Remembering Bob Marley: Performing Live At The Rainbow Theatre In 1977
Bob Marley’s remarkable life ended after just 36 years when he sadly died on this date in 1981. Within those 36 years, Marley forever changed human cultures, spreading the reggae music of his native Jamaica and a message of social justice around the world.
Marley’s transcendence was evident when he appeared in concert, exuding a captivating presence that entertained and informed many attentive audiences. In the decades since his death, Marley’s legacy has grown beyond an ambassador of reggae to a full-fledged music icon that surpasses genre or label.
In honor of that lasting legacy, below is footage from the landmark Bob Marley & The Wailers concert from June 4, 1977, at the Rainbow Theatre in London. The show ended up being the final night of the tour in support of the group’s acclaimed album, Exodus, when Marley’s toe injury from playing soccer forced the cancelation of the following two Rainbow Theatre concerts and the entire United States leg of the tour.
Released last year in support of the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project, the June 4th concert at the Rainbow featured Marley joined by a Wailers lineup of Aston “Familyman” Barrett on bass, Carlton Barrett on drums, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Julian “Junior” Marvin on guitar and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. Also onstage were backing vocalists the I Threes composed of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Bob Marley’s widow, Rita Marley.
The performance began with “Trenchtown Rock,” reminding the British audience of music’s anesthetic impact. The rest of the setlist featured many now-classic Marley songs like the well-known “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “Lively Up Yourself,” alongside lesser-known tracks like “The Heathen.” The concert wrapped with a three-song encore consisting of feel-good favorite “Jamming,” the anthemic “Get Up, Stand Up” and the energetic Exodus title track.
Watch and/or stream Bob Marley & The Wailers’ June 4, 1977 concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London below: