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First Word: Bob Marley Experience Planned for Mandalay Bay

by Ohio Digital News

The answer to what’s happening with Mandalay Bay’s former buffet space is about to be answered. Seriously, two sentences from now.

This sentence serves no purpose other than to build suspense.

We hear Mandalay Bay is getting a new theater venue devoted to the life and legacy of Bob Marley. We understand the headline sort of ruined the suspense, but this scoop doesn’t have a lot of details available, so we have to pad our story as much as possible.

Bob Marley’s nickname was “Tuff Gong,” a name of respect due to his fighting abilities, talent and greater purpose in life.

Bob Marley, for our fellow youths who may be unfamiliar with him, was a Jamaican reggae icon.

Marley sold 20 million records during his career, featuring songs like: “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Buffalo Soldiers,” “No Woman, No Cry” and many others.

Rolling Stone did a whole thing.

Trust us, fellow youths, Bob Marley was a big deal.

Here’s what Rolling Stone said of him: “He is a cornerstone of 21st-century music, covered by countless singers, sampled and quoted by just as many hip-hop acts whose artistic DNA is shaped profoundly by the Jamaican music Marley defined. His artistic fearlessness and social commitment remain an inspiration to activists, musical and otherwise. His songs of freedom have become universal hymns.”

If that doesn’t impress you much, Marley supported the legalization of cannabis.

So, it is with great pride, despite not being able to tell many reggae songs apart, that we share the rumor Mandalay Bay will overhaul its buffet space to accommodate a venue devoted to honoring the life and music of Bob Marley. And presumably The Wailers, his band.

The space will reportedly have live musical performances, but will also be immersive and interactive, as that’s the law in Las Vegas now.

That’s about as much as we know about the Bob Marley show at Mandalay Bay at this juncture. We’ll let you know more when the show/attraction is officially announced.

Las Vegas is sort of a magnet for estates (and the companies representing them) to capitalize on famous dead people. Sometimes, such homages are entertaining and a fitting tribute to immensely talented individuals who are no longer with us. Bob Marley died in 1981 at 36 years old.

Other times, the shows are cringeworthy money grabs. Sorry, Whitney Houston fans, creepy.

There was an interactive exhibit called “One Love Experience,” which had a “full Marley archive of previously-unseen photos and memorabilia, and a 2,000-square foot One Love Forest, which is an immersive trip through Marley’s Jamaica, complete with cannabis garden and ‘a giant joint.’” We are assured this isn’t that, but we trust it will have lots of Bob Marley paraphernalia. Fingers crossed on the giant joint. Never forget Las Vegas was once home to the world’s largest bong, “Bongzilla,” at the now-shuttered Cannabition weed museum at downtown’s Neonopolis. It was immersive and interactive.

The traveling Bob Marley exhibit was produced by the Marley family and Terrapin Station Entertainment, a division of Sony Music.

Our biggest concern with a Bob Marley show or attraction is how much time has passed since his zenith. His last album, “Uprising,” was released in 1980. That’s 44 years ago.

Granted, older-skewing audiences are highly coveted by casinos, as they tend to have more disposable income. Still, reggae is a niche genre. According to one study, reggae ranks 10th on the list of most popular music genres worldwide, after Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Dance/Electronic, Latin, Classical/Opera, R&B, Soundtracks and Country.

Far be it from us to predict challenges for a venue that hasn’t even been announced yet! We want everyone to do splendidly.

On the bright side, a Bob Marley entertainment venue would represent some much-needed diversity on the Las Vegas Strip.

The world could use more songs about love and unity and assurances things are going to be all right, so we’re up for some Bob Marley.

More to come.

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