Last night The Wailers came to town and brought with them their positive, uniting message: One Love, Oxford, One Love.
The current lineup of The Wailers includes only one original member: Aston 'Family Man' Barrett on bass. As the band rambled on stage (no big entrance for these laid back players), the crowd began to cheer, but as 'Family Man' appeared this erupted into a wave of adoration for the man who has carried the torch for Bob Marley's globally-loved music and message for over 30 years.
And last night really was a celebration of the best of Marley and The Wailers as they played their way through the infamous album, Legend. 'Could You Be Loved' and 'Buffalo Soldier' were particular standouts but this album has more hits than you can count, and every intro got an elated welcome and full backing for every word from the whole crowd.
As lead singer, Dwayne Anglin clearly cares about the words he has been entrusted with, and as he warmed up, he began to really deliver on Marley's original warmth and depth. People were skanking, swaying, clapping: the happiness was infectious. The whole band were wonderful and Cegee Victory offered stunning backing vocals with the warmest smile of them all. The songs of Legend clearly never get old – even when you've sung them a hundred times or more.
Towering above it all, however, was 'No Woman, No Cry'. This is such a beautiful song and Anglin and the band did it great justice; there was something quite special about how he sang those delicate lines.
Saying that, there was actually something quite emotional about the whole gig. Anglin was keen to promote the Rastafari message of love and unity; 'we are the solution to this confusion,' he said as he sent the message of 'Three Little Birds' to Paris, Syria, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and anyone suffering injustice.
Perhaps it was because it was my first gig since hearing about the Paris attacks, maybe it was because the O2 had stepped up its security to include a metal detector sweep and pat down, but there was a flutter in my stomach as the crowd joined with the band to sing out – to themselves as much to the world – 'don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing, gonna be alright.'