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Review: UB40 @ Guild Hall, Preston
THE bitter winter weather was blown away by the warm rhythms of reggae last night as UB40 made a triumphant return to smaller venues.
The current Signing Off tour marks 30 years since the release of the influential album of the same name.
And as a major treat, the band played the album in its entirety in the first half of the show.
It may be 30 years on but the themes of Signing Off - inequality and oppression - remain as relevant today as they ever did.
From Tyler to King and Food For Thought the memories came flooding back for those of us who were around when the album first came out.
An added bonus was Strange Fruit and Madame Medusa originally released on a 12-inch accompanying the album.
The second half of the show became a giant reggae party as the band ran through many of their hits - and there’s plenty to choose from.
Rat in Me Kitchen, Earth Dies Screaming and Kingston Town were particularly good and the band seemd to be having as much fun as their enthusiastic audience.
Ali Campbell may no longer be the frontman but brother Duncan does an admirable job with lead vocals.
The rest of the band is virtually as it’s always been with Astro toasting, Jimmy Brown on drums, Robin Campbell on guitar, Norman Hassan on percussion and Brian Travers on sax.
UB40 may not be the musical force they once were and for me they may have done too many overly commercial covers in recent times.
But what a privilege to see and hear a band perform an album which was responsible for alerting a mass audience to the power and splendour of reggae.