21 October 2018 (gig)
23 October 2018
Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert almost packed in performing live after being hit by a glass bottle on stage in 2013. It’s a blessing he did not.
At the age of 75, the Toots and the Maytals lead singer was in fine voice. His dance moves may be slightly more reserved these days but his passion and soul for his craft are anything but.
Accompanied by a seven-piece backing band made up of members old and new, Toots led the way, galvanising a packed 02 Academy with his soulful renditions of favourites Louie Louie, Pressure Drop and Funky Kingston. The 1968 hit, Do the Reggay, which gave the then emerging genre its name, had the crowd in full voice. And new song, Marley, was warmly received.
Born in Jamaica in 1946, the youngest of seven children, Toots grew up singing gospel music in church and has been ‘preaching’ ever since with the Toots and the Maytals sound being a unique and powerful combination of Gospel, Reggae, Ska and Rock.
And it’s not just music being preached. After being hit by a glass bottle on stage in 2013, the 75-year-old tried to get the assailant’s jail sentence reduced by writing a letter to the judge which read: “He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect.” In 1966, Toots himself had a short stay in jail. At that time, he wrote the Reggae classic ‘54-46 Was My Number’ (in reference to the number of his cell block).
The energetic show closed with Take Me Home Country Roads and Monkey Man, by which point the O2 crowd were bouncing, before a fittingly powerful encore of ’54-56’ had the crowd singing back at the band and long into the night.