THE city’s greatest band The Specials hit all the right notes at Coventry Cathedral in the first of four consecutive homecoming gigs on Tuesday night.
In the shadow of the city’s iconic spires, on a stage nestled in the spectacular cathedral ruins, the legendary group sung of peace, politics and the city’s past.
Lead singer Terry Hall, bassist Horace Panter and guitarist and vocalist Lynval Golding performed the intimate concert as part of their tour to mark 40 years of Coventry’s great world export, 2-Tone.
They returned home fresh after reaching number one with their first studio album in nearly four decades, aptly named Encore.
The four hometown concerts are set to be the defining moments of the city’s celebration of 40 years of the 2-tone record label which spawned the chart-topping Specials, The Beat, Madness and The Selecter.
Providing their traditional fusion of ska, reggae and punk, there were performances of new politically charged hits ‘Vote For Me’ and ‘Embarrassed by You’ – as well as nostalgic renditions of classics such as ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘A Message to You Rudy’.
The music was delivered in front of a backdrop of banners, some emblazoned with slogans such as ‘fake bombs’, ‘we sell hope’, ‘non judgement day is coming’ and simply, ‘think’.
It is 10 years since the band reformed and played a selection of city shows harking back to the glory years of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
They also supported The Rolling Stones at the Ricoh Arena last year and were happy to take centrestage in front of a rapturous home crowd.
Horace Panter tweeted: “Coventry – last night was fantastic! Thanks for the warm welcome.”
He also quoted Terry’s words from the stage as the band played their song Friday Night Saturday Morning, reflecting on Coventry’s nightlife of the late 1970s: “‘I’ve never dedicated a song to a chip shop before; this one is to #theparsonsnose – #fridaynightsaturdaymorning!”