Blazed and Confused Tour

by Ora “Tre” Brasel
It was clear from the moment I got to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s parking lot that the fact Snoop Dogg wasn’t playing had not done anything to dim the turnout for this event. Fans from all walks of life were converging on this location to come and witness a summer evening full of good music. Despite the fact that it looked as if we might have to endure a gigantic downpour of rain almost all day leading up to the event, it never came to fruition. So between the nice turnout and the cooperation of the weather, it was a good day for some musical treats.
Coming through the gates was probably the most bewildering thing that happened the entire night. Security picked up on the word “Blazed” in the title of this tour and seemed to want to cut down on any illegal contraband (substances) from entering the premises. Thus every pocket was emptied, every cigarette pack was checked and everyone carrying a lighter without cigarettes was hassled about why they had a lighter. I understand that venues have to go through whatever procedures that they feel fit in order to provide a safe environment, but this all seemed a bit too much to me. I tend not to love feeling like I am in an airport instead of at a concert.
Mickey Avalon was the first act of the day, bringing to the stage his blend of hard beats, lewd lyrics and his love or leave it type of humor. I personally chose to leave it and the rest of his set behind for those who did appreciate it. Maybe it was the overzealous security or the Florida heat that made me so critical of his music, or maybe it was the fact that I felt like I had seen this whole gimmick quite a few times before, only done to much better effect. Regardless of my feelings, there were several inebriated folks who weren’t being as judgmental about his set and seemed to love it.
Thankfully the next stop of the evening was Stephen Marley, who always offers up a perfect blend of his own exquisite music, and that of his father’s as well. It is always a true treat to get to experience Stephen and his very talented band of musicians, who together deliver their tunes straight into your heart and soul. Even if you don’t generally love reggae music, it is hard to resist being sucked into one of Stephen’s sets. This particular night was no exception to that rule. The set offered many surprises that made it an even more wonderful experience than what I was expecting from him. After serenading us with such songs as ‘Mind Control’ and ‘Three Little Birds,’ Stephen announced that he had a bit of a surprise for us, and then he welcomed his brother Julian Marley to the stage. The crowd roared with approval at this inclusion to the already wonderful musical landscape. This wasn’t the last addition of the evening as he invited both his sister Cedella Marley and yet another guest who I couldn’t quite recognize. Other Bob Marley songs that drew great applause and ecstatic reactions were ‘Could You Be Loved,’ ‘Buffalo Soldier’ and ‘Redemption Song.’ After this performance I knew that Slightly Stoopid would have their work cut out for them in order to spread as much happiness as Stephen and his siblings had.
Despite my very limited knowledge of Slightly Stoopid, it was clear that they have a very wide fan base in attendance who were ready to rock out to their band’s tunes. After seeing them perform, it’s easy to understand why this band had been picked by Bradley Nowell of Sublime to be on his Skunk Records label back when they were still in high school. The band has many traits that one could link to Sublime quite easily, but they transcend just being a carbon copy of that band with the addition of an almost jam-band like quality to their performances and sound. Their crowd likewise is a unique blend of jam-band fans, but with punk/reggae sort of twist to them. At one point one of the female fans in attendance ripped off her shirt and charged around in one of the most happy-go-lucky mosh pits I’ve even seen. There really seemed to be no violence to the pits that broke out, or anywhere else that I saw. That might have been due to the contribution of the same contraband, a.k.a. illegal substances, that security had tried so hard to eliminate from the showing being blazed up all over the place. The biggest highlight of the set for me was when Stephen Marley joined Slightly Stoopid on stage and performed the Bob Marley classic ‘Roots, Rock, Reggae.’ Eventually after sweating, smiling and smelling (I cannot smoke myself, sadly, especially at times like these) all sorts of illegal substances the whole show through, it was just about time for things to end, and end they did on a high note of course! The band concluded their encore with an acoustic cover of the Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Baby, I Like It Raw,’ which pretty much left everybody Blazed & Confused in the best possible way when the night was finally over.