January 29th, 2016
UB40 fans lucky enough to hold tickets for tonight’s sold-out Honolulu concert at Blaisdell Arena are definitely in for a treat, as UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue delivered an entertaining two-hour set on Thursday and will undoubtedly do the same again this evening.
Here are a few more thoughts on the show that didn’t make it into my review, which can be found here.
IS THAT UNCLE BARRY?
If I were drinking something when UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue first hit the stage, I would have done a spit-take worthy of viral video glory.
Even though I had my glasses on and was sitting just a few rows away from the stage, I truly had a hard time believing it wasn’t President Barack Obama on keys after faking out the world and extending his annual holiday vacation so he could give Virtue a break. And this was before the smoke with the funky smell started to waft above the crowd, so I knew a contact high was out of the question!
Whenever I found myself losing focus on some of the more obscure songs performed on Thursday, I fixed my gaze on the Uncle Barry lookalike and cracked up. Maybe I’m easily entertained, but I got a kick out of it the entire show.
Kudos to concert promoters Ray Jr. and Tantriq Entertainment for giving local bands a shot at opening for such a legendary band. In order to cut costs, promoters based on the continent often skip on hiring an opening act, opting for just the featured artist — or even worse, letting the artist handle the job and suffering through a family member who was suddenly appointed tour DJ for the trip.
Sure, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue and/or their management probably had to sign off on the bands, but Ray Jr. and Tantriq were smart in presenting local rising reggae stars The Vitals (pictured below) as an option for Thursday’s show. They represented the 50th State well and got the Blaisdell crowd more pumped than they would have been listening to a playlist off the audio engineer’s iPod plugged into the sound board.
Going tonight? Try to get there when things start at 8 p.m. so you can catch perennial local favorite Kapena opening things up.
PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN
It used to be a good thing when everyone at a show would have their hands up as the band played. Not anymore.
In 2016, most of those hands are holding a smartphone and blocking the view of people behind them — and more often than not, it’s for the entire performance. It’s getting harder and harder to enjoy a concert when you’re forced to constantly avoid glowing phone screens being waved around on all sides.
Sure, maybe I’m being a little hypocritical. When I cover a concert, I bring two iPhones with me to create content for social media, along with a separate point-and-shoot camera and other equipment. But I’m working! Whenever I spend my own money to see a band play, I might take a picture or two, but then I'll put my phone away and focus on what's happening in real life right in front of me.
What gets me is that people will pay good money for tickets to a show... and then spend the whole time experiencing it through a phone screen. If you’re going to do that, why not buy a concert Blu-Ray or DVD and stay home instead?
Just. Put. It. Down.