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Events

UB40 at Perth’s Red Hill Auditorium

– by Sean Harken

Immersed in bushland with sparkling city views the Red Hill Auditorium remains an iconic
Perth amphitheatre for music. The seemingly over capacity crowd swarmed in, grabbing
every piece of available space within an hour of doors opening. Smoke from mini-store
barbecues blanketed the eager crowd as it flowed down the large limestone steps and
swirled around the auditorium.

Australia’s own Blue King Brown was the better of the supporting acts, giving an explosive
start to the evening. Lead vocalist and guitarist Natalie Pa’apa’a’s electric guitar was almost
bigger than her, yet she still shredded it. The diverse mosh pit ascended into jumping
hysteria with the band’s crowd favourite All nations.

The near full moon burst through the clouds ILLUMINATING a pumped crowd of over
5000 UB40 lovers strong. Blue King Brown had successfully converted their strong
revolution rock/reggae vibes into the hearty crowd.

UB40 entered the stage of bright red, green and yellow lights. The ambience of the
Auditorium maintained its aura as the crowd continued to brew in excitement as the swirling
smoke was accompanied with that relaxing reggae feel.

Throughout their concert UB40 had a strong stage presence, with lead vocalists Astro and
Ali Campbell embracing the crowd with shout outs to the city of Perth. It was amazing to
listen to the gentle voice of Ali. Even at 55 years of age the man could still reach into the
volts of his vocal bank and contribute some very high notes.

Astro and Ali still obviously combine together greatly. There remained a perfect balance of
Jamaican singing and toasting (chanting or talking over a rhythm) with Ali’s soft yet
powerful voice. The way the vocalists complimented each others style, whilst the
commanding trumpet sounds demanded audience attention, is a testament to just how good
UB40 still are.

Their legacy, three decades long, was evident in this Perth’s exuberant crowd as seen
through the reception of Red Red Wine. All of their international hits where matched with
the swaying of multiple generations of the fully engaged crowd.

UB40 welcomed summer to Perth folk in a style only their internationally famous reggae
could muster.

Photo credit: Matthew Picken

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