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  • Writer's pictureCurious Fan

Damian & Stephen Marley - College St. Music Hall - New Haven, CT 3/22/24

"Excuse me sir" I heard when someone tapped me on the shoulder while the DJ warmed up the crowd for a sold-out Damian "Jr Gong" and Stephen "Raggamuffin'" Marley show. I turned around to find a Rasta smiling at me in my seat. "Respect mon. I've dropped my spliff under your seat, would you mind grabbing it for me?" I obliged and the man sitting next to me couldn't stop laughing.

There was an electric feel in New Haven last night, perhaps the result of Yale winning their March Madness game just before the show started - cheers could be heard from the bars all down the streets near the venue.

I don't know if I've seen the GA floor so packed, and was thankful for my seat on the rail in the loge. The crowd ramped up the energy before the show began and were singing along to the warm-up music - 2,000 people singing Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam".

It was an energetic and thoroughly enjoyable evening from these two reggae legends. Their set featured music from both singers' own music catalogs, as well as a generous helping of Bob tunes like "Exodus" and "Jammin'" and "Could You Be Loved". You had to smile at the constant presence of Flag Man Judah waiving his lion of Judah flag onstage for the entire show - a symbol of strength, kingship, and bravery.

This show blended nicely the styles of the two brothers - Damian has a rapid-fire dancehall vibe and blistering vocals while Stephen is more laid back and soulful in his delivery. Both danced around the stage for much of the evening. At one point a video of Bob dancing played on a screen behind them, their movements echoing their father's.

Other highlights included Stephen's "The Traffic Jam", "Pimpa's Paradise", "So Much Trouble In The World", "It Was Written", and "Medication".

Shoutout to Firehouse 12 for a great pre-show atmosphere. This converted space has a basement with fantastic drinks, yummy vegan small plates, a recording studio, and an event space. I'm looking forward to going back already.

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