Bob Marley’s Uprising Live! 3LP set follows a DVD of the same title, issued a few years back, drawn from Marley and the Wailers’ historic June 1980 Rockpalast appearance on German television. In recognition of the reggae king’s 75th birthday, the performance comes back around in two new format choices; standard black or limited edition yellow vinyl. It’s an historically valuable relic regardless, now four decades old, as it marks what would be Marley’s last major tour; cancer would take the Jamaican superstar less than a year later.
Musically, it’s the revolutionary Rasta and his 10-piece group, including the rare lineup that featured both Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on guitar, maneuvering tightly in the midst of their final European run. A quartet of tracks from Marley’s backing vocalists, I Threes, strikes the match for a fire Tuff Gong stokes to a 19-song inferno including perpetually enduring Bob favorites, “I Shot The Sheriff” and “No Woman, No Cry.” He’s a mystical captain among the exceptional crew; uniting the ever funky wonk of paired keyboardists- ‘Wire’ Lindo and Tyrone Downie- with the unit’s nonpareil rhythm siblings, bassist Family Man and drummer Carlton Barrett; this is an exceptionally well-drilled one-drop machine.
At this stage of Bob’s story, he was years removed from the rude boy Trenchtown trinity of Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer. This band was his alone, and forging across the Continent as a global force in support of Marley’s Uprising album released just a few weeks before the show. Given the pro source material, the audio mix is of relatively high fidelity; stray audience cheers and raucous crowd response can be a bit noisy at times. Still, both are bittersweet proof of the frenzied reaction Marley and his ensemble were generating at this moment captured within the still-ascending arc of the legend’s career.