Last night I was extremely excited to be offered tickets to see the legend that is Dr. Jimmy Cliff. A musician I grew up listening to with my sister - who accompanied me to the gig for what was her third time – Dr. Cliff is never someone I imagined I’d be fortunate enough to see.
With an AMAZING band, Cliff was energy personified wining and strutting across the stage, jumping and doing running dances with great fervour whilst singing pitch perfect notes. Opening the show with You Can Get It If You Really Want, Cliff’s rich and soulful voice is as thick as it is on his records, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with – live!
A singer, songwriter, musician and actor far from his 63 years, Cliff was in great spirits and was dressed in a red jacket and Jamaican flag scarf – as is his trademark stage uniform. Sticking true to his protesting guns, Cliff dedicated Treat The Youths Right to the recent riots in London. For a time it wasn’t quite clear whose side (if any) Cliff was on; the rioters or justice. However with the lyrics; “Treat the youths right instead of putting up a fight. Treat the youths right or you'll been playin' with dynamite”, there was no doubt that he wants to see youth empowerment.
With an electric atmosphere filling the intimate IndigO2, the crowd were eager to get the party started enjoying the DJs before the show. Scheduled to come on at 9 pm, Cliff surprised us all by coming onto the stage five minutes early – a punctuality unheard of in live music.
Uplifting the crowd with anthems such as The Harder They Come, I Can See Clearly Now, Vietnam and Sitting In Limbo, I had a great time. ultimate favourite tracks were Many Rivers To Cross; which was as superb as I’d imagined and the meditative Rivers Of Babylon; which was simply mesmerising – holding a special place in my heart as this was the first song I learnt to play on the keyboard.
With out-of-this world backing vocals, the Cliff classics really came to life aided by beautiful trumpet and saxophone playing. The drummers were also amazing and on several occasions Cliff picked up a guitar and sat at his own drums, giving the crowd some strong reggae beats to move our hips to.
A cross-section that I’ve not seen at any other gig to date, there were fans of all nationalities and ages united by a love of reggae. Teasing the eager crowd with several encores; the first of which had us chanting “Just One More”, Cliff re-emerged with Wonderful People, Beautiful World leaving us all on a musical high.
Next up at the IndigO2 is Grammy-nominated, Soul and R+B star Charlie Wilson of 80s group The Gap Band on 16th September. Having collaborated with artists from Kanye West and R. Kelly to Jamie Foxx and Justin Timberlake, expect to hear hits such as Oops Upside Your Head, Party Train, Yearning For Your Love and Outstanding.