To paraphrase what John Lennon said of Chuck Berry and apply it to Bob Marley's impact on his chosen musical genre, one could easily opine: "If you tried to give reggae another name, you might call it 'Bob Marley.'"
Approaching the 30th anniversary of the Legend's death on May 11, his towering, iconic stature still puts all other reggae artists in its long shadow and now his last recorded concert performance sees release as Live Forever: The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA, September 23, 1980.
The 19 song set -- on two CDs -- contains reggae classics familiar to most ears, such as "Redemption Song," "Exodus" and the timeless anthem "Get Up Stand Up." Other staples like "No Woman No Cry," "Is This Love" and "Jammin'," are performed in extended and alternately arranged versions, showing Marley and longtime backing ensemble The Wailers were unafraid to tinker with their signature songs -- to the obvious delight of the crowd.
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Mixed with these classics are fine takes on other politicized songs such as "Burnin' and Lootin'," "Them Belly Full" and "Zimbabwe" and the whole concert has a palpable celebratory feel -- a genuine communion between the musical messengers and those receiving their message.
Despite some occasional feedback, the quality of the live recording is tremendous, making Live Forever: The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA, September 23, 1980 an important addition to Marley's surprisingly slight official live album discography.
It's available now. See a short video about the album, including interview snippets of Marley's widow Rita and some of his children, here.