Bob Marley, “Is This Love” from Uprising Live! (2014)

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The picture is grainy, the sound far too tinny. Still, there’s no denying the magic going on here, as Bob Marley returns for one of the last times to the ageless “Is This Love.” We hear him, even at the end, trying new things — as the tandem synthesizers of Tyrone Downie and ‘Wire’ Lindo give this concert a funky fresh edge.

Uprising Live, issued for the first time ever on DVD via Eagle Rock Entertainment, brings us back to a Rockpalast broadcast from what would be Marley’s final tour in the summer 1980. Dates would continue into the U.S. that September before Marley fell ill. Lovingly restored to the best possible quality by Cedella and Ziggy Marley, this film showcases the more religious direction Bob Marley and the Wailers had taken on their then-newly released Uprising — perhaps best heard on “Redemption Song” — while weaving in a number of favorites from his stirring catalog, like “Is This Love.”

Elsewhere, they offer brawny, emotional updates of of “No Woman, No Cry,” “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Could You Be Loved,” the latter of which is also from Uprising. Marley returns “I Shot the Sheriff” to its original owner, imbuing with far more muscular power than did Eric Clapton — and likewise offers a transendent take on the title track from his own 1977 album Exodus.

That all of this arrives just before what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday on February 6, 2015 only adds to the sense of sad wonder surrounding this performance. There simply aren’t enough Marley concert films, making Uprising Live! — whatever ever its technological limitations — a gift for all of us.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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