Concorde 2, 17 August 2010
“I saw the news today old boy… but I saw it on my HDTV ya know…” Who wouldn’t love to hear Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Radiohead all in one set and on one stage? But the scene was set for a tight reggae concert; marijuana smoke in the air, middle-aged white men donning dreadlocks and young women in tie dyed dresses. In quite a refreshing move the night kicked off with some of Easy Star All-Stars’ own material. Traditionally it is almost expected that bands kick off with a hit to grab the audience, but seeing as none of their biggest hits are actually theirs, it seemed more fitting to light the touch paper with some home grown reggae.
Easy Star All-Stars have made their name on legendary albums, which they have bravely (and successfully it must be said) shaped to their own reggae/dub style. However, the proposition of Beatles, not to mention Pink Floyd and Radiohead tracks in reggae form admittedly had this reporter sour faced. But in the case of Tuesday night, the gig was so astoundingly well executed that all pre-show assumptions based on nothing more than ignorance were skanked away. Thankfully, from track to track the Easy Star outfit seemed to be down to earth, eminently tight and obviously talented musicians. Classic tracks like “A Day In The Life” and “When I’m Sixty-Four” would have had Lennon dancing rather than turning in his grave.
The high thrill point of the whole night was perhaps the iconic chiming bells and clocks ringing out across the smoking area, signalling the start of the Pink Floyd classic “Time.” This was a moment that produced a statement of frenzied intent from the crowd, when they stampeded back into the venue like inebriated Olympians heading to the finish line. The crowd seemed truly in awe of this group, and the real beauty behind this whole concept was that you could hear and see stadium band classics, up close and undiluted by pretentious stage shows, self indulgent encores or the potential 700 rows of seats in front of you. Worth every penny for any lucky enough to get tickets.
What did you think of the gig?
Ollie and Lucas (left to right): “We give it a mega 8/10, some of the improvising went on a bit but other than that it was awesome.”
Gabbi and Reese (left to right): 10/10 “Their Beatles covers are so spot on, ‘A Day In The Life’ was a magical moment.”
Xavier: “I give it a good 8/10, the tunes from their album ‘Radiodread’ are ace.”
Vikki: 9.5/10 “It was really ace, they only lose half a mark for no encore but then I guess that was the venue’s fault, not theirs.”
Words and photography by James Rowland