Justin Thomas Photography

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Crystal Palace Bowl, London - 7/6/1980


I’d missed Marley’s legendary gig at The Lyceum and the album was on my turntable constantly. I was a huge fan and was determined to get shots of him at The Crystal Palace Bowl. There was a big lake in front of the stage which must have been 100 feet from the front row of the audience. I realised the only way I would get any frames would be to shoot from the water. I left my case with a friend, put 4 films in my rolled up shirt sleeves and a couple of spliffs in my top pocket and waded in holding my camera above my head. There was lots of duckweed and it was very difficult to stay upright with the water over my waist. Towards the end I managed to get closer to the stage, but there were about 100 diehard fans there as well, and it was extremely slippery. I was worried about falling in the water and ruining my camera and film, as I had already dropped one used roll in the water whilst changing film. It was fantastic to get that close to him especially as it turned out to be his last ever London show. There were no signs that cancer had already taken hold of him and he played one of the most dynamic, spiritual sets it’s ever been my pleasure to witness. A true legend!

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