By the time Bob Marley had been filmed for Rockpalast, Europe’s greatest rock’n’roll TV show, he had been a global icon for six years and a star in Jamaica for 15. He had almost single-handedly created a situation where the music he’d helped formulate, reggae, had become accepted across the world as a serious art form rather than being dismissed as a novelty. He’d toured internationally on a regular basis. He had been shot in an assassination attempt and was forced into exile from Jamaica as a consequence. Months later he’d persuaded Jamaica’s political leaders into an act of reluctant on-stage unity in a bid to halt the factional violence in the island’s ghettos. He’d suffered a nasty toe injury (supposedly the consequence of a tackle in a football kickabout), a medical problem that would soon return with deadly consequences. He was running a record company and studio, Tuff Gong. He had thousands of people in his homeland wanting a piece of his glory, and was supporting dozens more as a living example of trickle-down economics.
So you might assume that Bob was tired when he hit Dortmund Westfalenhalle on 13 June 1980, the concert presented by Rockpalast and part of his Uprising tour. But if he was weary, it does not show here. You will never see a more vibrant, energetic and resonant affirmation of Bob Marley’s power than the one revealed on this DVD, and the singer is riveting from the moment he steps onto the stage. This movie is a testament to his astonishing energy and magnetism. If he felt out of sorts, he wasn’t going to let that affect him. He had Work to do.