Jimmy Cliff Live At The Myer Music Bowl

It was Commonwealth Games time in Melbourne Town, and the visitors and locals had combined to turn these couple of weeks into a festive season not to be forgotten. With a series of free concerts from world class performers, Festival Melbourne 2006 was a cracking 11 days of entertainment.One of the first of these shows was reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. One of music’s most loved and enduring performers, Jimmy was set to give Melbournians something to remember. The crowds starting flocking early, and those that did were treated to an incredible performance from The Renegades Steel Orchestra. With more than a dozen members on stage, this group created incredible sounds through percussion. The highlight of their set was a fantastic version of ‘No Woman No Cry’ which had a lot of the crowd on their feet dancing away.

But there was no doubt who the star of the show was. From the moment he took the stage, Jimmy Cliff was the main event, and proceeded to rip into hit after hit after hit, with all the gusto of someone who was completely in love with what they did, not someone playing in a foreign country for free.

It was plain to see that a lot of the crowd weren’t familiar with Jimmy’s music. Well, that’s what they thought at the start. Each song turned into a sing-along, punters quickly recognising tunes such as ‘Many Rivers To Cross’, ‘I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone’ and ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’.

Jimmy himself was in magnificent form right from the start. Dancing around the stage with the energy of an 18 year old in a striking red outfit, his enthusiasm was infectious. By the time Jimmy broke into a version of ‘Hakuna Matata’ the 10,000+ people there were going bananas themselves.

Forget Libby Lenton, forget Jana Pittman, one of the highlights of the Commonwealth Games for those who saw it was undoubtedly the fantastic performance from Jimmy Cliff and his band. A night not to be forgotten.