The last time I saw Jimmy Cliff he had hair. It was in Berkeley or maybe it was Oakland and it was in a garage turned into a place for Reggae.
And to tell you the truth it could have been Peter Tosh and not Jimmy Cliff. There’s a lot I don’t remember about Berkeley and I’m not proud of some of the water under the bridge.
But tonight it all worked out. Bald Jimmy Cliff sang The Harder They Come – TWICE. It was what I came for and to tell the truth I didn’t want to come at all.
But we gave away a zillion tickets on the radio and I said I’d show up a zillion times on the air. So as I was lying in bed for a nap the wife said you better get up and be a man of your word.
I am glad that my wife turned on the light and raised the curtains. For it was a clear and unreasonably cool July night on the shores of Wolf Lake. At sunset, you could look through the stage to see Sears Tower. During “I Can See Clearly Now” I had to go pee but instead I stayed and danced with my wife and kid. The water under the bridge reminds me that I don’t deserve such purity but what the hell – it’s Hammond, Indiana, on a Wednesday night. What kind of heaven could that aspire to be?
Afterwards Jordan who has announced games with me since he was 15 joined us and we headed to take a picture with bald Jimmy Cliff. We wound up last in line because I’m 52 and had to stop at a port-a-potty.
"If you weren’t so old we wouldn’t be last in line," the three of them cajoled. The guy ahead in line named Mike recognized my voice and asked if I was me and I said that I was. "I listen to you every day, man. I told my wife that has to be you."
"It is me," I told him, and I did what I always do - I thanked him for listening. And I mean it. And I mean it also when I say that it was a good night under a moon that a cow jumps over. My wife bumped me with her hip a few times and grabbed my hand and my daughter fetched us beer and Jordan smiled. It was a good Jimmy Cliff night. It doesn't even bother me that I can't remember if it was Jimmy Cliff or Peter Tosh in a bar that was Berkeley or Oakland in 1982.