UB40’s Astro: I can’t wait to get back out and see you in South Africa

Cape Town – Legendary British band UB40, featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, will bring some reggae flavour toSA for their 25th anniversary tour. 

The tour starts on 15 May 2018 in Cape Town at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, then moves on to Durban on 17 May at the Durban ICC and makes its last stop on 19 May in Pretoria at the Sun Arena, Time Square. Tickets are now on sale and can be bought from Computicket and Big Concerts. 

Ahead of the trio’s three shows, Channel24 gave talented multi-instrumentalist Astro a call and spoke about why he and the band love coming back to SA, what keeps him going on the road and what he’s listening to right now. 


What made you want to come back to SA?

The people of course. Brilliant fans. I mean we have great fans all around the world, but the South African fans are something special. It makes you feel special, it makes you feel welcome, especially when you arrive in the country. We have so many friends there. It’s such a great pleasure to walk out onto that stage, every time we do. To see the reaction from everybody, it just makes your heart swell. I can’t wait to get back out and see you in South Africa. I think we’ll have a great time, we’ve never had a bad show in South Africa. 

How do you do you think UB40’s music has changed between 1978 and now?

The music is constantly changing. It’s always evolving. Basically, just trying to keep up with the music industry’s trends as it were. It’s very different to when we started, we’re playing catch-up now to everybody else. The one thing that is in our advantage is that the music we are playing is an international language that everyone is speaking. I think that’s the reason we are still around today, instead of trying to do what’s cool. 

Will you and the band be performing newer songs or more classics from your repertoire? 

I’m not going to tell you. You’re going to have to come to the show…I’m joking. Basically, we’ll be doing a greatest hits set, that’s pretty simple, we might throw in one or two tracks off of the new album. We’re not a new band, we know that when people come to our shows they want to hear the hits. We’ve reached the platform now where we have quite a few hits, so we’ll definitely do those and then one or two of the new songs. I can’t wait to see how people react to the new stuff. 

What’s the one thing you’ve learnt about yourself after so many years in the music industry?

That I can actually do it (laughs). Oh, before I used to go on stage I would be very, very nervous. I was crying in the toilet ten minutes before we would be going on stage and now when we get welcomed back with open arms I realised this is what I should be doing. 

Do you have any special plans away from the stage for your SA trip?

It all depends on our itinerary, we haven’t got that much time on our hands out in South Africa. We’re obviously doing a few shows. I’d like to make it to the beach and tan; get to know the area properly. Make a few more friends basically be a bit of a tourist as well. Just because of logistics we have to sometimes fly in, do a show, and then leave again and move onto the next and the next. I think we don’t really get many opportunities. It does sound really glamorous being in a band, flying around the world. But basically, it’s airports, hotels, do a show and then leave and that’s it. It sounds great, but it hurts an old body being on a plane or bus. Unless you’re one of those super, super rich groups who can afford to do one show, once a month and then relax. 

What’s the one thing you always take on tour with you?

Music (laughs and laughs). I have to have really good music with me otherwise I’d go mad. Music can always save you, especially when you have long drives to do, music always cuts down the journey. I couldn’t function without music. Life without be too sad.

What album or song  - other than your own – are you listening to right now?

One song I can’t stop listening to is by Chronixx and it’s called Capture Land. It has an absolute wicked backing track. 


*Channel24 is partnered with Big Concerts.*