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Ziggy Marley brings reggae beat along with memories of father

Big fun was had at Artpark Wednesday night. People were dancing, bopping around to the rhythms and engaging with the band in rowdy call and response patterns.

Yep. It was reggae night with Ziggy Marley and everybody in the audience seemed to be having a good time.

It was a full house, packed from end to end with people standing, sitting, walking and, in general, taking up space.

Marley's backup band consisted of two keyboard players, a pair of guitarists, a bass player, a percussionist and a kit drummer, along with a backup singer. Everybody was on top of their game with brief, to-the-point solos and a unity of purpose -- following Ziggy wherever he wanted to go and to do whatever it took to get him there.

From the time the band hit the stage with a killer take on "Let Jah Will Be Done", things were hopping. Their playing was precise yet deceptively relaxed, the sort of thing that people mean when they talk about making something look easy. It's a craft.

Set lists for bands often find their way onto the Internet and they can offer a view about how the group approaches their business. Some musicians never or rarely break from a specific set of songs in a specific order while others keep changing things up, seeking ways to keep themselves and their fans interested. Marley subscribes to the later viewpoint.

Songs that appeared earlier in the tour vanished to be replaced with their siblings.

While there were tunes drawn from Ziggy Marley's most recent album, they played nicely with classic material written by his father, the late, great Bob Marley, floated in and out of Wednesday's performance like golden oldies, refreshed by their appearance alongside the newer works.

The central core of the concert came during a lengthy mashup of "Justice," Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up," and "War" that made a good concert even more impressive. These were followed up with some more impressive gems, including Bob's "Jammin'," Ziggy's "Black Cat" and a couple encores.

Aqueous, a young Buffalo based jam band, opened the evening with a batch of tunes featuring brief melodies sandwiching stretched-out spaces within which they could improvise. While there were less people in the pit fronting the stage than there would be later for Marley, there were still an impressive number of folks moving their bodies in rough approximation to the rhythms.

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Ziggy Marley    

Wednesday evening on the Artpark Outdoor Amphitheater, 450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston.