Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth

The Specials

Back in 1979 The Specials played at the Stateside Club in Bournemouth as part of the original Two Tone tour with then label mates Madness and The Selector. 2011 The Specials are back in Bournemouth at a slightly larger venue, The Bournemouth International Centre, celebrating their 30th Anniversary, the audience and the band may look a bit older than the fresh faced youngsters in 1979 but the enthusiasm is the same.

The atmosphere on the build up to this show is just electric. The capacity of this large venue of 6500 has been met and everybody is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the headliners, before then there is a matter of the support bands, hand picked specially to make sure they suit the taste of the audience.

The BIC: Stone Foundation
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The first to take to the stage are Midlands 7 piece Stone Foundation, as they arrive the lead singer Neil Jones says “We are junked up, stoned and hung-over from yesterday, it’s gonna be a great gig, we are Stone Foundation and we sound like this”. The band then proceed to make the most of their 30 minutes on stage delivering songs from the latest album ‘The three shades of the Stone Foundation’. Their Northern Soul influenced sound with a modern twist creates some nice early interest amongst the audience, the sound created with the addition of keys and a two piece brass section is impressive. The band end with a tribute to fellow Midlanders Dexy’s Midnight Runners with a nice reworking of “Couldn’t Help I Tried” which ends their set perfectly.

The BIC: By The Rivers
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Next up are ‘By The Rivers’ a six piece Reggae band from Leicester, it would be very easy to describe them as a modern day UB40, but there is certainly more to them than that, their pitch perfect harmonies with rock solid rhythms create a genuinely great combined sound which the Bournemouth crowd really warm too. From their new single “One Word” and the ska’d up “Rock Steady” their highly danceable tunes create just the right mood preparing the audience for the main attraction, there are certainly not enough reggae bands out there, and hopefully ‘By The Rivers’ will find their place as everyone needs a bit of reggae in their life.

At 9pm the lights went dimmed the massive curtain covering the front of the stage dropped to the floor and a huge video screen displaying political and social images of the past 30 years, the 1st picture of Maggie Thatcher got the biggest boo of the night. The band then take to the stage “Bernie Rhodes Knows Don’t Argue” and tears in to “Gangsters”. The whole of the dance floor is a mass of bouncing bodies as everyone young and old are taken over by the infectious ska beat. The band despite their years seems to have masses of energy and deliver the songs that everyone knows and loves in a brilliant way, backed by a three piece brass section and at times a further strings section the sound is colossal.

The BIC: The Specials
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Every track that is played is like playing a hit that the audience are all well versed in. Singles, album tracks, and B-sides are all sung right back at the band making one great atmosphere of mass unison. Lead singer Terry Hall’s dry sense of humour is displayed several times 1st when he says he would rather being watching a homes restoration programme on TV than performing here tonight and another stating that he would have preferred to have joined 80’s pop band “Wham”. It is very hard to pick out any highlights as the whole 2 hours or so that the band were on stage was a highlight, there was not even a dip in entertainment so you could go out and get another beer. The Specials return have just cemented the fact that they are one of Britain’s best loved bands and their return has delighted everyone. The talk of the band recording new material together in 2013 was confirmed tonight on stage, so hopefully their 30th Anniversary celebrations will continue for sometime yet.

Do The Dog
(Dawning Of A) New Era
It’s Up To You
Monkey Man
Blank Expression
Rat Race
Too Hot
Doesn’t Make It Alright
Hey Little Rich Girl
Pearl’s Cafe
Stupid Marriage
Concrete Jungle
International Jet Set
Friday Night Saturday Morning
Man at C & A
Do Nothing
A Message To You Rudy
Nite Klub
Too Much Too Young
Enjoy Yourself(It’s Later Than You Think)

Ghost Town
Little Bitch
You’re Wandering Now


Review and Videos By Dave Chinery(Chinners)

Pictures By Dan O’Gara(Scoundrel Desgins).

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