English Beat Oct.24, 2005

Simply by taking the stage at Café Campus last night and performing, The English Beat won me over. This is due to the fact that two of the band members were forced to drop out of the show because of really bad cases of the flu and the bassist and lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Wakeling were also coming down with it. A replacement guitarist and keyboard player (both Canadian) were picked out of the line ups of the opening bands from the previous night's show in Ottawa to fill in for the sick members and the other two decided that indeed, the show must go on.

Despite their relatively short career (3 albums over 5 years), The English Beat were one of the most successful bands ever in England. Their first album had 6 charting singles in the U.K., more than "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. However, they never attained any kind of chart success in North America. Sadly, that was one of the reasons that they broke up. Well, even though they never had singles that charted in Canada, the show last night at Café Campus really demonstrated that they have some hardcore fans. The latest incarnation of The English Beat has only one remaining original member, Wakeling, but the sound and beat of one of the most influential British ska bands ever lives on through the new members. Dave Wakeling was supported by a 5-piece band and one female backing vocalist. The English Beat always said that they were not a ska band, but a dance band and it was obviously that that still holds true 25 years later. The crowd, which was an interesting mix of different ages, was dancing from the first song and continued to do so throughout the 95 minute set. Wakeling is a veteran performer and it showed when his guitar string broke during the second song he continued playing and after the song he joked with the crowd that it was obvious that the spirit of punk was not dead. He has a good stage presence and is always chatting with the audience. The crowd of around 300 at Café Campus seemed to feed off his interest in forming a dialogue with the crowd and was yelling out song requests throughout the show. Wakeling indulged and delighted the crowd by performing some unscheduled songs a cappella, such as Sole Salvation, based on shouted out requests. The set was constructed to make everyone happy in that it included most of The English Beat's biggest hits, mixed in with a new tune and some General Public material.

1) Rough Rider
2) Twist & Crawl
3) Tears of a Clown (Smokey Robinson and The Miracles cover)
4) Stand Down Margaret
5) Best Friend (dedicated to an audience member who had been shouting out requests)
6) Mirror In The Bathroom
7) I'll Take You There (General Public song)
8) Ranking Fullstop
9) Doors Of Your Heart
10) Never You Done That (General Public song)
11) Can't Get Used To Losing You (Andy Williams cover)
12) Tenderness (General Public song)
First Encore: 1) Click Click
2) Never Die (Dave Waverling solo material)
3) Save It For Later
Second Encore: 1) Too Nice To Talk To (performed a cappella)
2) We'll Be There For You
3) End Of The Party

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