Jimmy Cliff at the Minnesota Zoo, 8/7/10

Jimmy Cliff
August 7, 2010
Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

Jimmy Cliff didn't let the heat (or his age) slow him down in an electrified performance of protest music, songs of hope and a stellar delivery of his most well known songs from one of the most popular reggae records of all time, the soundtrack to the film "The Harder they Come."

Right out of the gate with his biggest hits, "Wonderful World, Beautiful People," "Sitting in Limbo" and "You Can Get it if you Really Want" Cliff's golden voice sounded as sweet as ever. Decked out in a flashy yellow suit and golden shoes that accented his swift dance moves all night, Jimmy Cliff, who just turned 62 and his troupe of young and talented back up musicians blazed through an extensive set giving his music the energy necessary to keep the sold out crowd at the Minnesota Zoo on it's feet all night.

Jimmy Cliff at the Minnesota Zoo, 8/7/10
Photos by Steve Cohen

Jimmy appropriately updated the "best protest song" Bob Dylan has ever heard, "Vietnam" to "Afghanistan" not preaching too much to the audience but letting the songs speak prophetically to the times of the day. Enlightening and spiritually inspiring the audience in call and response about the state of the world and his concern for the environment Cliff and company never slowed down but brought the music to a rock steady groove with some of his more well known covers including Cat Steven's "Wild World", Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" and back into his own trademark song of personal empowerment, "The Harder they Come."

Paying homage to his native Jamaica the set wound down to a simmer as the stage, now adorned with Jamaican drums and percussion for a traditional drum circle and Niyabinghi chants for a medley that would wind down allowing for each musician to take their own bow and exit, eventually leaving just the bassist in a stone cold groove to close out the set and of course leaving the ecstatic audience wanting more.

Personal Bias: I have yet to see a bad gig at the Minnesota Zoo.
The Crowd: A great mix of young and old reggae fans of all stripes, sizes and dancing abilities.
Random Notebook Dump: "Way better than I expected this to be!"
Overheard in the Crowd: "Can you please sit down?" "Are you serious? This IS a reggae concert!"

"Wonderful World, Beautiful People"
"Sitting in Limbo"
"You Can Get it if You Really Want"
"Wild World"
"One More"
"Save Our Planet"
"I Can See Clearly Now"
"The World Is Upside Down"
"Many Rivers to Cross"
"The Harder they Come"
"Rebel Rebel"
"Rivers of Babylon"
"Treat the Youths Right"
"You are my Rub a Dub"

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