Marley and his band the Wailers were very good in concert. His most popular live albums generally were recorded in the mid-1970s. But I've always wanted a good recording from the last year he performed on stage, in 1980.
Before I continue, a little explanation of his personal history is necessary. Marley was diagnosed with a kind of skin cancer on his foot in 1977. He had some minor surgery, removing a toenail and some surrounding skin. For the next few years, he was fine. In 1980, he put out the album "Uprising" and then started a big world tour in the middle of the year. But in September 1980, his health took a drastic turn for the worse. He collapsed while jogging in New York City, and was taken to the hospital. It was discovered that his cancer had spread to his heart, lungs, and liver, and he was only given a month or two to live. Despite this, he put on a concert in Pittsburgh the next day. It was his last concert. He managed to hang on longer than expected, but he died in May 1981, at only the age of 36.
The reason I mention all that is because currently the only live album from 1980 is called "Live Forever," and it's taken from that very last concert he did in Pittsburgh. I think this was a terrible decision by the record company, because he didn't go out on a high note. For that show, his health clearly got to him, and he could barely make it through the show. I recommend do NOT listen to that album.
A much better way to remember his last year is to listen to a concert from earlier in the summer, when he was on tour in Europe. Luckily, there are multiple excellent soundboard bootlegs from that leg of the tour, especially shows in Milan, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, Deeside, Britain, and Paris, France. I listened to all of them. The sound is fantastic on all of them, with the best of them equaling the sound on the live "Live Forever" album. For years, I had the Milan show in my collection. But just a few days ago, I found the Paris show, and I've decided that was the best one of all.
I think this could be my favorite Marley concert recording. Not only is the sound quality great, but I really like the set list. His 1980 shows have some of my favorite songs from the end of his career that the other official live albums don't have, such as "Redemption Song," "Coming In from the Cold," Could You Be Loved," and "Is This Love." It's much like a greatest hits overview of his entire musical career.
There were some problems with the recording, but I was able to fix them. One weird aspect of the recording was that one of the stereo channels was much louder than the other one. I edited each song to bring them to a better balance. I did still keep one channel a bit louder though, since that's the one where most of the lead vocals were.
Additionally, the song "Jammin'" was cut in the middle, with a minute or two missing. I did an edit to stitch the two parts together. Luckily, the break was in a spot where I don't think you'll notice anything missing at all. Also, there were a few seconds of feedback here and there on some of the later songs, especially "Could You Be Loved" and "Kinky Reggae." I was able to fix those by patching in music from elsewhere in the song.
Finally, the recording of the last song "Get Up, Stand Up," ended a couple of minutes before the song ended. I used the version of the song from the Milan concert to give that an ending. These only a few seconds of music from that version, but then a long applause from the crowd that fades out. It wasn't a good match musically, so I got it over with as quickly as possible to give the song a proper ending.
The Paris portion of the concert is an hour and 31 minutes long. Since I knew of three other excellent soundboards from the same tour, I checked to see if they had any different songs. The set list was pretty much the same from night to night, but he did throw in some variations. So I added two songs from the Zurich show to the very start of the album ("Talkin' Blues" and "We and Them"), and then one from the Deeside one as the third song ("Coming In from the Cold"). (The Milan show didn't have any songs not played in Paris.) If you add in those three extra songs, this album totals an hour and 44 minutes.
01 Talkin' Blues (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
02 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
03 We and Them (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
04 Coming In from the Cold (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
05 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
06 Positive Vibration (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
07 Revolution (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
08 I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
09 War - No More Trouble (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
10 Zimbabwe (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
11 Zion Train (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
12 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
13 No Woman, No Cry (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
14 Lively Up Yourself (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
15 Jammin' [Edit] (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
16 Exodus (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
17 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
18 Redemption Song (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
19 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
20 Natty Dread (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
21 Work (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
22 Is This Love (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
23 Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
24 Roots, Rock, Reggae (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
25 Kinky Reggae (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
26 Get Up, Stand Up [Edit] (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
I'm happy to say that the cover art photo is from the exact concert in question.