ALI Campbell, lead singer of the British band UB40, still remembers the band’s tour of South Africa in 1994 – a tour that drew crowds totalling 250 000 – as one of the most uplifting concerts he’s ever performed.
“The atmosphere at the time was the most positive I’ve ever seen of any country I’ve ever been to,” Campbell said.
“It just seemed like the rainbow nation was going to happen. It was all about truth and reconciliation.”
Now the four-time Grammy nominated reggae band is ready to bring more positive vibes to South Africa, with a concert scheduled for Cape Town on April 4 and Joburg on April 5. While the lead singer believes the two concerts aren’t solutions to the modern problems within the nation, he is confident they will prove to be inspiring.
“All you can do is hope to influence people by what you’re saying, but that’s not exactly changing things,” said Campbell.
“It’s influencing people and letting them know what’s here.”
The singer behind the famous cover version of Neil Diamond’s Red Red Wine said the band’s music is meant to unify people through “peace and love”, and that he has always felt a duty to incorporate substance into the music.
While the band is in the process of finishing a new album, they said audiences can expect to hear their favourites in the upcoming concerts.
“We know our fans come to see us perform songs that made us famous,” Campbell said.
“In the 80s and 90s, we had over 40 top-20 hits so what our attendants will get in South Africa is all the hits and a few surprises.”