With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Jimmy Cliff – O2 Academy, Leeds – Monday 18th August 2014 August 19, 2014


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I bought a couple of tickets for this gig on a whim a few weeks ago. I have always liked Jimmy Cliff and I still have a ‘best of’ and the soundtrack for ‘The Harder They Come’ in my collection. Back in the olden days I owned maybe half a dozen Jimmy Cliff 7 inch vinyl 45 rpm records. My lovely wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman) came with me. But I had warned her that the Academy was not a seated venue.

Anyway the lack of seats was not a problem at all as this quickly became one of the best gigs either of us had ever been to. Jimmy is a true entertainer; magnificent stage presence, fabulous rapport with his audience, an amazing band and, even after all these years a wonderful voice. It’s so hard to believe that he has been recording and playing live for more than 50 years! He opened with the sparse but supreme “Bongo Man A Come” which he seamlessly blended into a cover of the classic Ethiopians song “Rivers Of Babylon”. The proper one that includes the Far-I references, not the bland and sanitised rubbish that Boney M had a hit with in the late 70s. from the off Mr Cliff had the whole audience eating out of his hands. When he said sing, we did. When he said shout, we did. When he said wave your hands, we did. When he said jump, we did. When he said clap, yes you guessed it, we did!

jimmy cliff

All the hits were there “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Miss Jamaica”, “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”, “Many Rivers To Cross”, “The Harder They Come”, “Sitting In Limbo”, “The World Is Upside Down”, “Hard Road To Travel” and an excellent “Vietnam” which he used as a chance to plead for world peace by replacing the chorus with references to other world conflicts and trouble spots; Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and more.

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The cover versions that Jimmy has done over the years always seemed carefully selected and he performed them magnificently tonight. These included Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”, Johnny Nash’s “I Can see Clearly Now” and a rather excellent song from the Lion King, “Hakuna Matata”. Catwoman and I had sore feet by the end of the evening from all the fancy footwork we attempted. We danced the Ska, rocksteady, reggae and others like nobody was watching. There was some really mental dancing going on around us too. In fact the audience may have been more worn out than Jimmy Cliff at the end. He still looked fresh after remaining on stage for nearly two hours including three encores. When he comes back to dear old Blighty I will definitely be in the queue for tickets and I urge you to do the same. You will not be disappointed! And finally, please note that none of the pictures or the videos on this post were filmed by me. I was too busy enjoying the show! None f them are actually from this show either.

 

“And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go may lie a reason you were alive, but you’ll never know” October 6, 2011


I know he wasn’t a singer, musician or songwriter but Steve Jobs sure as hell left an incredible mark on the music industry. His genius, foresight and innovation has fundamentally changed the way we buy/ obtain our music and indeed how we listen to it. Are there many households, or even people, in the world that don’t have an Apple product that can play music? iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac even if you have none of those you may have iTunes on your pc. I think that names like iPod will become synonymous with portable music players in the same way that ball point pens are mostly called biros and vacuum cleaners are mostly called Hoovers (although Dyson may take that crown in the long run)

Back in my schooldays inventors and innovators were old, dead or probably wearing a white coat in a secret nondescript lab somewhere in the world. This generation of innovators, inventors and geniuses (or should that be genii?) are much more visible. For example are there any of these names that you don’t recognise; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg?

His life is also a lesson for those who focus on a formal qualification being the golden ticket to a successful career. Mr Jobs dropped out of college, did that stop him having a great career? I think not! In addition to the music related innovations that he was responsible for he also put a lot of money, time and effort into Pixar. So you could argue that he also helped to save Disney studios, who frankly would have been on their knees without Pixar.

Steve Jobs will be sadly missed. In my opinion whatever you may think of Apple from a corporate perspective it would be very difficult to argue that this wasn’t a truly great man. RIP Steve Jobs.

I have tried to think of the most appropriate music I could with which to mourn his passing and celebrate his life. I have chosen a few tracks from what the previously available Ping function on iTunes revealed as his favourite albums a few years ago. Enjoy and celebrate the life of a great man.

 

 
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