Legendary British band UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue brought some reggae flavour to today’s Taste of Dubai Festival by performing an acoustic set in the British Airways VIP Lounge.

Taste of Dubai - Ali Campbell, Mickey Virtue, "Astro" (Terence Wilson) and British AirwaysThe talented trio performed some of the band’s best-loved tracks for special guests at Dubai’s Media City.


British Airways is Taste of Dubai’s official VIP Lounge and airline partner and flew the trio in especially to put on the exclusive gig.

Singer songwriter Ali – whose band sold more than 70million albums over the years – said he was thrilled to be invited to play and that the guys still get a huge thrill from performing.

The 56-year-old said: “I’ve been doing this for like 30 years and I still get the same buzz – but I also still get really nervous. I find myself pacing up and down and I’ll be in the loo before the show! I can’t seem to get this Eric Clapton vibe where you just turn up and walk on!”

Celebrities including chef Jean-Christophe Novelli have been enjoying British Airways’ generous hospitality in the sunshine at the Taste of Dubai 2015 alongside BA executives and corporate customers.

The band recently released their own album – Silhouette – after the original UB40 line-up from the 1980s went its separate ways.

UB40 flew all over the world performing their back catalogue of reggae-pop hits, which included more than 50 tracks which reached the UK Singles Charts.

One of their most famous tracks is Red Red Wine ? and Ali revealed the title has inspired a unique ‘Red Red Wineries’ tour, which will see the band performing huge gigs at vineyards across the world.

Ali ? who is currently on a world tour with the band – explained: “We’ve been talking about it for a few years now ? it’ll be us touring the bigger vineyards playing shows. We’re going to start in Australia and New Zealand and if it goes well there, we’ll take it worldwide.

“It could take us into vineyards in South America, Europe and South Africa – it could go everywhere really. It’ll just be a nice way of spending our time.”

Ali – who is now a judge on New Zealand’s Got Talent – said the music industry has changed a lot since then and a band like his, growing up with very little money in Birmingham, might not have made it in today’s market.

He laughed: “We certainly wouldn’t have made it through if we’d gone down The X Factor route!

“Pop music kind of goes in 10 year cycles and Simon Cowell has dominated pop music all over the world really ? but it’s kind of time for something else now.

“Reggae is actually more influential now than it has ever been. If you listen to all the contemporary dance music all over the world – which we do when we travel – it’s all influenced by reggae. J-Lo recently had a No1 with a reggae vocal beat. It’s a massive influence now.”


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