heard The Wailers' new music, or knew about their history. Nor were they likely to be aware of the fact that Aston "Family man" Barrett and his brother joined Bob Marley to form The Wailers only after two of its founding members, including the man after which the band was named, Bunny Wailer, left the group.
Does it really matter though? Would Bob have wanted The Wailers to keep touring long after him? I think so; Bob became a legend through his music and his message, and for the students at the show, that night was all about the music. No bling-bling videos on MTV, or ads disguised in reality shows were needed to bring the crowd to The Wailers. The Legend was enough.
At moments during the night, I would close my eyes and go back in time; pretend I was at a Wailers show, with Marley up there, singing on stage. It didn't quite work though; it is not something I could really imagine; it has to be lived.