Live Review: UB40 Feat Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue, Reuben Stone

11 January 2017 | 3:38 pm | Karen Lowe

"Don't reach for that cheap bottle of plonk, stick with the original."

More UB40 feat. Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue More UB40 feat. Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue

Even though it was only a Tuesday night, there was already a large line formed outside Fremantle Arts Centre (including a few drinking in line, whinging about the separate lines and plotting loudly to beat the older folk to the front of stage) to see UB40 feat Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue. It was safe to say that the night ahead was going to be eventful if nothing else.

New Zealander Reuben Stone started the night off with his eclectic style of music. His first track was very odd, very fantastical, and featured chirping birds. There were exchanged looks throughout the audience as people were wondering what on earth this guy was all about. As he said, though, with a very cheeky grin, "If you don't like the music, I don't recommend buying the CD."

It wasn't until his next couple of songs that it really began to click — especially when he explained that what he was doing at the beginning of each song was creating live loops. Stone is not only a talented multi-instrumentalist and beat-boxer but he also has a beautiful voice and a great sense of humour to tie the whole thing together. He finished off his strange-but-ultimately bewitching set with a new song Push To The Limit, which Stone says he wrote when he first bought his trombone. While he certainly caused some confusion to begin with, Stone managed to win the audience over and score himself some new fans.

UB40 Feat Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue certainly know how to make an entrance. Their set started off with an instrumental before the three original UB40 members walked onto the stage amid many cheers and a standing ovation. They started off with Here I Am (Come And Take Me), Bring Me Your Cup, a John Holt song called Stick By Me and Homely Girl.

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They were clearly enjoying being back on stage and they passed that energy back into the crowd as people danced and sang along loudly. "That was UB40 back in the day complaining about our government. Nothing has changed. Nothing AT ALL," Campbell told us after One In Ten.

They also played Cherry Oh Baby, which Astro explained was "written by a Jamaican teenager, Eric Donaldson", Sardonicus and Just Another Girl. Campbell and Astro were both very chatty and the audience ate up every word.

Although the crowd clearly loved every song that UB40 sang, you could spot the favourites as mobile phones lit up the place. Another way was to wait for one overly excited lad to scream out, "What a tune! What a TUNE!" (Set closers Kingston Town and Many Rivers To Cross both qualified).

The encore started off with a killer drum solo while the rest of the band came back out on stage. They played Food For Thought, Silhouette (title track off the new album), Fijian Sunset and Maybe Tomorrow. Once again, phones were out to record crowd favourite (I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You and of course Red Red Wine. "Hope you all enjoyed this as much as we did! We will have to come back and do this again!" Astro said as he walked off stage with the other two original members, the rest of the band still playing.

If you love UB40 and haven't seen them yet, wait until this one comes back. As someone who has seen both, Ali Campbell, Mickey Virtue and Astro are so much stronger, so much better. Don't reach for that cheap bottle of plonk, stick with the original. It only gets better with age.