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Old 1st December 2014, 02:08 PM
Linda C Linda C is offline
UB40 Fan
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Arbroath
Posts: 122
Default To the band, a long term review

While everyone is on such a high following this latest tour I thought I would spend some time putting down on paper what the band have meant to me. I am claiming no unique experiences here but hope that some people will identity with some aspects and that the band will read it!!
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It is 6.15pm, it is dark and cold, I have been on the go for 12 hours on 3 trains and am now standing on the street in a strange city, surrounded by strangers. My family and friends are at home, warm or in the pub, sociable. I know however that 2 or 3 hours from now I will experience one of those rare Sublime Moments – usually around 10 minutes before the show begins, the realisation that there is nowhere else on the planet I would rather be than in this 2sq feet of floor space.

Nine people appear on stage and with them the assurance that the Sublime Moment will become a wonderful 2 hours. These 2 hours are yes, a vindication of the expenditure of time, money and annual leave, yes a superbly crafted and performed show but more, much more – an endorphin rush that lasts for days, a smile that hurts by the end of the evening and sharing of this marvellous experience with the strangers from outside.

It is approaching 35 years since we first heard the fresh and exciting opening bars of Food for Thought and it still makes me shiver. It was during the following summer, the riot torn 1981, that the words of One in Ten made me realise that not only do you guys sound good but you are very clever also; yes, and different and authentic compared to much of the music of the time. The songs from then are as fresh and relevant today.

Jan 21st 1982, Edinburgh Playhouse was my first experience of you live and May 4th 2015 in Perth will see me reach 40 times, lame I know compared to lots of the hard core but no less enjoyable for that. It is ironic and wonderful that this milestone will happen close to home given that I have been to 23 venues in 15 different locations – town halls, city halls, concert halls, dance halls, ballrooms, theatres, arenas, an aircraft hanger, a shiny new exhibition centre, a leisure centre, a castle, a cricket ground and a magical midsummer evening in a forest. All of them have been worth attending.

A nice comfortable routine set in - a great new album now and then and a tour every 2 years; Glasgow, Newcastle and sometimes Manchester until the 2010 Signing Off tour stunned me out of complacency in every sense. This was something unexpected – small venues where the sound vibrates through you, dancing is not only tolerated but encouraged, we can see your facial expressions, it is much easier to attend multiple shows and encouraging numbers of first timers are making it along.

It was a long wait until 2014 so I grabbed the chance and a week off in the spring and travelled the land, never dreaming you would do it all again in the autumn!

I love the email from Ticketmaster alerting me to the tour, this is followed by nerves and butterflies as I open the details – please don’t let me be on holiday, please don’t let my colleagues be on holiday, please let some of the gigs be at weekends. When you started performing there was no internet, no Premier Inns and few of us had credit cards; life is easier now.

The current set list is my favourite, there is something for everyone and the pace never flags, I cry at some point every time and love seeing the happiness of those around who feared we may never hear these songs live again.

It is lovely to attend with friends (14 different people have accompanied me over the years) and great to meet up with other fans again but sometimes, occasionally I like being there alone – this is when I lose myself, think of nothing else for the 2 hours and leave feeling I have undergone a form of meditation (albeit with tired legs!)

The age range at the gigs is astonishing but middle aged is most common. We have grown up together, you have lived our lives but in more extreme form: many of us have travelled widely but not been to the amazing places you have, many of us have done some political campaigning but lacked the talent to write the songs that gain the attention, many of us have had money worries but not been ripped off and bankrupted, and yes, many of us occasionally fall out with siblings, but never for long.

We have lost youth, lost loved ones and lost loves but with maturity comes the knowledge that Life truly is short and that the cramming in of pleasure is what matters. I truly hope you realise how much joy you spread. We understand also that you are far from being starry “celebrities” but normal blokes blessed with talent and a desire to entertain. You have won countless awards and achieved massive record sales but in assessing your biggest achievement I am reminded of the famous Bill Shankly epitaph; “he made the people happy”.

It is fabulous to have a new CD occasionally but just now when the reviews are off the scale and momentum is with the touring I hope you will stay on road and milk this a bit longer.

It has been a wonderful 35 years, here’s to many more and looking forward to 2015 and a wonderful spring!
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