UK reggae legends UB40 will return to New Zealand for a six-date tour in December and January.
The British band will head down under for a belated celebration of their 40th anniversary in 2020, performing all their hits at Napier’s Church Road Winery, New Plymouth’s Bowl of Brooklands, the Matakana Country Park, Tauranga’s Wharepai Domain, Nelson’s Trafalgar Park, and a Queenstown venue still to be confirmed.
The reggae pioneers - who have enjoyed something of a 40-year love affair with Aotearoa since their first visit in 1981 - will be joined by the US rock veterans Jefferson Starship and Kiwi rockers Dragon at all six dates. Tickets go on sale April 26.
“We always look forward to trips down under,” UB40 says in a statement.
“It’s one of our favourite places in the world to perform, but with so many uncertainties in the world these past two years, we felt it was far more important to focus on everyone’s safety.
“Now that borders have reopened, we’re finally ready to get back to New Zealand and perform the show fans have been waiting for!”
The New Zealand tour will offer audiences a taste of classic hits like ‘Food for Thought', '1 in 10', 'Red Red Wine’, ‘Kingston Town’ and ‘Can’t Help falling In Love With You’, as well as tracks from their latest releases For the Many and Bigga Baggariddim, which will be performed live in New Zealand for the first time.
The Birmingham group has had more than 50 singles in the UK charts and sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
UB40’s current lineup features founding members Robin Campbell (vocals and guitar), Earl Falconer (bass, vocal), Jimmy Brown (drums) and Norman Hassan (percussion, vocals) with new lead vocalist Matt Doyle.
Martin Meredith (sax) and Laurence Parry (trumpet), who have both been in UB40’s touring and recording line-up for over 20 years, will also be on deck, along with Tony Mullings (keyboards) and Ian Thompson (sax), to round out the band’s unique horns and rhythm section.
The band suffered the devastating loss of founding member, lyricist and lead sax player Brian Travers, who lost his long battle with cancer in 2021.
The group acknowledges that "there is a giant Brian shaped hole that can never be filled" but continues on with the surviving key founding members and songwriting core.
Jefferson Starship rose from the ashes of another legendary San Francisco band, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, Jefferson Airplane. Between 1974 and 1984, the band released eight gold and platinum albums and 20 hit singles, including ‘We Built This City’, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, ‘Sara’, and ‘White Rabbit’.
Dragon, who formed in Auckland in 1972, remain one of New Zealand’s most popular live acts with a catalogue of familiar hits including April Sun in Cuba, Are You Old Enough, Rain and Still In Love With You.
The group - with odd Hunter and Mark Williams at the helm - was inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2011.
UB40 New Zealand tour 2022 - 2023
With special guests Jefferson Starship and Dragon
Tickets on sale April 26
December 29 - Church Road Winery - Napier
December 30 - Bowl of Brooklands - New Plymouth
January 2 - Matakana Country Park – Matakana
January 4 - Wharepai Domain - Tauranga
January 6 - Trafalgar Park - Nelson
January 7 - Venue tbc – Queenstown