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Bob Marley & the Wailers: Live Forever – The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA September 23, 1980
If for no other reason, the 1980 performance documented on Live Forever will be remembered as the final performance by reggae king Bob Marley. Performance-wise, well, it wasn’t like Marley knew that it would be his last show, so this set sounds remarkably similar to the previous Uprising tour shows. That, however, never diminishes the righteous and powerful energy that Marley brought to the stage every night, even though he was battling the cancer that would eventually kill him in May 1981. Here, as at every show, the band—complete with the I-Threes and one of his strongest backing ensembles—grooves tight and instep, with Marley fired-up, moved by words and music, ganja and crowd energy. Numerous classics arrive early—“Positive Vibration,” “Burnin’ and Lootin’,” “Them Belly Full,” “No Woman, No Cry,”—but the show’s also heavy on later material. Where Babylon by Bus featured live renderings of early Marley, this offering closes the musical timeline and showcases his songwriting development and growth through a scorching “Zion Train” and an infectious “Coming in from the Cold”> “Could You Be Loved?” as well as a militant “Zimbabwe,” a pumping “Jamming” and the defiant “Work.” Fittingly, the most important song of Marley’s career, “Get Up, Stand Up,” serves as the finale.
A feature article on this performance appears in the March issue of Relix.
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