Bob Marley Upstages The Commodores | MIDNIGHT RAVER
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Bob Marley Upstages The Commodores

The purpose of the blog is to add to the archive of legendary roots reggae artists by profiling shows, interviews, writings, appearances, and the like.

This week, we find Bob Marley and the Wailers on the North American leg of their 1980 tour.  It is September 1980, and they are playing two shows with The Commodores at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  Unfortunately, this is Bob’s last trip through New York, and the U.S. for that matter (although he does return to Miami, FL in April 1981 after leaving Dr. Issel’s clinic in Bavaria).

I have included a review of the show by Robert Palmer, which was published on September 23, 1980 in the New York Times.  Ironically, September 23, 1980 is the same day that Marley plays his last show at The Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The review can be accessed here.

As the review explains, these shows are of note because Marley plays his music live to a predominantly African-American, mainstream funk and soul audience for the first time.

One of our readers recently shared his experience at this show:

“I was young, about 16, and went to the concert with friends. We went to see Marley but stayed for the whole show. It was a very mellow and relaxed vibe where we were sitting (pretty high up stage right). I remember just sitting back and listening when Marley was on, pure music. It changed to a more commercial feeling when the Commodores played. It was like the stage transformed from a mellow living room (Marley) to a glitzy stage set (Commodores in white suits) — strange transition. But I also really remember Kurtis Blow rapping at the beginning of the show — had never heard anything like that before.”

I have also included an audio recording of the show.  Enjoy!

Bob Marley Backstage at Madison Square Garden, 1980

 Photographer: Lindsay Donald

The included concert audio is a matrix soundboard/audience recording from the September 20, 1980 show.  I have included a setlist along with the recording.

Setlist:

Natural Mystic
Positive Vibration
Burnin’ and Lootin’
Them Belly Full
The Heathen
Running Away / Crazy Baldheads
Zimbabwe
Zion Train
War / No More Trouble
I Shot The Sheriff
No Woman No Cry
Jammin’
Exodus
Encore:
Could You Be Loved


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Comments

  1. John says:

    This blog is great, keep up the meticulous detail!

  2. marleyrkives says:

    thanks for supporting!

  3. Antti says:

    I too love this blog. Thanks for sharing!

  4. gus says:

    thankYouuuuuuu
    from my magic Uruguay ; )

    [img]http://i.imgur.com/uqdeX.jpg[/img]

    hopefully will arrive some Don Carlos here ► the melodious nightingale : )))

  5. gus says:

    thankYouuuuuuu
    from my magic Uruguay ; )

    http://i.imgur.com/uqdeX.jpg

    hopefully will arrive some Don Carlos here ► the melodious nightingale : )))

  6. Dr.HJ says:

    Thanks for posting. I was at this concert in 1980. Unforgettable.

    1. marleyrkives says:

      If you’d like to write a short paragraph about your experience at the show I’ll include it in the post…

  7. Dr.HJ says:

    I was young, about 16, and went to the concert with friends. We went to see Marley but stayed for the whole show. It was a very mellow and relaxed vibe where we were sitting (pretty high up stage right). I remember just sitting back and listening when Marley was on, pure music. It changed to a more commercial feeling when the Commodores played. It was like the stage transformed from a mellow living room (Marley) to a glitzy stage set (Commodores in white suits) — strange transition. But I also really remember Kurtis Blow rapping at the beginning of the show — had never heard anything like that before.

  8. Sami says:

    Agreed! Great Blog! I thought ‘Could You Be Loved’ was in here somewhere, in the new Marley 2012 Doc. they play the start of Bob singing this song @MSG opening for the commodores. Cant get the full video of it anywhere, and cant find it in this full audio recording!
    Any1 able to HELP?

    1. marleyrkives says:

      The MSG footage in Marley is actually the concert from Germany 1980. Could You Be Loved was not played at MSG 1978 but at MSG 1980.

      1. marleyrkives says:

        In fact, I shared the entire Germany concert video here a few weeks ago. Do a search…

  9. If there was ever a time machine built. I would transport myself back to this concert to experience the magic!

  10. Kimberly says:

    I was blessed to be there. I was hanging out with Lionel Richie, never got to meet Bob but while he was on stage, met Mick Jagger; he & Jerry Hall were hanging out with Bob, backstage in MSGs green room. His songs were echoing through the building. We went out to the audience for a few, I got separated from the guy I was with who had our backstage pass & had to ‘battle’ NYC cops to get backstage (my ride was there) again. Luckily, Brenda Richie, (Lionel’s wife then) told the cops to let me back. I have the pics!!! Thanks for your site. I’ve lived in Jamaica for a while and visited many times but not in almost 30 years! I need to go back before…. Thanks again, what a great life moment – your site brought it back like it was only yesterday. Kimberly in San Jose.

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