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Concert Review & Photos - The Specials

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The Specials are by far one of the most influential ska bands of all-time.  Founded in 1977, their unique brand of music helped to revive a little-known genre originating in Jamaica in the late 1950’s.  The Specials  fusion of traditional ska music with a formidable punk rock attitude and danceable rocksteady beats took the World by storm with a sound so unique it was re-branded 2 Tone.   Who would have thought that four decades and over 20 albums later, this little-know group of from Coventry, England would still be around, playing the music they love at packed houses all around the world?  At the time, probably not too many. However, The Specials have withstood the test of time and are still one of the most incredible bands to ever hit the stage.  Their sold-out show at the House of Blues in San Diego on September 26th was no exception and failed to disappoint the legions of fans in attendance.

After an energetic set from The Far East (which by the way was brilliant in their own right), The Specials took the stage and opened with the 1981 classic “Ghost Town”.   It was just want what the doctor ordered to get the anxious crowd off their feet and skanking to the beat for what would be a show like no other in downdown San Diego’s famous gas lamp district.  For the next 2 hours, the nearly one-thousand fans in attendance were captivated by The Specials and their amazing setlist featuring 23 standards including hits such as “Nite Klub”, “Gangsters”, and "Concrete Jungle" Covers of Danny Livingstone’s “A Message to You, Rudy” and the Toots & Maytals “Monkey Man” were crowd favorites that continued to pump energy into an already rabid crowd. The night ended with a three-song encore with the Skatalites cover, “You’re Wondering Now”, capping off the evening’s amazing setlist.

If you happened to be one of the lucky ones in attendance Monday night at the House of Blues, you were most certainly treated to an amazing evening music from one of the most influential bands of our time.  The Specials, led by Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, and Terry Hall, let it all hang out with a truly memorable performance that undoubtedly left the sold out San Diego crowd wanting more. Wire to wire, The Specials were loose, energetic, and musically spot on the entire show.  And gauging the crowds’ energy all night long, I think it’s safe to say they were dialed in as well.  As the show came to a close and the houselights flickered on, I noticed that most in attendance were thoroughly drenched with sweat from a night of non-stop dancing with a thousand of their closest friends. And in a time when the most of us are caught up in a day-to-day "Rat Race", who wouldn't want to spend an evening like this?  Until next time......

Stay Frosty and Rock On!

Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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