The last thing I expected from Niagara Falls on New Year´s Eve was a free outdoor reggae concert. This was just last year, the 2011-2012 celebration. I was in the U.S. visiting family with my Mexican girlfriend. Even though Michigan isn’t particularly close to the falls, and being Mexican she isn’t allowed to enter Canada without a visa (Canada is the more scenic side), like many foreigners she really wanted to see Niagara Falls.
So I changed the dead battery of my old beat up car and we drove out across Ohio and Buffalo to Niagara Falls, New York. We made a pass through the little casino / buffet town and saw the stage getting set up. Who would be playing? The Wailers. The Wailers? Bob Marley’s band? Sure enough, and not only that – it was outside and free. It would start around 11.
The only original member of the band is bass player Aston "Family Man" Barrett. But he’s an important member – some of those bass lines, like in Stir It Up, are legendary. He’s an ultra chill guy who barely moves on stage. You can see that his playing is as economical as possible.
Completing the band were his son on keyboards and sometimes bass, two lead singers, guitar, drums and another keyboard that handled the horn lines. They played the biggest hits (but not all of them) in a two-plus hour show, which really makes you realize how many classic songs Bob Marley wrote.
It wasn’t too cold, and at set break before midnight it was only a 10-minute walk down to the falls, which were all lit up with colors, on both sides. The Wailers are back!