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Toots & the Maytals with Anders Osborne, The Hamilton, Washington. D.C.- 5/22

Toots and the Maytals played a rare and intimate all-acoustic show at the packed Hamilton Live club in Washington, DC. Anders Osborne opened the show, frequently joking with the crowd, playing “Me and Lola” and “Tripping in Montana”, among a few other gems, and closing his set with a sitar-sounding “Friend of the Devil.”

Toots was supported by Anders Osborne on guitar, and dedicated fans were treated a special guest appearance by The Wailers’ own Junior Marvin. Toots was in great spirits, in spite of his recent incident where a drunken fan threw a vodka bottle at his head in Richmond, requiring a hospital visit and stitches.

Toots busted out age-old classics like “Do the Reggae,” “Time Tough”, “Funky Kingstown,” a very sweet “Sweet and Dandy”, and one of the best “Country Roads” in recent past, which was dedicated to his friend, John Denver, who he said he “missed the same way I miss all people, like Bob Marley.” He also did one of his newer songs, “Celia,” which was about a girl who “took everything important” and left him high and dry. He even joked about that, assuaging his past tragedies with a smile and a laugh. He shared stories with us about how he used to play for no money, but finally got 10 shillings for The Maytals’ first song.

Toots only briefly mentioned the incident and that he needed to get back home to Jamaica in order to get an MRI scan. He didn’t seem to be angry at the kid who threw the bottle, but he couldn’t see how anyone would do something like that (who could?). However, neither his voice nor his wit was affected — he told more stories and jokes than ever. He then busted out Pressure Drop, as a karmic warning to all those in the past who covered his songs without compensation.

Junior joined him on “54-46 was my number” to close out the show. Seeing an all-acoustic show was a rare intimate moment when Toots’ songs shone ever more brightly.

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