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UB40 at Durban Botanic Gardens supported by Grassyspark

  • Written by Kerry Witting
  • Published in Gig Reviews

UB40 Botanic Gardens 

Durbs proved that not even heavy rains will stop them from enjoying UB40’s second concert in the country.  Oh and did it rain. On a chilly wet night, Durban welcomed Grassyspark and UB40 at the Botanic Gardens, the oldest public institution and Africa's oldest surviving botanical gardens, oozing with character. There was a 20 minute delay due to heavy rainfall just as the concert was about to get underway. This was the first gig Grassyspark has had in Durban and I was just wondering what on earth has taken you guys so long? I think I can safely say that the 031 absolutely loved you guys! 

 Grassyspark Botanic Gardens

Grassyspark is a Cape Town band, made up of seven members, incorporating many different instruments including the sax, trumpet and the trombone.  They describe their sound as a blend of ska, funk, rock, Latin and reggae.  All I can say is that their performance last night was on point.  The vocals were crystal clear, perfectly timed and the way the band grooves together was just magical to watch.  One of the best things about the show was how they interacted with the crowd.  It’s clear that Durban would have them back any day, so please guys, don’t be strangers!

Another thing that stood out was the uniqueness of each and every song, each song sounded totally different to one before but at the same time blended in with the overall performance, Grassyspark definitely showcased their diversity on stage last night, something that sets them apart from the normal run of the mill band.

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After Grassyspark had warmed up the stage, we were graced with the legends UB40.  The opening song was Here I Am, originally done by Al Green in 1973.  UB40 covered the song and it peaked at number 7 on the billboard charts in 1991.  Memories just came flooding back when I heard this song, I have been a diehard UB40 fan since I was a kid. Such bliss.

For about two hours the reggae group from the U.K treated their Durbanite audience to a diverse set from their impressive catalogue of albums.  From the outset, Ali’s vocals and crisp delivery was evident on every song.  Astro took center stage for a few songs here and there while the whole band was displaying their love for the music and especially their audience! It's obvious they enjoy entertaining their fans.

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As the show was coming to an end, the band walked off stage, only to return to the crowd chanting Red Red Wine!  James Brown got behind his drum set and proceeded to wow the crowd with an impressive drum solo, followed by an incredible six song encore.  The conclusion of the night was definitely a highlight when, finally, the long awaited song of the night was performed. The iconic Red Red Wine.  Watching this song being performed live by UB40 was mesmerising. It brought chills. 

Despite the rain, this was an incredible show, thank you once again to Big Concerts for your hospitality and having UNDERGROUND PRESS.


UB40 at Durban Botanic Gardens supported by Grassyspark - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote