Articolo tratto dal quotidiano Melody Maker del 14 giugno 1980 pag.17
BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS/JOE JACKSON BAND/AVERAGE WHITE BAND
THE CRYSTAL PALACE GARDEN PARTY
The outdoor rock festival has the same shrivelling effect on me as football crowds and Nuremburg rallies a merciless spectable transforming the ordinary crazed individual into a component of a faceless shapeless mass, focussed on peformers so minute that his/her presence is hopelessly dispersed and sublimated to a purchased notion of "the grand event".
in the case of this garden party the most obsious line of (in)action was to lie back with a well-organised picnic basket and succumb to relaxation or torpor depending on your boredom threshold, and listen to the average with band revelling in their crummy reputation for "sounding like" balck fumk/soulsters.
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if there's any justice in this world a mean band of masked banditos will gallop over from west Norwood and ambush this twisted idea of "good time" music. I don't believe that the pursult of aural pleasure lies in the nerveless vacuum crested by AWB.
Passivity notwithstanding, Joe Jackson manages to crank up the energy level a few notches, espedially with old hits like "look sharp" and a seething "One More Time", and jays it on the line with some new material. "The Evil Eye" is about a Peckham butcher interested in voodoo and boats a kind of stebbing ferocity and tom tom attempt that sin't bad but it's anchored a little too far off the sheroes of Haiti to really bring on tha shivers. "Tfit" - inspired by underhand pinball players - has a better chance.
-and now. "rastafari" This is Bob Marley and the Wailers performing perfectly in a format recalling the optimistic prototypes of rock festivals ("the spirit of Woodstock moves in my bowels" said Jackson). Instead of dying the format has been depoliticised and neutered into the level of "oh didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor".
We are talking here of surrender. Surrender to Marley who pays buck the adulation with extended treatments of many long-loved numbers like "jammin", "rastaman vibration" and an irresistible rendering of "i shot the sheriff" and amplified by a limpid and luscious female chorus; yet the pleasure of recognition is undermined by a diluting of revolutionary zeal. Marley speaks of independence freedom, peace and offers a degree of convinction in "zimbabwe" but - goddamn it- this whole event has as much intensity as a whitered cucumber sandwich. He could play "lively up yourself" a dozem times over and no one would complain.
The professional pleases his audience (no argument) but the compaign is not supposed to exist in retrospect and if Bob Marley is still storming the trenches for the glory of Jah the fervour has disappared today in the bermuda Triangle created by flabby rallies in the name of rock music-