By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Sports Editor
If heaven consists of standing in white robes, singing endless hymns, most honest humans would admit that doesn’t sound like much fun. But I have an idea now of what singing in heaven might be like. It’s a whole lot of fun.
On Thursday night I stood in a crowd of maybe 1,000 people and belted “No Woman, No Cry” with them in unison. The Wailers, from Kingston, Jamaica, and previously known as Bob Marley and the Wailers, led the crowd in song after song. Everyone but a handful of shadow-dwellers in the back sang every word at the top of their lungs.
How is a Wailers concert like heaven?
Never before have I seen a more diverse group more unified. Young, old, black, white, male, female, cousin, brother. It didn’t matter who you were, what you were wearing or what you looked like.
All eyes were on the stage, and all minds were on the music.
Standing there, I looked around and imagined the roads each person traveled to be in Austin that night. Difficulty and pain spare no one. Yet more than 1,000 people danced together while chanting,
“Everything’s gonna be all right. Everything’s gonna be all right.”
If today I found every person that was there and asked them, “Is everything going to be all right?” I refuse to believe they would all say yes.
But in that moment, surrounded by each other, everything was alright. I believed it. We believed it.
Bob Marley, who died from malignant melanoma on May 11, 1981, understood the power of unity and equality. Even in his absence, his message was unmistakable: we are the same. I left the venue with an inerasable smile across my face.
So how is a Wailers show like heaven?
Let’s just say I could fit the list of differences on a gum wrapper.