• Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

“The Del Mar Racetrack is a nonsmoking venue” the announcer repeated as a crowd of several thousand gathered not so much for the horses as for the reggae show afterwards. Nevertheless, through a fogbank of smoke, those in attendance were treated to an equally smoking performance by 62-year-old reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, whose strong, clear voice and shuffling feet remained youthful throughout his mix of classics and covers.

Cliff and his well-rehearsed band delivered rousing versions of “The Harder They Come” and “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” sing-a-long covers “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Wild World,” a soul-stirring “Many Rivers to Cross,” and tender acoustic versions of “Bongoman” and “Rivers of Babylon.”

Cliff opened for the lesser-known Matisyahu, supposedly because tenets of his Hasidic faith preclude performance before sundown. However, Matisyahu's later appearance provided a contrast from classic roots reggae to a modern progression of the genre. The singer incorporated techno and rock flavors with mixed results, but his a capella beat-box intro into his signature “King Without a Crown” was innovative, well-executed, and well-recieved. Together, the two artists presented a reggae blend of past, present, and future, just the thing for so many reggae-starved fairground patrons willing to tolerate the smoke.

  • Concert: Jimmy Cliff and Matisyahu
  • Date: August 14
  • Venue: Del Mar Racetrack
  • Seats: trees, stage right
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Founder Aug. 20, 2010 @ 5:53 p.m.

Glad to see Jimmy Cliff is alive and doing well IRIE


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader