UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro
Church Road Winery
Friday, January 25
Review by Astrid Austin

The distinctive sound of Ali Campbell's voice rang out among the vines in a fitting culmination of two hours' of music.

Their hit single, Red Red Wine was not only the one song everyone had been waiting for, but also a nod to the region's specialty.

The 7000-strong crowd at Napier's Church Road Winery were taken on a nostalgic trip through the hits that made the supergroup famous.


And despite the fact it was only Ali and Astro, it didn't seem to matter. UB40s beloved sound was right there.

Kiwi favourites Opshop, fronted by Jason Kerrison, set the tone of the evening, performing well-known tunes.

However, second-act, Tiki Taane's eclectic mix arguably didn't get the crowd in the right frame of mind before UB40.

The "one-man band" certainly showed his talent on stage for producing sounds.

Starting with the monotonous sound of a Pūtātara, the poignant words of a Karakia echoed round the venue.

Perhaps most endearing was when he called his young daughter on to the stage.

But fans were there to see the reggae band. From the outset, the familiar brass sounds fulfilled the crowd's yearning.

Whether digging as far back as their stupendous 1980 debut Signing Off for the classic Food For Thought, or highlighting their newest effort Silhouette via standout cut Cyber Bully Boys, each and every selection from the lengthy set list was met with warm, fervent applause and ovations.


Opener, If It Happens Again, had the crowd on their feet immediately, and it was hard to keep still when front man Campbell delivered the likes of Version Girl and Just Another Girl, all ably supported by a fantastic eight piece band.

Homely Girl had everyone singing along while 1 In 10 took us right back to 1981.

Astro did much of the between song banter - endearing the crowd. Throughout the set, his random remarks were particularly enjoyable.

The strongest reactions of the night however, were, of course, reserved for the set closer Can't Help Falling In Love and the night's final number and encore conclusion, the previously mentioned Neil Diamond-penned classic Red Red Wine.