Yesterday was a Big Night for Reggae lovers. Read On!

The Kololo Independence Grounds paid host to an unforgettable evening for lovers of reggae yesterday night with at an evening the iconic UB40 lead vocalist Ali Campbell and his band.

Read Also: Talent Africa & Next Media Team Up For Groundbreaking UB40 Live In Kampala Concert

Having been previously set for a December 21st, 2023 date, the show would go on to be postponed to March 2nd this year, and from the enchantments of the crowds along to each and every song Ali sang, you could tell this was a long way coming and the masses couldn’t wait to once again jam to some sweet reggae music, fifteen years later.

The highly sought-after event brought together crowds of all ages, right from Gen Z to the millennials, corporates, and music lovers in general.

At the clock of 4PM, queues at the ticketing points were getting busier than those at Apple’s HQs in California on launch day of an iPhone, further portraying how much anticipation people had had for the event. Fortunately, revellers got to enjoy a discount on tickets courtesy of MTN MoMo who were the official ticketing partner of the UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell show.

Upon accessing the venue was a reggae themed set up, with a beautiful photo booth and reggae merchandise on sale to set the mood.

In the mean time, the early birds to the event caught the worm which was a treated of a series of mixes by Next Radio’s DJ Bugy.

At about 6:20 o’clock, dazzled in a colorful sleeveless overall, and simple bling, Elijah Kitaka hit the stage. Opening with fan favorite “NDI WUWO”, following it with “KONTROL”, both off his eponymous body of work “Bedroom Essentials”. He thereafter for the first time since its release sang “TOUCH AND CONTINUE”, and then concluded his brief set with “NOTHING”, his first ever single recording, while under Swangz Avenue.

As the evening continued to fold, was a DJ sets from Naselow, performances by Navio, including his instant crowd exciting “Njogereza”, “Buguma”, and the others. During his set, the ‘Hamadi’ crooner invited The Mith to stage and they did a Hiphop madness.

Vampino took revelers back in time with his Benon assisted inspirational classic, “I Know”. He then of course sang “Smart Wire”, and “KwekunyaKunya”.

It was double the fan when band music stole the spotlight with Abeeka band taking the stage, and giving us a straight forty minute feel of band music, before Bebe Cool “Big Size Omunene, Big is Big, Bba Wa Zuena” made way to the UB40 Featuring Campbell Stage. One thing we have to always give Bebe his flowers for is his every evolving and fashion forward choice of outfits. He dorned a pretty amazing ‘kikumba’. He opened his set with “Born in Africa’, being that he was performing at a reggae event. Following it up closely was with “Love You Everyday” (a song which turns a decade old this year, which is only a timeless classic but a forever song that will always be written in the books of history in Ugandan music). He wrapped it all up with “Kabulengane”, and his latest “Question”.  

Shortly after that was Weasel of the Goodlfye Crew that was made of him and Radio. He put on what was among my favorite performances of the night. Biggest props to him for the crowd engagement, for he got everyone singing along, word for word, to bops “Bread and Butter”, “Lwakyi Onumya”, and “Magnetic”.

Vinka then made a short and sweet performance of three of her long list of bangers that’s ever growing. Opening with Dax Vibez assisted “Believe”, Vinka then went on to perform party starter “Bailando”, and “All Over You”. She was joined by choreographers dressed in all black, to compliment her all white outfit.

There then was a clam, before the storm that was UB40 and Ali Campbell could hit the stage. What made their performance memorable was how to start with, there was no in between interruptions, it was just a solid one hour and 25 minutes of the band, the music and the crowd singing along, reliving all the nostalgia the classics brought them.

Ali and his band performed over 10 tracks altogether. Among these were: “The Way You Do The Things You Do”, “Homely Girl”, “Groovin’ (Out of Life), “Cherry Oh Baby”, “1 in 10”, “Please Don’t Make Me Cry”, the ones which personally won me over “Purple Rain” and “Stick By Me”, “Impossible Love”, “Seems To Me I’m Losing”, “I’ll Be There”, “Many Rivers To Cross”, the muchly beloved fan favorite “Red Red Red Wine”, and lastly “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You”.

As was the case at the band’s first coming to Uganda in 2008, even this time round, the band skipped performing “Reasons”. Nonetheless, the attendees had a time of their life, more so the reggae enthusiasts who not only sang along, bonded, waved their hands and flags in the air during the show but also snapped some memories.

Experience wise, there were multiple ticketing points, hence making check ins faster. Seats were provided to all who attended; that way everyone would comfortably be able to enjoy the event. The show offered an assurance of convenience while attending by making sure there was enough stalls for refreshments and bites, affordably, that way revelers would be having to make minimal movements to access these. The other reassuring element being the security detail all throughout the event, both pre, during and post event.

UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell was organized and curated by events powerhouse Talent Africa, in partnership with MTN Uganda (MTN MoMo), Next Media among others.