It’s a bank holiday weekend in Margate. The sun hasn’t shone properly for what feels like an age, but a huge crowd are still clinging on to a summer spirit and are clearly hoping The Specials will bring some extra good vibes to the seaside town on the first night of their ‘Protest Songs 1924-2012’ tour.
In 2008, the original Specials (minus founding member Jerry Dammers) performed at Bestival. The event was quickly heralded by fans as an amazing experience and the following year, the band embarked upon a massive tour. For many, it was the ultimate nostalgia trip; for younger fans, a very welcome – and unexpected – chance to see the band fronted by the legendary Terry Hall, something unseen since the very early 80s. Sure, the band had made albums with varying line-ups throughout the years and even put on a great live show fronted by Neville Staple in the late 90s, but the classic line up of the Specials was special for a reason. A second full tour in 2011 was captured for posterity on the double disc ‘More or Less…The Specials Live’, giving those who couldn’t make the shows in person their own chance to hear Terry “enjoying himself first”.
Most would’ve predicted the reunion would then fizzle, but over the next few years, other live shows followed. Finally, in 2018, almost a decade on from the big reunion, there were mumblings of a new album on the horizon.