Northern Nevada reggae fans were feeling irie on Sunday -- a sea of waving arms undulating in adoration as Bob Marley's Wailers played the Rose Ballroom at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks.
From the tables at back of room the scene on stage looked like a Wailers' concert from before Marley's death at 36 in 1981. Lead singer Gary Nesta Pines was sporting the 2-foot-long dreadlocks and denim shirt Marley wore at the end of his life. The sound was right there, too, with Wailers classics such as "Get Up, Stand Up," "Stir It Up" and "Slave Driver" taking people to familiar territory.
Marley, Peter Tosh and Neville Livingston, aka Bunny Wailer, formed the Wailers originally in 1963. They branched the music into three directions 10 years later.
The lineup has changed over the years. The current band includes Aston "Familyman" Barrett laying down the "riddum" on bass, Al Anderson on guitar, Earl "Wya" Lindo on organ, Earl Fitzsimmons on keyboard, Pine on lead vocals, Drummie Zeb on drums and Everton Gayle on saxophone. Throw in a couple of female back-up singers and you've got a Wailers experience.
The band came together musically and riled up the crowd Sunday despite a couple impediments. First, Nevada is not exactly known as reggae country. Yet the group of black musicians from Jamaica traveled to this land of sage and made folks jump and jive -- one obstacle overcome. Also, band leader Aston "Familyman" Barrett has filed a legal action against the estate of the late Bob Marley to "prevent the continuous and systematic degradation of his and the Wailers role in the Bob Marley legend," which sits a bit uncomfortably with some fans.
Barrett says he and his late brother, Carlton, have not been paid for several songs written on various Bob Marley & the Wailers albums.
He says the estate of Bob Marley has forgotten the wisdom of the very songs The Wailers are performing.
"Through the cash, they got blindfolded," he said. "In Jamaica they would say "they get rich and switch."
The Wailers played the Hyatt in Incline Village on Monday.
ON THE NET
The Wailer' official Web site at: www.wailers.com