UB40 plus Special Guests ‘For the Many’ Tour review
O2 City Hall, Newcastle
Last year, as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, UB40 released their first new album in five years, as well as embarking on a 40 date UK tour. Friday night, InNewcastle went along to City Hall, to see the band fronted by founding members Robin Campbell, Brian Travers, Jimmy Brown, Earl Falconer and Norman Hassan. And long-time members Duncan Campbell, Martin Meredith, Laurence Parry and Tony Mullings, perform.
In case you’re reading this and aren’t already aware, in 2008 frontman Ali Campbell left the band. Followed by keyboardist Micky Virtue, then Astro in 2013. Duncan Campbell joining the original band as vocalist.
The evening kicked off with first of two support acts, Kioko. Kioko are a reggae/ska/pop band, also hailing from Birmingham. Playing pop music, but with a reggae style all whilst jumping about the stage, Kioko have to be the best support act I have seen at any gig.
The seven-piece high energy band have claimed that whilst performing, they’re all about having a good time on stage, and it’s clear that is exactly what they do. Having performed at festivals including Glastonbury in 2016, Kiokos’ Caribbean influenced music is catchy, upbeat and had the auditorium on their feet from the off. Their performance of Dua Lipas ‘One Kiss’ was outstanding, along with their oldest and biggest hit ‘Deadly Roots’.
Second support Act of the evening was Gold Dubs. A DJ also from Birmingham mixing, Reggae, Dub, Ragga and Garage. Over the next half hour Gold Dubs continued the party mood giving us well known tracks including ‘Good Thing Going’, Bob Marleys ‘Don’t you Worry’ and 1993 Apache Indian chart hit ‘Boomshakala’. Spectacular start to the show. I’d experienced both festival and nightclub vibes, and neither artists are what I’d ordinarily listen too.
Audience well and truly geared up for the evening, it was time for UB40 to take the stage. Over the next two hours solid the band performed a mix of older tracks along with those from their recent album ‘For the Many’. But although lesser familiar material, the audience danced on through those numbers regardless.
Although as expected it was the bigger tracks which caught the audience’s full attention and gained the biggest reaction. ‘King’, ‘Cherry Oh Baby’, and ‘One in 10’ went down particularly well. I went along to this gig to stand in for another member of the InNewcastle team, so I wasn’t familiar with any of the bands tracks apart from the bigger numbers. But this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the show.
It was the encore which got the biggest reaction and was the highlight of the night for me. Showcasing ‘Red Red Wine’ ft Gilly G , ‘Kingston Town’ and an incredible performance of ‘Falling in Love’. One of my favourite tracks from the 90s. And although it wasn’t Ali singing with his distinctive voice, it still worked for me. Outstanding.
The band connected well with the audience, encouraging singing and dancing. There was a real laid-back atmosphere about the evening. Members of the audience were leaving their seats to walk down to the front row to take photos of the band without any objection from security. It felt like I was at a party with UB40 performing rather than an actual concert. Kioko were even amongst the audience mixing with their fans, something I’d never expect to see at a gig.
Overall, an awesome night with a knock out show from the band. I must also give a mention to the brass trio who were clearly enjoying performing, looked super dapper in their waste coats and gave a big band appearance to the set.
I felt more like I had seen three big artists perform rather than UB40 and two support acts. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from Kioko and Gold Dubs in the future.
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Disclosure: All Reviews have been provided by gifted opportunities or press access offered to us in return for an open and honest review. All reviews are subject to the opinion of the reviewer.
Review written by Louise Sharp at https://louisealexasharp.com