The Specials, Portsmouth Guildhall, REVIEW: ‘A different beast’

Picture: Paul Windsor
Picture: Paul Windsor
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There was a buzz of expectancy on a spring evening at Guildhall Walk and the pubs were over flowing out on to the street. 

It was almost 40 years ago when The Specials appeared alongside Madness and Selector at The Guildhall for the famous Two Tone tour. All these years later they have surprised everyone including themselves a resurgence in popularity.

Despite previous shows being somewhat diminishing returns with original members Roddy Radiation and Neville Staples leaving the band, that night saw the welcome return of original bassist Horace Panter and new signing – Paul Weller’s wingman – Steve Craddock.

This tour is a different beast compared with previous greatest hits shows.

And the reason being is release of the critically acclaimed new album Encore, which scored an unexpected number one, has given the band a new sense of urgency in today’s uncertain climate.

That said the biggest cheers are with the big hitters that define much of the audiences’ youth, starting with Message to Rudy, Nite Klub and Gangsters.

But the best song reaction of the night was Too Much To Young.

Sadly no Ghost Town for the encore but a riotous Enjoy Yourself instead. They have ensured a massive crowd for the headlining spot at this year’s Victorious Festival.

                                                   PAUL WINDSOR