The Wailers open UK tour in style by warming up a wintry night with Bob Marley reggae classics

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.
The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

It may have been lashing with rain and blowing a gale outside, but for a couple of hours, a wintry night in Newcastle was transformed into a breezy, Jamaican summer party.

That's because Bob Marley's legendary backing band The Wailers chose the O2 Academy for the opening night of their UK tour, with guitarist Donald Kinsey and Tyrone Dowie on keyboards remaining from the classic '70s line-up.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

And they thrilled the crowd on Friday night with some of reggae`s finest moments, from Is This Love and I Shot The Sheriff, to No Woman No Cry and Get Up. The hits just kept coming.

The Wailers didn't stop there though as they dug deep into their rich catalogue with a wonderful, pulsating Rastaman Vibration, Heathen and Survival, not to mention the classic Johnny Was, sounding so fresh and vibrant, you`d think they were recorded yesterday.

Josh David Barrett had the unenviable task of singing those parts that have become part of the Bob Marley legend, and if truth be told he did an astonishing job of paying respect to the originals while bringing his own youthful twist to those songs.

With original drummer Carlton Barrett no longer with us, it was left to his nephew and son of original bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett to fill the drum stool, and no doubt his dad, sat at the back of the stage throughout the show, felt a glow of pride that the family legacy was in safe hands.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

A stunning reggae reworking of Johnny B. Goode gave Donald Kinsey the microphone and a platform to show some chops. and a platform to show some chops. With the brand new It's Alright pointing the way to the future it was left to the supreme groove of Exodus to transform the floor into a heaving, swaying mass of people.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

The Wailers performing at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.