Jimmy Cliff was bringing reggae music to the masses before Bob Marley and on Thursday night he blessed Bury St Edmunds with his presence - The Apex crowd was not disappointed.
He and his band brought a mix of music from the 60s right up to his more currently acclaimed Grammy award-winning 2013 Rebirth album.
The band warmed the audience up well before the great man’s introduction when one might have been fooled into thinking, because he took to a chair, that being the ambassador for his genre of music for more than 40 years had taken its toll.
But after the first song, Bongo Man, Jimmy stood dancing for the remainder of his set with an energy and passion of a man half his age.
He looked a sprightly figure at 67 years young, and time has been kind to his vocals as he can still hold a note whilst moving well on stage.
At one point during the crowd-pleasing rendition of You Can Get It If You Really Want he kicked up his foot, reaching head height.
Jimmy requested the audience’s participation and he was not let down by the eclectic mix of people who had come to enjoy him.
The Jamaican legend was well assisted during the chorus of his cover of Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now, his own version having been used in the film Cool Runnings.
His anti-war song, Vietnam, was famously described by Bob Dylan as ‘the greatest protest song ever written’ and still seems relevant in view of the more recent conflict he has added to the end of the number.
The highlight, though, had to be songs from a film Jimmy Cliff starred in, The Harder They Come, the soundtrack from which is considered responsible for spreading reggae music across the globe.
The Harder They Come brought the house down and Many Rivers to Cross was delivered in such a way you could not help but be moved by it.
Jimmy has been awarded two Grammys, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and has been awarded Jamaica’s Order of Merit.
On this performance you can easily see why - he is truly a legend.
Long live Jimmy Cliff!