On the 6th of July, 1980, Bob Marley played the now historic concert at Dalymount Park on Dublin’s north side, at that time the home of the soccer club Bohemians. Rumours abound that Bob had a kickaround before the concert. Dublin was only starting to experience major music acts and Bob Marley was a major attraction.
A local band, Bagatelle, set the scene with their classic “Summer in Dublin,” an enduring romantic ballad about our city. The main support act The Average White Band was cancelled, and this caused a lot of confusion outside the gig as the promoters were advising customers when they entered the grounds, offering refunds of the £7 admission charge. No takers, so it was obvious everyone was there to see Bob.
The replacement support act was Ronnie Lane and Friends, who did a short set. Ronnie was at this time suffering from MS. The I Threes did a warm up before Bob arrived on stage. He was promoting his “Uprising album” and played most of the tracks during the first half of the concert.
A crowd who had gathered outside the event were let in for free halfway through the concert. I remember them excitedly running across the field. I was also reminded recently that “Redemption Song” got a special dedication to the “Irish struggle” in reference to the troubles in Northern Ireland. He was quite animated on stage, and the photographs I took show this clearly. There were no obvious signs he was unwell. I believe this was the last outdoor concert before his untimely death a short time later.
From a photographer’s perspective, I was badly placed in the middle of the crowd, and with so much dancing around me it was difficult to get sharp images with a 70-200mm zoom lens on a Nikon EL2 – not one of Nikon’s best cameras, the battery drained if the film advance lever was left open.
My usual film was ILFORD HP5 and I often pushed it to EI 1600 for concerts, developing it in D76. I used to buy bulk rolls and manually load the small canisters in the darkroom. I got a few decent images and only ever displayed these online. Recently one of the Marley websites asked me to put all the images from the gig up on their site which I did and got a very positive response from Marley fans all over the world.
Photographs don’t always have to be technically perfect to be appreciated. I have always enjoyed printing the negs and recently revisited the negs producing a few 16*12 Lith prints on some old photographic paper. I now have all of them on Flickr and on YouTube.
I have them listed as non-commercial share alike, which has meant they’ve been used on blogs and websites all over the world on Marley projects and Marley fans.
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