The Specials reunite at Bestival

Ska legends play first gig in 27 years

The Specials played their first gig together in 27 years at Bestival this weekend (September 6).

However, given the absence of founding member and keyboardist Jerry Dammers, the band were officially billed as Terry Hall And Friends.

The ska legends, who split in 1981, were the unannounced special guests on the Main Stage at the rain-soaked Isle Of Wight festival.


Taking the stage at 5.30pm (BST), the band played a greatest hits set, including ‘A Message To You, Rudy’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’, as well as their cover of Toots And The Maytals‘ 1969 hit ‘Monkey Man’, more recently made famous by Amy Winehouse.

Vocalist Terry Hall commented on the festival’s nautical fancy dress theme – billed as ‘30,000 Freaks Under The Sea‘ – jokingly telling the crowd: “I’ve waited 27 years to play again to a field full of pink prawns!”

Hall announced in April 2008 that The Specials would be reforming for an autumn tour and possibly recording.

A reunion has been on the cards for some time – in April 2007, Hall and guitarist Lynval Golding played Specials songs at Glastonbury alongside Lily Allen and Damon Albarn.

However, the Bestival set was the first time the majority of Specials members have played together since the band split.

As previously reported on NME.COM, this year’s Bestival suffered from appalling weather conditions, which caused many acts to be cancelled, including Sam Sparro, Lykke Li and Black Kids.


Bestival organiser Rob da Bank has been blogging exclusively for NME.COM all weekend. Check the NME Festival Blog to read his Bestival musings.

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