This is a repost.  I updated the original blog post with personal testimony from someone who attended one of the shows.  Also updated to include the NME article.

The U.S. dates of the 1979 Survival tour kick off at Harvard University on July 29, 1979.  In late October 1979, Bob Marley and the Wailers score a seven-show slot at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY.  These shows, which run for 4-days straight are very special to the band for several reasons.  This is where Marcus Garvey first reached out to the blacks in Harlem hearkening “look to East Africa, for the crowning of the Black King” – a prophecy which kindles the early flames of the Rastafari Movement.  The shows are also Marley’s first real shot at reaching and teaching the black audience in North America.  In fact, according to Marley biographer Chris Salewicz, it is Bob himself who demands these shows in an effort to deliver a targeted message to this audience.

According to the Black Enterprise magazine issue from September 1983, Bob Marley was the very last performer to play the historic Apollo before it went dark for 5 years.  It reopened in 1984.

black enterprise

A fan who attended one of the shows during the Apollo run left me this message:

“Concerning the Bob Marley concert at the Apollo….there were three shows, in three days….and I made sure I was present for all three…Each show was different…but each unique. The Apollo Theater has 2 balconies…I was in the first balcony …front row center…best seat in the house…I sooo wish at least one of the concerts were on film….Bob rocked the house…so much so, at one point I actually got frightened…at the end of the third and final show…Bob had everyone on their feet singing “Get up Stand up”…of course everyone got up…but it wasn’t until a few minutes into the song that I realized the whole balcony was shaking….literally moving…I kept still to see if it was movement that I was really feeling…sure enough…it was…that’s when I started to hope that the balcony would hold….the balcony was full…even the isles…the Apollo is an old theater…..After the concert , I left feeling fulfilled and exhausted…Bob had taken all my energy…..any time he played NYC I was there….have never been to a concert that could surpass any Bob Marley concert since…….BLESS.”

Bob Marley & The Wailers
The Apollo Theater
New York, NY

1. Positive Vibration
2. I Shot The Sheriff
3. War
4. Exodus
5. Call for Encore
6. No Woman, No Cry
7. Jammin’

Bob Marley & The Wailers
The Apollo Theater
New York, NY

[1] Positive Vibration  [5:00]
[2] Wake Up & Live  [6:11]
[3] The Heathen  [5:08]
[4] One Drop [4:32]
[5] I Shot The Sheriff  [4:39]
[6] Runnin Away  [3:59]
[7] Crazy Baldhead// [1:17]
[8] Zimbabwe  [4:27]
[9] War > [3:24]
[10] No More Trouble [1:47]
[11] Exodus  [7:40]
[12] No Woman No Cry [6:49]
[13] Jammin// [4:27]


Syracuse Post-Standard, December 1979

New Musical Express, November 1979

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