The Specials, Newport Centre
ARMS ALOFT, the crowd chants: "Specials...Specials". On they come, Terry Hall, cool in black suit, the bass thumping, and launch into Concrete Jungle.
A sea of balding, middle-aged heads moves in waves, backwards and forwards.
The message is still as relevant today as it was in the late Seventies - don't hate black or white, think for yourselves.
On to Do The Dog, and the crowd is really getting warmed up. Then, it all explodes as the first few bars of Gangsters breaks over Newport Centre. Any nay-sayers who think The Specials don't have something left are silenced. The pit in front of the stage goes beserk. The raised stand is jumping under our feet.
There is one low point - one mindless idiot throws a bottle of beer at Hall, who is rightly incensed. The normally calm man of ska throws down his microphone, stalks off the stage, returning moments later to verbally wipe the floor with the offender who is, by this time, being pointed out by the rest of the crowd. When he completes his character flaw dissection, there is massive cheering.
Ever the professional, Hall soldiers on - managing to regain the huge energy.
"This town, is coming like a ghost town..." Oh how right you are, the Newport crowd thinks.
Goosebumps and pogos all round. And the hits come thick and fast - Too Much Too Young, Message To You Rudy. The joint is jumping.
Will Hall and the lads come back on for an encore, given one gig-goer's bad behaviour?
Of course they will. And we are treated to Martha's Farm and Enjoy Yourself before we wander out into the night amid a sea of pork pie hats and Harrington jackets.
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