UB40 with Matisyahu and Raging Fyah at Pala Resort!
If there are two things most of you know I love: It’s live music and older bands from the 1980’s and 90’s. When the chance came for me to spend an overnight at Pala Casino and Resort (more to come about that awesome stay!) as well as see UB40 in concert, you can figure that I was all over that. Not being too familiar with this classic Britain band, aside from Falling In-Love with You and Red, Red Wine, I was anxious to see what they had in store for us at the beautiful open air venue over-looking Pala’s gorgeous pool and spa.
Founded in 1978, UB40 were acquaintances from school in Birmingham and decided on their unusual band name in reference to the document used in England when one files for un-employment at the social security office. Playing several gigs in their early years, they at last started receiving more International attention when Pretenders front woman, Chrissie Hynde, became a fan and invited them to tour with her band. Soon after, Red, Red Wine became a hit around the world, and, of course, their infamous cover of Elvis Presley’s Falling In-Love with You from the 1993 film soundtrack for Silver, made them a radio favorite to this day.
With a full house of devoted fans and followers, UB40 rocked Pala for close to two hours. While their openers had great, clear sound, I will admit, I felt it went far too boisterous once UB40 graced the stage. While perhaps to assist with lead singer, Ali Campbell’s, vocals, it was at times difficult to make out their lyrics and songs. Nonetheless, it was fantastic to see their fans absorbed in their music and presence.
Of course, I awaited their two radio favorite songs, and they did not disappoint. (can’t help) Falling In-Love with You was luscious and delicate and led right into their finale, Red, Red Wine. Which was an excellent ending to a fabulous reggae filled evening.
The night began with first opener, Grammy-nominated reggae band, Raging Fyah. A phenomenal five piece band hailing from Jamaica, Raging Fyah made me feel as if I were on the beaches of Jamaica myself, enjoying some R&R and knowing everything is cool, man. Incredible vocals and guitar solos, I was happy to see the audience having a fun time and not much of that common ‘coming and going’ the opening acts often deal with.
After Raging Fyah got the crowd head bobbing and moving, we moved onto a fantastic set from popular Jewish reggae artist, Matisyahu (which means ‘Gift of God’ in Hebrew). Matisyahu hit the music scene back in the early 2000’s under the name “MC Truth” and subsequently became popular on the reggae circle while managing to integrate hip hop and beat boxing to his already unique sound. Having just released a new record, Undercurrent, his near hour-long set showed off his multiple genres and showcased his talent. He’s a terrific vocalist and had the crowd eager for more as he mixed up the set with new songs and old favorites like King Without a Crown. Some may recall Matisyahu‘s One Day single, as well.
And, as if you need another reason to enjoy UB40 live, make sure to check out their very own label of “Red, Red Wine”! A Bordeaux varietal with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it can be cellared for up to 15 years and is a must for any music and reggae fan.
(*Disclosure: I was a guest of Pala Casino and Resort. All opinions are my own.)