A little bit of history first:
The multi-platinum selling reggae group UB40 will stage its maiden Kenyan concert on November 15 in Nairobi. The show comes after the group released its 24th album, 24-7, and the departure of Robin Campbell, who steered the band to the top.
UB 40 rose to fame with the 1983 release of the Labour of Love album, which topped charts in the UK and ruled Billboard’s top 200 in the US, with hits such as Red Red Wine making it a household name. Its debut album, Signing Off (1980), went platinum and spent 72 weeks on the international music charts.
Equally popular was their most successful worldwide single, Falling in Love with You (1993) — a cover version of Elvis Presley ballad’s, I Can’t Help. Other UB40 popular hits include Rat in My Kitchen, Kingston Town, I Think It’s Going to Rain and Tell It As It Is.
After almost a decade of silence the band, which comprises James Brown, Earl Falconer, Norman Lamont and Brian, made a comeback with the 2007 release of Reasons.
“We have everything set for Nairobi. Kenya is a great country and we would love to perform there as part of our world tour,” James said at the Kampala gig in February. “We will come and thrill Nairobi when everything is alright,” he had added, alluding that their planned February Nairobi tour had been halted due to the post-election violence.
Campell’s exit fanned speculation that the group was headed for a split. “Campbell was our lead and we are sad he had to leave. But a band is never about a fellow and this is not the last you are hearing of UB40,” James was quoted as saying on the day the group bid farewell to their vocalist.
Even though the band said Campbell was leaving to concentrate on solo projects, the lead singer later alluded to internal disputes when he said he left due to ‘management difficulties’.
But even after the big hype and great expectations, the 17-track album has failed to go top 75 in the UK. The launch four months ago coincided with a UK tour, which climaxed in the recording of their next album Labour of Love IV.
UB40 is one of the most successful reggae bands of all times. They have sold more than 70 million albums and hosted memorable world tour concerts, spreading reggae to South America and Russia, besides bagging some of the most coveted music awards.
<— the history ends here —>
Now, somehow, someway, the UB40 bashment was cancelled – postponed and soon forgotten about.
Then Ali campbel was announced to be coming.
Ali was not only lead singer of UB40, but the creative mind and key songwriter for the band. The show is organised by Rani Productions which has in the past brought to Kenya Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Raghav, Rishi Rich inconjuction with and CentreStage Experiential Marketing who brought Femi Kuti and TOK.
Ali was the lead singer at UB 40 and is voice leas such great ballads as Cherio cherio baby [you should at least have seen him perform that one; It was Awesome!!], Red red wine, homely girl, Reasons and countless others.
<— The action starts here — >
Wednesday i was at Tamambo westlands buying tickets. Two. one for me and one for my swits. No need to listen to UB 4 sing homely gal without a nice person to sing it to!
Thursday – Meet with me swits to tell her that the band whose lyrics I borrowed heavily from when we were getting close was coming to town. She was skeptical at first as kenyan reggae shows are known to get messed up pretty bad. Some convincing on my part and the date was set.
Friday – at work prepared my laptof for a wedding where I was due to dj for a friend.
Saturday – the wedding was late [aren’t they all?] ut went well too. the bride was extremely beautiful.
Saturday night – We were late – arrived at Carnivore stage at around 8;30 pm with my swits.
Was surprised there were no queues and Carnivore and went right in. First some food at the stalls that I found to be quite competitively priced.
On stage was Boda boda band that was curtain raising for UB40. They did a great performance but there was an issue. Carnivore management refused to power-up the system for them. Boda boda band could not hear the music they were playing as there were no monitor speakers! Despite kidum asking for it countless times Carnivore totally refused to give the monitor sound. Imagine not hearing the music oyu are playing n from of a a capacity crowd!
Shame on carnivore.
The security was great. There were dark men in black suits, white shirts and bow ties all over the place. There was also supplementar security provided by RADAR security ltd. Good job to whoever organised that.
And then Ali Campbell showed up and gave what must be the greatest performance I have ever seen. I loved every minute! The band was amazingly cordinated and brought out a performance I will be remembering for a long time to come.
ALI CAMPBELL – THANK YOU!!