Photo by David Corio
“Look, he’s sitting down - I think he’s in pain.”
That’s the quote I recall my mum, or maybe my aunt saying, as aged around eight, starving and thirsty, with my cousins, brothers and aunts and uncles, I sat in Crystal Palace Park on the hillside facing the live stage, and I recognised a track which had played at home often - “I Shot The Sheriff”.
It was a hot sunny day, I was boiling, and finally my mum got some frozen watermelon in a cellophane bag for us all to share and it was the best thing I’d had all afternoon. People were chilled out on picnic blankets all around us. Nobody seemed to have any money on them, and neither did they care.
At one point, my brother and cousins and I left to walk back to my aunt’s flat (with the really cool naked lady surfing mural, sadly now redecorated over) to get a drink, and came back, the only concern by the men manning the gate was that we were potentially about to make off with their Irn Bru and Cherryade. Otherwise we were free to wander.
If only we’d known at the time it was one of the world’s greatest reggae icons, and possibly the last time he’d appear in concert here… maybe I’d have paid more attention to what the grown-ups were saying instead of listening to my stomach grumble and feeling my throat dry out.
From what I’ve learned since though, there were additional factors in the air potentially contributing to my discomfort. But I was glad to recognise the song, even though I was too young to understand anything about fame or the man himself…
Photo by Tankfield