Concert: UB40 Grand Slam Tour at Darlington



It has been a while since we watched a concert and when my husband found out that UB40 has a concert not so far from where we live, we decided to buy a ticket. The band featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey are the founding members of the original UB40 band. They are one of my husband’s favorite bands and mine also but didn’t know they were English. I had first heard about them ages ago when the “Red Red Wine” song was a massive hit in the Philippine music chart. That song is very refreshing just as the title speaks for itself. I have a love for music and I really appreciate various types of genres from different ages and reggae is one of them.

Reggae is one of my favorite genres if I want to cool down and chill out my mind a bit. Some of the bands that I am inspired listening to are Big Mountain, Bob Marley, Sublime (Ska punk), Christafari (Christian reggae), UB40 and Ekolu. Their songs are way too cool and wonderful especially if you are listening to them on the beach chillin’ out, removing yourself from the stressful life of the city. I can imagine sitting on the seashore rubbing my feet against the sand, watching the sunset over the sea while listening to this reggae music. How cool is that? Wow, I miss the summer escapade in my tropical country Philippines.

UB40 Reggae Band

The UB40 Grandslam Tour 2017 was really the real deal after all they’d been through. From what I have heard and read on the internet, the frontman of the band Ali Campbell had departed the band in 2008 then made a come back in 2014 as a trio joined by Astro and Mickey Virtue. The come back of the original line-up of UB40 excited my husband and was the main reason why he wanted to see them performing live. It was when he bought a CD by UB40 and I first heard Ali singing the “Purple Rain” of Prince. I didn’t know he sang that and I was surprised because it was beautifully arranged as he twisted it to reggae. Now I have something to look forward to this concert. Also, after knowing what happened to this band, I got curious all the more and wanted to see them live and I am glad to see them perform.

Here’s our ticket below and we got the standing ticket in platinum view. We got our ticket from the Ticketmaster and the cost of the ticket was £45 each. The concert was held at the Northern Echo Arena in Darlington as you can see on the poster. The travel is not that far, approximately 20 minutes drive from where we live. However, much as I wanted to go to the event, I have to admit I was also concerned about going to the concert after the bombing incident happened in Manchester. I attempted to convince my husband not to go but he was not shaken.

The Preparation

Everything was all set for the day and I am excited to hear Ali singing in the arena. However, there was one thing we overlooked and that’s the parking. In order to park near the arena, we have to book in advance prior to the day of the concert which we didn’t know. Anyway, we left the house about a quarter to one in the afternoon to find a parking space. We also brought some foods with us which we normally do whenever we have a getaway. We arrived at Darlington past one in the afternoon and fortunately, we found a decent parking space with not much crowd but it was not close to the arena. Because we had not booked a parking ticket near the arena, we had to park far from the event which meant we had to walk which took us ages to walk there.

It was past 6 o’clock in the afternoon when we started walking, heading to the arena. I did not expect that the place was so far and the walking was really killing me. I don’t really fancy walking as I find it uncomfortable while it was a “no sweat” thing for my husband. My husband is quite an athletic person and walking is not a big thing for him. He is really robust when it comes to walking, cycling, and kayaking contrary to me.

Eventually, we reached the arena but before we get to the entrance, a good lad offered to take a picture of me and my husband standing next to the banner. The wind pulled off this poster and I need to hold it, not a good poised at all. I planned to take home this banner didn’t do it because the wind blew off the poster. LOL. Soon after, we went straight to the entrance gate and queued up in line for a security check.

Earlier, we decided not bring any bags except our mobile phones so we can pass through the security check-up seamlessly. The security was pretty tight due to what happened in Manchester. However, the queue didn’t take us much time to get through. The weather was great but the walking was tiresome and took us about an hour or so but hey, tadaa! Finally, we were here inside the arena after that long bearing walk we made it through the gate and we’ve seen a bit of Level42 performing live.

We managed to find a great spot close to the stage despite the crowd. In fact, I think we could have got a bit closer if only we’ll get in through the crowd. The concert started at 5 o’clock in the afternoon but we chose to stay in the van until 6 because we’re after the UB40 timeslot which is the highlight of the night. There were also other bands who performed that night and this was the line-up.

5:00pm – Raging Fyah
5:50pm – The Original Wailers
7:10pm – Level42
8:45pm – UB40

We took a few selfies together before the crowds increased.

Here we are with our platinum wristbands and standing in the middle of the crowd with no bags and drinks. Although we wanted to buy something to drink but couldn’t as the place was already packed full of people. So we were there just watching the show. It didn’t take long when the UB40 band began to show up on stage and people were started to rush near the stage.

It’s Showtime!

When Ali Campbell started singing live, I was amazed by his voice. I couldn’t believe his actual voice and his voice in the CD is exactly the same it’s as if I am listening to a CD track. Not many artists sound the same when they sing live but he is the exception. The performance of the group was fabulous so it’s worth the money.

Everyone in the crowd was having fun, enjoying the night and jamming to every beat of the sound. Ali, the frontman of the group had sung a few songs and they were all great. Some of my favorite songs of UB40 are:

Red Red Wine
Falling In Love With You
Kingston Town
I Got You Babe
Purple Rain

The crowd was groovin’ to the sound with booze in their hands together with their mates while others were just cool listening to the music. It’s jamming night and we were having a great time watching this band on the stage singing everyone’s favorite songs. Some people there were drunk already but the crowd was still manageable until the show ended.

Reggae Time!

Feel the night fever with Ali Campbell, Astro, and Mickey Virtue especially when Ali started singing Purple Rain. Phew! that was really a beautiful song he sang and I absolutely love it. His daughter Kaya Campbell also showed up that night and had a duet with her father on the “I Got You Babe” song. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a video of them.

The group took a short break while the drummer went back on the stage to entertain us while we were waiting for Ali to come back on stage.

They had formed the UB40 in 1978 up to present and Ali’s vocal voice is still very impressive after all these years.

In the middle of the concert, they threw some souvenirs and one of them landed on my head and we got this one red cool hand that says “Big Love UB40”. The weather that night was great, the people next to us were also awesome and Ali Campbell sang all the songs perfectly. Most of all, the event was successful and had finished safely. There were loads of police officers surrounding the place as people starting to come out of the exit. Overall, the concert was fantastic, I and my husband had really enjoyed the night.


Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *