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Docurama presents
Bob Marley Live In Concert (1996)

"There's a natural mystic blowing through the air..."
- lyric from Natural Mystic

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 26, 2002

Stars: Bob Marley
Director: Stefan Paul

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:24m:55s
Release Date: August 27, 2002
UPC: 767685950333
Genre: music

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B A-BB- B-

DVD Review

Bob Marley died of cancer in May of 1981, at the age of 36. A legend and an icon in his native Jamaica, Marley had come to symbolize the entire reggae sound to the rest of the world, especially after his landmark Rastaman Vibration release in the mid-1970s. At that time I was about fifteen, and was turned onto the Rastaman Vibration album. The music came as a real cultural flip-flop to me, compared to what most of my friends were listening to at the time (Led Zeppelin, Foghat, etc). When Marley played in Chicago, on what we didn't realize would be his last area concert, I missed out on tickets. I told myself I would catch him next time. Obviously, that would never happen.

Luckily for me, Stefan Paul has put together Bob Marley Live In Concert, a disc that captures never before seen concert footage from a 1979 Reggae Sunsplash appearance, and an incredible 1980 show in Dortmund, Germany. Through the course of fifteen songs, Marley and his large band breeze a strong representation of his deep catalog, and the set includes some of his bigger hits, like I Shot The Sheriff, One Love and the always moving Redemption Song. Midway through, Paul includes footage from Marley's 1981 funeral in Jamaica, an event that appears to have had the same impact as the death of a major political leader would have had.

Marley sang about love and freedom. His death was a creative loss to the world of music, but this Stefan Paul concert disc is a good video account of Marley's final tour.

Track List:

Natural Mystic
I Shot The Sheriff
War/No More Trouble
No Woman 'No Cry
Redemption Song
Could You Be Loved
We Can Make It Work
Natty Dread
Is This Love
Get Up, Stand Up
Coming In From The Cold
Lively Up Yourself

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.33:1 full-frame image, this concert disc consists of a number of different pieces of source material, and the quality varies greatly. The majority is made up of Marley's 1980 Dortmund, Germany concert, and the image quality is very good. The 16mm and 35mm footage was transferred into Digi-Beta, which dramatically boosted the richness of the colors. There is minimal grain, and the deep blues of the concert lighting are reproduced well, with no major color bloom. The Montego Bay footage is very grainy, and the colors are slightly washed out. Likewise, Marley's funeral footage is rather grainy, too.

This disc is more of a historical document than anything else, and the noticeable variance in image quality is minor.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Docurama has included two audio options for this release: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo. Only use the 2.0 stereo option if you absolutely have to, because it is regrettably flat and lifeless. The 5.1 track is dramatically fuller, and provides substantially more depth to Marley's music, though there are moments where the high ends turn a little muddy. The surviving Reggae Sunsplash concert footage from 1979 has the weakest sound quality on the disc, with a noticeable amount of crackle. The German concert from 1980, which makes up the bulk of this disc, is a major improvement. The rear channels are used sparingly.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Regret To Inform, Speaking In Strings, Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, Paul Taylor Dancemaker, Fastpitch, Sound And Fury, Sophie B. Hawkins: The Cream Will Rise, Todd McFarlane: The Devil You Know
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Discography
Extras Review: Roger Steffen, co-author of Bob Marley: Spirit Dancer, provides three pages of detailed notes on the reggae icon in the disc's insert booklet. The information is not just a quick Marley primer, but it also compliments the disc's concert footage by supplying some additional background on the Stefan Paul's attempts to get the film made. The fifteen songs feature optional English subtitles, which is a nice touch. A brief Marley bio and full discography is also included.

A set of Docurama trailers and promotional blurbs fills out the remainder of the extras.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

This is more than just a concert disc. It points out Marley's undisputed impact on not just reggae, but on the Jamaican people, too. The concert footage collected by director Stefan Paul has never been seen before, and the sad irony of much of it having been recorded less than a year prior to Marley's death makes it that much more dramatic. If you ever tapped your foot to One Love, then you might want to consider adding Bob Marley Live In Concert to your DVD collection



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