The English Beat With the Paul Collins Beat: New York, NY, October 16, 2012
About 30 miles east of B.B. King's, at Hofstra University, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney were engaged in a debate on this same evening. Wakeling, who is quite politically engaged as evidenced by his posts on Facebook, introduced "Best Friend" with, "I haven't played this one in about 25 years, but in honor of tonight's debate..." The song include the "You been talkin' about yourself again/I know I cease to share your views/Why doesn't everybody listen to you kid?" lyric. The set also included the band's Eighties hits and concert staples: "I'll Take You There," "I Confess," "Click, Click" (which perfectly melds ska with power-pop), their cover of Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "Soul Salvation," and "Stand Down Margaret."
The show came to a close with tour de force performances of "Tenderness" from General Public's All The Rage (IRS, 1984), "Ranking Full Stop" (led by Antonee First Class) and "Mirror In The Bathroom."
With the maniacally joyous fans skanking and dancing to the beat and many members of the audience wearing vintage English Beat T-shirts (as well as new ones purchased at the merchandise stand), it was obvious that Wakeling's new band matched the quality and musical mastery of his original group.
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].