Fallin' in love with reggae

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue play Blackpool FC on Friday night
UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue play Blackpool FC on Friday night
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What do Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond and UB40 all have in common?

Aside from an incredible number of hits, they are soon to share the honour of playing at Bloomfield Road, when UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue take to the 20,000 capacity venue.

It’s an exclusive club, which is only fitting for the ‘hottest reggae band in the world’ as lead singer Ali Campbell describes them.

Ali told the Gazette earlier this year the band was excited to be coming back to Blackpool - a place where “most people go to be happy”.

“We’ve done some good gigs in Blackpool, I’ve worked in Blackpool a few times and we’re looking forward to

partying,” he said.

The concert is a mini-festival of sorts, with support in the form of reggae bands The Original Wailers and Raging Fyah - described by Ali Campbell as ‘the future of reggae’.

Eighties legends Level 42 fronted by Mark ‘Thunder-thumbs’ King (or ‘Thunder-face’ as Ali quipped) will also be on the bill, despite not exactly fitting the reggae mould. However Ali explained the decision to include the band.

He said: “They fit the bill because they’re sort of like a heritage act like we are.

“It won’t be reggae in your face all the way through, you’ll have Level 42 to spice things up. Then you’ve got the Original Wailers with Al Anderson, we’re so proud we can have them on the same bill as us. And we’re introducing Raging Fyah, who are like the new, contemporary face of reggae - youngsters who are turning the clock back with real roots rock reggae.”

Despite currently writing new material, Ali stresses that the concert will be ‘a day of hits’.

“We’re not self-indulgent so we know what people come to listen to. They will hear Can’t Help Falling in Love and Red Red Wine and Kingston Town. It won’t be a gig where people are wandering around not knowing what they’re listening to, you’ll basically know every song on the bill.

* UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue. Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk.