Bob Marley live at the Hammersmith Odeon 1976 (Rare Photos, Audio)

Bob Marley and the Wailers performed at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on June 16, 1976 in support of the Rastaman Vibration album.  Rock journalist Charles Shaar Murray wrote about the show in the June 26, 1976 issue of New Musical Express.

“RIOTS LAST NIGHT they said, marauding hordes of smart, mean kids swarming around getting illegal all over the place with property and the concession stands in the foyer. Not so much heaving the moneylenders out of the temple as ripping off their money, but as an analogy it will suffice.

Like Patti Smith’s Roundhouse set, the Wailers’ show gets things on which don’t happen in the ordinary crappy-old-theatre-with-humorous-acoustics type of environment such as is provided by town councils throughout the land.

The audience, by sheer sleight of spirit, made the rows of seating devices perform the Big Vanish just as they shut the house lights down, transforming Hammersmith Odeon into an environment fit for whoopin’, hollerin’, jumpin’ up and down, dancin’ tight, singin’ along and all kinds of other things that folks do when someone’s blowing clouds of inexorably exhilarating and ineluctably – you should excuse the expression – positive vibrations all over them.

‘Trenchtown Rock’ filled the hall, occupying space and time like a solid object. Down front it was like dancing in the middle of a choir while simultaneously getting a full massage – plus you could watch the band with the I Threes dignifiedly swaying in the breeze and Marley moving fluid behind the centre mike, radiating the strange kind of intensity of presence that a small man can use to dominate a stage.

The band generated what seemed like infinite quantities of energy with virtually no apparent effort; a judoka’s mastery of stress and balance and pressure. Family Man Barrett’s bass was a huge granite Odin humming in the bath and the guitars did almost as much dancing as the audience.

Marley himself was, they tell me, in a state of near exhaustion that night, but even in that state he moved more earth than any of your friendly neighbourhood gentlemen of leisure can do after fifteen hours sleep and half a gram of coke up the nasal cavities. What was so totally overwhelming about the show was not so much “The Music” itself (inasmuch as music can never be considered as something existing separately from the people who produce it and those who listen to it) as the audience, and what got the audience the way they were.

See, these days a lot of dull, brutish music is played dully and brutally and received dully and brutally by audiences grown accustomed to no better. The Wailers’ audience last Wednesday night reacted passionately and joyously to the music, singing and dancing along with it quite spontaneously and unpromptedly, without seeming at all dominated by or subordinate to the performer.

What was happening was quite simple. The audience regarded Marley as their champion and their voice, but not as their master or leader or prophet. They regarded him with admiration and affection, not with the kind of fawning idolatry that greets Bowie or Jagger. Similarly, Marley manifests respect and friendship to the people he plays to, a welcome change from the usual rampant condescension.

Maybe it was once like that in rock and roll: an audience hearing people instead of instruments and a man instead of lyrics, and not wanting or needing to cluster round the back to watch him get into his car after the gig.”

Included here is a review of the show by Mick Farron from the June 26, 1976 issue of New Musical Express as well as live audio from the performance.

Marleyodeon(1)2



Included here are photos from the show taken by photographer Anwar Hussein.