I caught The English Beat on Tuesday night (or they caught me, again), and it was honestly one of the best shows I have seen in years--perhaps decades! I had never had the chance to see them when I was a kid, so it was like one of the best presents the universe could give me!
A couple months back, Kerrie and I were discussing ska tours, and I said something to the effect of "What I really want is for Dave Wakeling and The English Beat to play near me..." A few days later, I was working a show when the boss stepped out her office with an awestruck expression and started repeating, "We just got The English Beat...We just got The English Beat" like a mantra. I was over the moon. I mean how much closer could they get than next door to my house??
But then I got sick and spent some unfortunate hospital time, missing out on shift sign-ups and comp spots, as well as money-making opportunities which would afford ticket purchase. I was this close to nearly missing the show entirely because of the whole not-having-a-ticket thing. In fact, I had to scramble to pull some last minute magic and really work it to even get in. But it was so worth it! Let me tell you, there is absolutely NOTHING more therapeutic than dancing your ass off to "Twist and Crawl!" And, many of you know, I can't even stand independently, but I assure you, I was a lot more twist than crawl! I sweated out all the lingering illness, and lost a couple pounds to boot.
I'm a huge ska fan, of course, but even if you aren't, I can't imagine that you wouldn't all enjoy the entertainment value these guys give. Maybe it's because it's the 30th anniversary tour, but I doubt it. I think this level of quality is a product of uncompromising showmanship, stellar sound and sheer joy. That Dave really is a charming, witty, multi-talented and still devastatingly handsome man, both on and off the stage, is just a great big bonus! That I didn't immediately revert to my giddy, goofball, 13-year-old self when he came over to chat with me during sound check is a great bloody miracle! (In fact, I think I hid most of my geekiness quite successfully past the encore and the load out, and well into the post-performance personal sharing and metaphysical philosophizing session in the Wow Hall back parking lot. In my defense, he started it...)
The band is up the west coast and into BC and Alberta through the weekend and early into next week before Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc. and the east coast through May. There will also be some festivals this summer before the band records some new stuff and I hear there's a tour with Hepcat and a couple other third-wave (and probably fourth-wave, by now) ska groups in the not-too-distant future, but if you can catch them before this 30th Anniversary leg ends, I guarantee you'll be knocked outta your checkered creepers!