There are a few people who could claim the title of “greatest living reggae artist,” with Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Burning Spear most prominent among them. Toots Hibbert may deserve the crown, however, if for no other reason than by virtue of having introduced the term “reggae” to the world in his Toots and the Maytals 1968 hit “Do the Reggay.” His long string of singles helped him arguably do more to popularize the musical form around the world than anyone but Bob Marley, and he currently holds the record for most No. 1 hits in Jamaica with a staggering 31.

He took the stage Saturday night at the State Theatre in Portland like royalty, striding out to enthusiastic applause, flanked by Maytals older and newer, and resplendent in wraparound sunglasses and a futuristic white outfit that slightly resembled something that a Stormtrooper in “Star Wars” might wear. His set featured wall-to-wall hits to anyone familiar with reggae, and the mood was joyful throughout.

Not just a singer but a full band leader on par with artists such as James Brown and Prince, Toots has a number of tricks that he uses to energize his concerts. He will soften the music considerably and initiate a call-and-response with the audience. After playing catch with three or four increasingly elaborate vocal phrases, the band loudly kicks the beat back in, to impressive effect. For many of his most popular songs, he will play them through, introduce a brief instrumental passage, and then launch into a significantly faster coda.

Toots was a nimble dancer as recently as the early 2000s, and could electrify crowds with his moves. He is now 73 years old, however, and has simplified his dancing down to some basic shuffles and shadowboxing. His voice, however, is as strong as it’s ever been. He’s been compared to Otis Redding throughout his career (even encouraging those comparisons with a cover of “(I’ve Got Dreams) To Remember,” and his voice still sounds as big, and full of character, as that reputation would suggest.

He guided fans through a brisk tour of his biggest hits – such as “Pomps and Pride,” “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pressure Drop” – and made a bigger to-do of other songs. He transformed his eternal “Time Tough” into a gospel revival, drawing the song out in length and inspiring some crowd members to leap skyward during the “higher and higher” refrain. He picked up his guitar for “Funky Kingston,” coloring the instrumentation with little blues licks and giving the song’s epic “na na na” melody an added bit of muscle.

The Maytals were as tight as you could expect from a band with such history, supplying a bed of rhythm that simmered all night and occasionally bringing it to a boil. By the end of the night, during the band’s iconic cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” their presence was almost more felt than heard. On that song, Toots let his three backup singers and the audience sing Denver’s heavenly chorus until the whole room hummed, and it was hard to tell where the music ended and the audience began.

Robert Ker is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.