UB40 at The Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
UB40 at The Olympia Theatre, October 22nd
The Olympia Theatre is probably one of my favourite venues. Not only is it stunningly decorated on the inside, but no matter where you’re stood or sitting, you have a fantastic view of whatever is happening on stage. My view tonight? A sold out show with an ecstatic crowd waiting to see UB40. After seeing the other UB40 fronted by Duncan Campbell in April, I’m very intrigued to see what tonight’s performance brings. Before we can see Ali, Astro and Mickey however, tonight’s opening act must take to the stage and give it their all, and that they do.
If I told you I wasn’t impressed by tonight’s support act, I’d be totally lying. Radio Riddler is a reggae band who has worked with the likes of UB40’s Ali Campbell and Ireland’s own Sinéad O Connor. From what I can see, the band already has a few fans in the crowd, as the reaction after all their songs was astonishing (and very well deserved). They played through a surprisingly short set list, finishing on a fantastic cover of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’. They are probably the only band I have ever seen throw out copies of their album into the crowd (no injuries as far as I could see, but hey, free music is worth it!). Radio Riddler is a band with a very unique and contagious energy that I honestly can’t compare to any other artist. They were an enjoyable band to watch and were a fantastic opening act for tonight’s show. They’re not a band I’ll be forgetting any time soon.
There is something so mesmerising and hypnotizing about watching a swarm of people swinging like a pendulum to a beat; and that’s exactly what tonight was: mesmerising and hypnotizing. The musicians take to the stage first, with the brass section taking centre stage as they all play an instrumental introduction to tonight’s performance. Tonight’s vocalists then take to the stage and kick off the show. They play through an impressive set list including ‘Homely Girl’, ‘Cherry Oh Baby’, ‘Kingston Town’ and ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’. Vocally, the performance seems totally effortless to Ali. With a strong stage presence and a fantastic live voice, he makes the show that little bit more interesting. There is a lack of new material in tonight’s set, with only a couple of songs being played off their new album ‘Silhouette’, including the title track off of the album. When seeing Duncan Campbell’s UB40 in April, they played a large clump of newer tracks in the middle of their set and somewhat lost the crowd. Tonight however, it’s all about classic UB40 tracks, and Ali has the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire set. They play for about an hour and a quarter (although it felt a lot shorter than that) and finish tonight with a bang with ‘Red Red Wine’.
I was expecting great things from tonight’s performance and my expectations were exceeded. They played an impressive set, the vocalists were pitch-perfect, the musicians were flawless, they held the crowd throughout the entire performance and the atmosphere was phenomenal. Something that could have improved tonight’s performance would be a larger presence of the brass band; I would have liked to see them more centre to the performance instead of being placed out at the side of the stage. They were absolutely incredible and deserved a greater presence in the spotlight. This was not a performance to be missed and if you missed them this time round, make sure you get your tickets next time, you won’t regret it.
Review by Shauna Collins
Photos by David Doyle