Reggae Night XIII
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Starring: Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy & Don Carlos and the Dub Vision Band; Anne Litt, host
Songs performed: Oh Carolina, Boombastic, Strength of a Woman, If U Slip U Slide (You Could Be Mine), Angel, It Wasn’t Me; Luv Me, Luv Me (Shaggy); Wonderful World, Beautiful People; Vietnam (Afghanistan), Wild World, Hard Road to Travel, You Can Get it if You Really Want, The Harder They Come; Under the Sun, Moon and Stars; Rebel Rebel, Many Rivers to Cross, I Can See Clearly Now, One More (Jimmy Cliff)
Comments: Hollywood Bowl presented it’s 13th annual Reggae Night this past weekend. Past headliners have included Maxi Priest, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Ziggy Marley and Sly & Robbie. For me, this was my first real exposure to a full night of this style of music. I was pleasantly surprised that I had a good time.
The first name you think of when you think reggae music is Bob Marley. He was such a huge artist, his influences are still felt today. Surprisingly, none of the artists covered him that night. I was expecting to hear a cover song or two, but it didn’t happen. Currently the Canadian group MAGIC! has had a #1 reggae-inspired hit with the song “Rude.” So reggae music is still vital in today’s marketplace.
First up for the evening was Don Carlos and the Dub Vision Band. Don Carlos first got his start in a group called Black Uhuru. His 7-member band included a 3-piece horn section. With his dreadlocks and full beard, he looked like a typical reggae singer. His songs were decent if a bit non-descript.
The stage rotated and it was time for the next act, Shaggy. He was the one I was the most familiar with for the night. He had a string of hits during the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Dressed in shorts, tank top, and jacket with a Brooklyn ball cap. He got the crowd on their feet, where people stayed for his 45 minute set. His band included a DJ who played snippets of songs including “Blurred Lines,” “Empire State of Mind” and “California Love” in an effort to get the crowd pumped. He still played off his sexiness at 45. He made a point of showing his chest, and he stuck his microphone in his shorts with the tip out like it was a penis. And showed off his dancing and grinding skills too. The songs held up pretty good, and the crowd was really into his performance. He sang a sexy duet with his back-up singer Melissa from an album that was produced by Sly & Robbie. Highlights included “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.”
During the break, Anne Litt (local DJ from KCRW) came out and thanked the artists that performed as well as the radio station for sponsoring the concert.
The finally act of the night was reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. He has been honored with the Jamaican Order of Merit for his achievements in arts and sciences. His first song was performed by his band unplugged, with his band members contributing backing vocals and drum beats. The full band was used for the rest of the night. He proved to be a very spry 66 year old. He was dancing and moving around the stage for his whole set. He said how this was not work for him, it was all fun. Some of the songs had a bit of a political bent included his own “Vietnam” (which was repurposed as “Afghanistan”) as well as “Rebel Rebel.” He commented on how we needed more love in the world, and an end to all wars and violence. He also mentioned his career as an actor as well as writing songs for movies. Highlights for the night included “Wide World,” “You Can Get it if You Really Want” and “I Can See Clearly Now.”
The crowd was very racially diverse, and was there to have a good time. It was fun to watch the people walking to their seats and dancing along to the reggae rhythms as they moved along the walkway. In my opinion, Shaggy was able to move the crowd more, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the headliner next year. But his song catalog is not as diverse or well-rounded as someone like Jimmy Cliff. Both are good entertainers. I also noticed that the crowd thinned some as the night went on… but that might have to do with it being Sunday night. Thanks to all for a fun evening at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.