Here is what Marley archivist Jack Low had to say about Bob Marley and the Wailers’ tour of Japan in April 1979. For those who are not aware of Jack Lowe, not only is he a legendary archivist, but he also worked for some time as the Marley estate’s archivist:
“Japan was one of Bob’s favorite places in the world. This is where Bob Marley first found out about Sushi and how it was made. This ended up being a piece of his diet until he went to Zion. I hope all of you had the chance to check out some of Bob Marley & The Wailers Japan shows they are magical.
My story about Japan comes from 2001 when I met up with some other Bob Marley collectors from the Distant Drums magazine in New Jersey for the first and only so called Wailers fest. I have to say it was a meeting on the brains of a global magnitude. These were the main men who collected Bob Marley’s music. The names are names that can go down in the history books. James Wilson of the famous bobmarley.freeserve.co.uk , Gael Doyen from France, Matthew Smith of Jamaica, Hideki from Japan, Paul Johnson from the United States, Mohammed from Pakistan, Cory Nyberg from the United States, Lowell Taubman from United States, and myself. There are some serious Marley collectors that were not there that I wish were here are just to name a few, Lex Poindexter, Jeremy Collingswood, Julian Schimdt, Roger Steffens, Glen Lockley just to name a few.
To make a long story short while we where all meeting we got wind of someone in Japan that recorded all of the Japan shows from the audience. What a score!!! I almost fell over when we found out. It was not just some bogus person it was the real deal. Luckily he loved soul and we found some soul music to trade this person to get the full 1979 Bob Marley and the Wailers Japan Show.
Most people might look at set lists of the Japan shows and say to themselves that these concerts do not seem to be the set list tour as many 1979 shows. Many fans do not realize that the Japan tour is part of the Babylon By Bus tour and not the Survival 1979 tour. The set lists might be similar to the 1978 tour but the songs themselves are extremely different all together. The reason why the sound is so different is that the Bob Marley and the Wailers got a chance to go to the Yamaha production plant and pick out new instruments. This in itself brings a different sound to the tour of Japan and makes it historic.
This is also a new place Bob Marley and the Wailers have never played before. The Wailers seem to taking a liking to Japan, and play extended versions of each song. For me personally the show from Japan that is the most amazing is the April 6th show from 1979. I personally am not a huge fan of “I Shot The Sheriff” but this night makes me a believer. Bob pulls out all the stops and keeps on singing when the band stops. This leads to a 2 min jam with Bob on vocals. This to me shows how special Japan is to Bob Marley and the Wailers… “
For a detailed profile of The Wailers tour of Japan, please check out Martijn Huisman’s essay:
The show from Nakano Sun Plaza on April 10, 1979 is truly one of the best sounding shows from the 1979 tour. Unfortunately, the show has been officially released as a live recording in Japan. Therefore, I cannot share for download. I have however streamed it here for listening.
1. Positive Vibration
2. Concrete Jungle
3. I Shot The Sheriff
4. No Woman No Cry
5. Lively Up Yourself
6. War/No More Trouble
7. Running Away/Crazy Baldheads
8. The Heathen
10. Is This Love
11. Get Up Stand Up