Martha’s Vineyard, MA – “Lessons from Jimmy Cliff” – Hot Tin Roof – October 1, 1998

I had the transformational experience of seeing Jimmy Cliff in concert last night at The Hot Tin Roof and he taught me a thing or five about performance. 

Spiritually naked, he selflessly flung himself about the stage.  I stared up into his spotlight like a moth drawn less to a flame than a blow torch.  Jimmy lost himself in the music like a shaman in a trance. Unselfishly, he let the audience invade him like his body didn’t even belong to him, like it was just a doorway, a portal, a lifeboat, a river on its way to an open mind and for the price of admission, everyone was invited on the journey.

Jimmy darted around the stage like he were trying to evade hunters, and then belted as though he’d been hit. He swallowed the stage whole with the force of a whale and then released it to his band with equal force and gravity. He was angelic and on fire and I fell in love with him.

I pray someday to be so unselfish as to leave my body on stage for my audience and just be a channel; a portal that leads to freedom and open water. But for that, I’ll have to become unselfconscious. 

‘Hard… not impossible,’ I thought to myself.

I found this ring at a flea market recently, It’s a circular depiction of a young Buddha leaning into enlightenment.  It reminds me of what Jimmy was giving his audience. I think I’ll wear it on stage from now on to remind me how to lose myself.

Reader interactions

3 Replies to “Martha’s Vineyard, MA – “Lessons from Jimmy Cliff” – Hot Tin Roof – October 1, 1998”

  1. In Gassho 😌🙏🪷🧘‍♀️🌄

  2. I remember that concert well, we had a guest who was unaware of Jimmy Cliff (!)prior to attending with us. We loved every minute of this legend’s HTR performance-Vietnam was what I remember as so impactful.

    Love your description of your transformational experience that evening, that it stayed with you

    1. Wow, so cool to hear about a different angle caught in Jimmy’s wide spot light that night. Thanks Jan

Comments are closed.