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Jamaican Reggae Icon Jimmy Cliff - Sunfest 2013
Let The Show Begin
It is Sunday May 5th, a few minutes before 3:00 PM, and I am at SunFest, the annual West Palm Beach music and art festival. This is the 31st year of this 5 day festival, featuring 50 bands spanning many music genres. We are waiting for Legendary Jamaican and international reggae star, Jimmy Cliff, to take the stage. A few minutes earlier, I had stopped by another stage to see, the alternative rock band, Bare Naked Ladies do their thing. However, now it was time to grove with, Jamaica's first reggae ambassador to the world. With their equipment tuned and ready, the band members took the stage, and began to play. They whipped the highly enthusiastic, multi-ethnic crowd into a frenzy, with a bass driven version of Rub a Dub Style. Inhibitions thrown to the wind, our hands were in the air, hips were gyrating, all enjoying the moment, anticipating what was to come. Moments later the crowd roared as the youthful looking, energetic, 65 year old Cliff, entered the stage, and launched into his hour and a half set.
Set List And Audience Reaction
Jimmy sang all the fan favorites, many of which, I listened to on the radio, as a boy, growing up in Jamaica. I also have many of these songs in my own music collection. His set included; You Can Get It If You Really Want, Wonderful World Beautiful People, Many Rivers To Cross, Wild World, Struggling Man, Harder They Come, and Vietnam, (which he now substitutes with Afghanistan). Cliff performed each song with such passion, and professionalism, that it is easy to understand why his work is so well recognized and respected by his fans, both in Jamaica, and around the world.
It was so interesting to observe the crowd, as they danced and sang along with Cliff. Many were in their teens. The rest, all the other age groups, ranging from the twenties (20s) to the seventies (70s). People of all colors, and accents were represented. Everyone was having a great time, listening, dancing and singing along with one of their favorite artist.
Encore - 'We Need More'
When the set ended at 4:30 PM, the adoring crowd stood it's ground, and like the orphan, Oliver Twist, begged for more. The artist willingly obliged. We all danced and sang one last time, before reluctantly, leaving the park. It was a beautiful day in sunny West Palm Beach. The music was great. Everyone was in a festive mood - for all intents and purposes, it was a Wonderful World of Beautiful People.