I Can See Clearly Now

If I were on the other side of the Atlantic, I would be trying to survive the dog days of summer. But my first August in the land of fish and chips has seen me spend more time outside wearing jeans than shorts…

That's certainly true - but why is this sign in Leeds?

That’s certainly true – but why is this sign in Leeds?

Which is a bit odd considering that May, June and July actually had their share of warm days. Anyway, advertisements have been plastered all over the city for a temporary “beach” at Millennium Square. As I haven’t felt like going either to Scarborough or Blackpool this summer (where I’ve been told the closest beaches to Leeds are), I figured I would get my beach time in Leeds…

Only to see Millennium Square had turned into a miniature amusement park for kiddies whose sandy area was roughly the size of a kitchen. I guess my next beach visit will have to come outside of this country.

Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff

But a touch of warm weather came to the O2 Academy last night via the music of Jimmy Cliff. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m too familiar with his music – like most people, my knowledge of reggae music is generally centered around Bob Marley. However, I know Mr. Cliff is a legend and it’s not every day I get the chance to see a legend in a certain genre so I thought it would be quite cool to see him in concert.

And apparently, others did because a large crowd came out to see him (although it was a bit difficult for me to judge how many people attended because I was sitting as close to the stage as possible). In general, the audience seemed older than the one that saw Public Enemy at the same venue about two-and-a half weeks ago.

The warmup act....

The warmup act….

Before Jimmy Cliff though, a local duo performed. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their name – but they did mostly covers, including “Could You Be Loved,” “Let’s Stay Together” and “Redemption Song.” I thought they really weren’t anything special at first but they sounded better as their set went on.

Jimmy Cliff and his band

Jimmy Cliff and his band

As for the man himself, as evidenced by the picture above, Jimmy Cliff performed with a band wearing matching orange shirts bearing the image of an Egyptian monarch. He delivered his most famous songs – such as “Wild World,” “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and “Wonderful World, Beautiful People.” Of course, you known he had to do “I Can See Clearly Now” and he did – which got the audience singing in unison. Seemingly, performers save their most famous song for last. Actually, that was the only song of his I really knew before the show. But Mr. Cliff pleased everyone when he told a short story about how he came to record the next song in his set – “The Harder They Come,” which helped launched his career. A song I had never known about until I read his Wikipedia entry prior to the show.

He delivered a fun show

He delivered a fun show

It was as if the show wouldn’t end – there were like three encores, all after Jimmy Cliff performed his two famous tunes (At least, what I think are his most famous tunes). When the show ended, you really couldn’t help but feel irie (Jamaican slang for “happy.”) – a word he shouted several times during the show. Now if only he could help bring Jamaica-like summer weather to Leeds…


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