The photo of an empty Cole Field House tells the story. On September 23, 1980, a wounded lion steps on-stage and makes his way to the microphone in front of a sold-out Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. A tour called “Uprising Tuff Gong” – one that began with much excitement and positivity with Bob Marley and the Wailers taking the stage with Fleetwood Mac in Munchen, Germany on June 1, 1980 was about to come to a close. Bob Marley, perhaps the greatest, most electric live performer the world had ever known, performs his last show.
Although the band has shows locked in for the University of Maryland, Irvine Auditorium in Philly, Stonybrook, NY, and on to Montreal and Toronto, those shows would never be played. Bob Marley was severely ill. He had known it for some time, but never accepted it. He kept pushing and pushing through Europe all summer, his mighty spirit taking over when his body gave out. It all came to a head in NYC several days prior when he collapsed while jogging.
The University of Maryland, College Park was to pay Marley $15,000 to perform. According to the rider to Marley’s contract the band requested the following items for their dressing rooms:
3-gallons pure spring water (non-carbonated)
3-gallons fresh all-natural fruit juice, no sugar, no additives
6 bottles French Muscadet wine
1 bottle Remy Martin VSOP
36 bottles Heinekin beer
Fresh salad/raw vegetables
2 jars pure liquid Jamaican honey
2 fresh lemons
When the concert doesn’t go off as planned, the university is forced to absorb more than $11,000 in up-front expenses. They plan to have Marley as opener for the Grateful Dead at Cole Field House on March 7, 1981. However, by the end of January the university faces the reality that they invested more than $11,000 into a show that would never occur. The Grateful Dead perform to a packed house on March 7, 1981. Marley passes a little more than two months later on May 11, 1981.
All questions and/or concerns to be directed to Dennis Thompson or Viv Phillips.