Listen to Toots and the Maytals on Rhapsody...
Words by: Brian Heisler :: Images by: Tobin Voggesser
Toots and the Maytals :: 04.08.07 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO
An Easter Sunday with reggae legends Toots and the Maytals in the non-denominational house of worship that is the Fox was a religious experience for some attendees.
Toots and the Maytals
Opener Apollo Sunshine provided a nice contrast to Toots in age and style with their youthful, avant-garde rock sound that's becoming a staple at festivals across the nation. From Summer Camp to Langerado, Apollo Sunshine's jagged, jam friendly pop is finding a home in a wide range of music scenes. The band's head-banging and body thrusting, while entirely unlike the Maytals, was well received, especially given it was an audience waiting for classic roots reggae.
In typical reggae fashion, the Maytals opened with 61-year-old Frederick "Toots" Hibbert entering after the first two songs. Holding the mic near his chest, Toots' tattered voice took over. Even at his age, his moves took him all over the stage. Toots introduced one of the band's most famous tunes, saying, "Tonight is a very special night. If someone steps on your toe, don't hurt them. Just tell them pressure's gonna drop." The crowd sang along to "Pressure Drop" as Toots gave fist-pounds to those in the front row.
Toots and the Maytals is one of those legendary groups that should be on every music fan's short list of bands to see before they die. Just to hear a certifiable classic groove like "Funky Kingston" live is special. The band's energy evolved throughout the night, ranging from "Louie, Louie" party sing-a-longs to Toots on acoustic guitar. It was interesting and inspiring to watch a man fighting back the years move a crowd into a jumping frenzy, in much the same way as descendents like Michael Franti do today.
Toots and the Maytals :: 04.08
In a six-song marathon encore, the band turned it up a notch with an alternate twist on John Denver's "Country Roads" for the Colorado crowd and the classic "54-46 That's My Number." Covered in sweat and smiling, the legend took a bow, gave heartfelt goodbye and left the stage as the Maytals shuffled off to the ending of the "Star Spangled Banner."
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