Pato Banton

Live at Maritime Hall: San Francisco

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As the title suggests, this album was recorded live at San Francisco's Maritime Hall during a three-day Bob Marley festival. Appropriately enough and to the audience's obvious delight, Pato Banton kicked off with a medley of "Revelation" and "Exodus"; having grabbed the crowd, the toaster and his band, the Reggae Revolution, never let go. Long ago, Banton took Marley's "One World" theme to heart, and has presented himself as a unifying agent, his live shows a glorious coming together of the entire audience under his aegis. That theme predominated across a set that moved from the optimistic "Stay Positive" to one of reggae's most joyous numbers, "Jamming." "One World (Not Three)" seemed almost tailor-made for this event, although Banton had previously recorded it for a benefit album. Nor should a drug war divide the people, and so the DJ delivered up a witty pro-sinsemilla rap that practically brought the house down, and led beautifully into his own hit "Don't Sniff Coke." A great time was obviously had by all and, as "What the World Needs Now Is Love" faded away, Maritime Hall really was as one. On paper, Banton often comes across as a hopeless romantic, lost in a happy ganja-hazed, rose-colored world. Onstage, his overwhelming belief in the human spirit has a force of faith that cannot be denied. His connection with the audience is equally electric, and people listen spellbound each time he speaks. The simmering band, meanwhile, keeps things cooking, creating evocative moods around the toaster. Live captures much of the magic of Banton's stage show; Marley would be proud of him.

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