Live at the One Love Peace Concert

Peter Tosh

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Live at the One Love Peace Concert Review

by Jo-Ann Greene

One of the most ferocious performances of the artist's career, Peter Tosh was initially ambivalent about appearing at the Peace Concert, held in Kingston on April 22, 1978. There was little peace to be found in Jamaica at the time, and as Tosh has famously said, "I don't want no peace, I want justice." That line, of course, comes from one of his most powerful songs, "Equal Rights," one of seven numbers he played that night. The rest of the set was equally militant, opening with the thunderous intro to "Igziabeher," across "400 Years," "Stepping Razor, and "Burial," and closing with an extended jam through "Legalize It" and "Get Up Stand Up." The Revolutionaries, appearing under the alias Word Sound and Power, accompanied the singer, storming across the songs. Afterwards, Bob Marley would take the stage for his set, and famously bring the leaders of Jamaica's two warring political parties onstage to shake hands. In that moment, Marley's legend as a unifier and peacemaker was sealed for all time. But iconoclastic images aside, it was a gesture he quickly came to rue, better to have put bullets in both their heads, he'd later admit. Marley the ambassador; but it was Tosh who preached the true word that night. Between songs, the singer eloquently spoke at length, soundly condemning both the government and the opposition, demanded an end to police brutality and oppression, and a beginning to the building up of the country and its poverty stricken inhabitants, and insisted that farmers be allowed to grow ganja and the people be able to smoke it in peace. And as for peace itself, "Peace is the diploma you get in the cemetery." Tosh's words caused a firestorm, at least in the press, the crowd met them with shouts of approval. This album offers up Tosh's set in its entirety, speeches and all. The liner notes vividly recreate the events leading up to the concert, as well as the set itself. And to drive home the singer's points, transcribes his words in full, although reproducing them in both English and patois is just a bit patronizing. Five months later, Tosh was arrested for drug possession and beaten so badly he required 30 stitches to close up the wounds to his head. But even that would not quell his fire and incendiary message. Nothing would.

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