Fronted by Ali Campbell, the band will play at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga next January as part of their 40th anniversary tour, sandwiched in between New Zealand dates in Mt Maunganui and Nelson.
Brought here by Rehab Rarotonga in association with Jacman Entertainment and Pato Entertainment and supported by platinum sponsor Bluesky Cook Islands, UB40 members Ali, Astro and Mickey have been wanting to play a Rarotonga concert for years, says New Zealand promoter Jackie Sanders.
“So excited to bring the band to Raro at last,” Sanders told CINews. “The band – especially Ali Campbell – have been asking me for years to sort it out and finally we have the local support to make it happen with Bluesky and Rehab and all the others.”
Things really started to come together in March of this year when Pato Alvarez of Pato Entertainment met with Rehab management while in Rarotonga with his family on holiday.
“Pato introduced us to Jackie, who is UB40’s promoter and the main connection,” explained a Rehab spokesperson.
While the popular Rarotonga nightspot has more than a little experience when it comes to putting on big-name shows in the Cook Islands – having brought Fiji, Mya, Jay Sean, Common Kings and Stan Walker here, to name but a few – they say UB40 “is definitely the biggest by far”.
“Feedback from the community has been awesome. Everyone is very excited and we expect that the concert will sell out early.
“We are selling just over 2000 tickets for this event, so with a band like UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey, tickets are very limited.
“We are very excited about being part of this event.”
Also excited is Phillip Henderson, country manager of Bluesky, the concert’s platinum sponsor.
“UB40 is an iconic band that bridges generations,” said Henderson. “Their music is played and heard daily, so to be able to help bring the band to play a concert in Rarotonga was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I was fortunate to go to a UB40 concert in the UK in the early eighties and I can’t wait to relive and share that experience in our little paradise.”
In addition to Bluesky, next January’s concert is also supported by local businesses The Bond Store, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Koka Lagoon Cruises, Vaima Water, Polynesian Rental Cars & Bikes, Pitt Media Group, Cook Islands Television and Raroxpo Events Management.
“We would like to say a big meitaki maata to Jacman Entertainment, Pato Entertainment, Bluesky Cook Islands, and especially to our family of awesome local businesses who sponsor and support our events,” said a Rehab spokesperson. “Their ongoing support plus the support of our concertgoers over the years has been massive.”
With 2019 marking 40 years since UB40 first performed live, the reggae icons will be celebrating with a greatest hits set that features global smash hits such as Red, Red Wine, Cherry Oh Baby, Rat In Mi Kitchen and Kingston Town. Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue will also be joined on-stage by their eight-piece band.
Tickets to the January 29 concert will be available online exclusively to Bluesky customers from 9am this Wednesday, July 18, from www.UB40.nz.
Remaining tickets will be available to the public on Thursday, July 19, and limited hard tickets will be available at Rehab from August 1. Prices range from $90 to $250 for the VIP package, plus booking fee.