I never got to see the Specials in their hey-day as they broke up about the time I started going to gigs. I saw Neville Staples do a superb gig supporting the Beat where he did a set of Specials tunes. I count their LPs amongst my favourites and was excited about their re-union…..until I heard that Jerry Dammers wasnt part of it! I missed out on the first wave of gigs and the people I knew who went to gigs in Manchester and Leeds Millenium square (Fog + Rachel, Mike and Tony) all raved about them.
Got up close to see them at Glastonbury and loved it, so when my pal Lee, who lives in Bridlington, phones and says Theyre playing the Spa, you coming? the answer was yes! Even though it was a Monday night. A cold, wet, blustery, seaside Monday night. That didnt put off the Fred Perry, suited and booted folk of Yorkshire from turning up in droves. There were 6 of us in our gang and we ensconced ourselves in a crowded bar where the Newcastle Brown was £1.50 a pint and the music was strictly ska great for getting you in the mood. Quick stop at the chippy and we were ready!
The Spa was packed out and the atmosphere was one of Jubilation. The Specials were on excellent form and did all the tracks from their 1st LP in the course of the evening as well as singles, tunes from the second LP and perhaps the best B-Side ever? (Fri night Sat morning).
About a third of the way through their set I felt my right calf tear and stopped jumping around with a Oh no! what am I gonna do now? expression on my face. I know I thought, Ill hop! and hop I did for the rest of the evening.
Waiting for a pizza afterwards we got talking to a large tattooed gentleman Great tats mate! Do you like Paul Weller? he says lifting his trouser leg to reveal a wonderful likeness of the Bard of Woking Not as much as you obviously do!