Lucky Dube- Show Me Respect
(Final show in San Francisco)
Story and photos by Lee Abel
You can not love somebody if you don’t respect them. So even if we don’t agree with certain things in life, if we respect each other, everything will be cool. ~ Lucky Dube
September 12, 2007 – San Francisco, CA – As Lucky Dube bounded on to the Ruby Skye stage, grabbed the mic, and began to sing Reggae Strong, the SanFrancisco crowd exploded with joy, swaying with arms raised high. This was the final stop in Lucky’s month long tour across America.
It has been four years since the African Reggae King toured the West Coast, and this time he came to share his new CD, Respect. A finely crafted album, Respect is filled with songs that are poignant, cautionary , and hopeful. The music is rich and layered, classic Reggae with African soul. I recommend listening with headphones. With his always-tight band and trio of harmonious female singers, he alternated between such classics as House of Exile and Prisoner, to more recent grooves such as Ding Ding Licky Licky Licky Bong, and several songs off the new CD, including the title track Respect and Shut Up (if you cant say something good about somebody,just shut up.)
Full of energy, with a voice that easily rose from the deep grumble of a Zulu chant to soaring heights in Remember Me, Lucky moved smoothly around the stage, from singing and dancing to playing keyboards and drums. While Gabisile, Bellina and Tonique, dressed in brightly colored African attire, sang and swayed, and the musicians kicked up their feet, the crowd screamed and surged forward, threatening to knock the superstar off the stage! He swiftly steppedback to a safer spot mid-stage. Even if its bad, it’s still good, was Lucky’s intro to a new song, Celebrate Life, which acknowledges life’s difficulties, while encouraging us to always make the best of it. And he certainly has made the best of his. Growing up black and poor in apartheid South Africa,he not only beat the odds to survive, but to make a difference.
With the release of Together as One, he wa sthe first black artist to be given airtime on white radio in South Africa. He featured heavily in the anti-apartheid movement, from helping to educate new voters to preaching unity in a divided population. Today, he continues to be critical and vocal about government corruption and misplaced social values. His world is safer now, and certainly more comfortable, but Lucky Dube continues to sound out for justice while praying for a better world.