Jimmy Cliff Shines at Coachella
April 14, 2012
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Cliff refused to lose any of his spunk despite ominous clouds and winds that had the stage lights swirling so furiously that the crew took a few minutes to huddle up and discuss the situation.
After a slight delay, the reggae legend launched his set with an energetic “You Can Get What You Want,” quickly moving the crowd up front from concerned to carefree as they tried to dance along and match his split kicks.
Cliff then slowed it down with the gospel-minded “Many Rivers To Cross,” a somber tune that matched the bleak day at Coachella, before picking it up with a cover of Rancid’s punk ska track “Ruby Soho,” which appears on Cliff’s 2011 EP, Sacred Fire.
Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, who produced the EP, was part of Cliff’s backing band. Looking dapper in his black suit, white shirt, black tie and fedora, Armstrong rocked his Gretsch signature model.
Cliff pulled out two statement songs with “Save Our Planet” and “Vietnam” before rolling right into a fan favorite with a cover of Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now.” Although the dark clouds never abated, Cliff undeniably added a dose of brightness to Friday’s bill.
The 64-year-old closed out his set with his classic cut “The Harder They Come” and “One More,” leaving fans to chant the chorus long after he’d left the stage.