UB40 at The Academy – Review & Photos
UB40 – The Academy, Dublin
March 27th 2014
Entering The Academy, I didn’t know what to expect. Tonight is my first non-metal gig in The Academy, and the lack of mosh pits is to come as a shock! However, I like what I’m seeing and the vibe I’m getting. Everyone is chilled with their friends or partners, ready to see a band that has reached out to numerous generations. Tonight is all about the good vibes, euphoric energy and the timeless music, and it is nothing less than that.
The lights dim in The Academy; everyone is ready for what is about to happen. You can almost feel the anticipation grow as people get more and more eager for the band to appear, and when they do, it’s like an eruption of pure energy. It’s not known how Duncan will compare to Ali as a vocalist. He doesn’t perform as charismatically as Ali would, but he isn’t Ali, he’s Duncan. It’s his turn to make his mark as UB40’s lead vocalist, and that he does. He has the groove and rhythm to carry his own. It’s amazing to see everyone, regardless of age, singing along to even the earliest UB40 material. Hits such as ‘One In Ten’, ‘Kingston Town’, ‘Cherry Oh Baby’ and ‘Higher Ground’. Unfortunately, the newer material (such as ‘Midnight Rider’ off last year’s release ‘Getting Over The Storm’) doesn’t go down as well as it should with the crowd. When asked, less than half of the crowd have actually heard the new album. People decide during this part of the set to go to the bathroom, or jump outside for some air. As I come back from my bathroom break during the new material (I wasn’t kidding), they manage to bring the crowd back by playing their older material, and it ends on a cracking performance of ‘Red Red Wine’. They return to the stage for an encore of a mixture of old and new material, finishing the night with Elvis Presley’s ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You’.
It wasn’t the stereotypical Rasta hats and the dreadlocks that made this the reggae gig it was, it was the groove, the love and the happiness felt by everyone there that night. It was everyone dancing and singing as one, appreciating the music they love. Instrumentally, they were incredible (serious shout-out to the brass players, they’re amazing at what they do!), percussionist Norman Hassan’s wild dance moves and bassist Earl Falconer’s vocal contribution definitely added a spark to the performance and was definitely a highlight for me, Duncan found his comfort zone and everyone had an incredible night. As a heavy-metal fan partially raised on UB40, this is not a show I’ll be forgetting any time soon, and for all the right reasons!
Review by Shauna Collins
Photos by Anamaria Meiu