Tonight’s gig at Berlin’s Columbiahalle is a rare treat indeed. For the first time in 30 odd years the almost original line-up of the Specials (minus Jerry Dammers) performed their classic ditties on teenage pregnancies, night clubbing and racial discontentment to a sold out Berlin audience.
The intro starts and on comes the happiest looking party troupe we’ve witnessed in quite some time. They rip into Do The Dog and instantly the C-Halle’s turned into a sweatbox. Beer starts flying and the only way to enjoy the show is to go with the flow and dance the night away.
The band play and look and fantastic in their pork pie hats and Fred Perry shirts and it’s hard to believe that these guys really have been celebrating their 30th anniversary recently. Terry Hall, although not quite as animated as the rest of the lads, nevertheless sounds great. His voice cuts through beautifully and passages like the intro to Blank Expression gives us shivers down our spine. Mind you, itcould also be the beer we constantly get sprayed with by the crazed audience.
Expecting hordes of 2 Tone clad mums and dads instead we get a pretty mixed crowd consisting of all sorts – ageing crusty punks, indie kids, and yes, some sharply dressed rude boys too. It’s a bit of a rowdy bunch, the Berlin Specials fans, but in a nice way. Most of them just seem so happy to be indulging in classics like (Dawning) Of A New Era, Concrete Jungle, Too Much Too Young, etc.
Oddly the gig finishes earlier than expected. The band won’t come back on for an encore and the stage gets showered by plastic beer cups coming from a pissed off crowd that demand to hear Ghost Town. Finally the band comes back out but Ghost Town won’t be played this evening. It’s a little bit sad that the night finishes on a downer for a lot of punters because of this.
I however am happy as Larry to have witnessed one of the classic groups of the past century, Ghost Town or not.