UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell @ Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide 5/10/2022

It was a massive mid-week crowd at Hindley Street Music Hall to experience the reggae vibes of UB40 featuring Ali Campbell which was their first tour here in four years. This show was next level and even being off the road during the Covid years you would hardly know it. Ali Campbell’s vocals were top shelf and backed by his nine-piece band they took their fans on a journey covering their back catalogue which was full of hits. There is no denying the impact they have made in defining and shaping reggae music with over seventy million records sold.

The atmosphere in the venue was fantastic and when the band opened with Here I Am (Come and Take Me) the crowd were excitable finding plenty of voice to sing-along. It was sheer joy as the band played The Way You Do the Things You Do, Homely Girl and Groovin’ (Out on Life). Ali Campbell acknowledged that it had been a while since their last visit playing the title track Unprecedented from their new album which seems reflective of the times right now. The crowd really got going on the tribute to Coolio who had passed away covering his big hit Gangsta’s Paradise.

Keeping that vibe going on the tribute to Prince with Purple Rain really did bring the crowd in to it singing in unison, it was definitely a highlight of the show. I’m not sure how many fans knew they had a new album out but What Have I Done featured. Impossible Love (Honey Boy cover), Seems To Me I’m Losing and I’ll Be There were solid. The main set finished on Guns in the Ghetto and Jimmy Cliff cover Many Rivers to Cross. It was hard to believe that the main set just nudged over the hour mark and people around me were hoping that even more of the hits will be wheeled out in the encore.

Kicking the encore off with a drum solo to ‘bring the energy’ the band returned playing Food For Thought and Kingston Town. Then two of the biggest songs given the UB40 touch up Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley) and Red Red Wine (Neil Diamond) got the crowd going once again and seemed a fitting end to a solid night’s entertainment. The sign of a good band is having so many good songs to play presenting the challenge of what to play and what to leave out ultimately leaving the crowd wanting more.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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