Who is in concert in London this year?

Group members come and go … but the music lives on

Time (and tide), as the saying goes, waits for no man and so it is to be expected that the line-ups of some of the leading bands playing London this summer have changed – some more significantly than others.

Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the case of UB40. The Birmingham-based band will play two concerts in London this April. Or, to put it more accurately, the two different versions of the band will each play one concert. 

Groups lose members for all sorts of reasons – among them … creative differences, the feeling by one or more group members that they will fare better on their own and/or the intervention of the Grim Reaper.

In the case of UB40 it would seem that much of their troubles stems from a black pit into which money has disappeared and no one appears to know just where the money went.

The result? Two UB40s, one with original singer Ali Campbell at the head of it, the other with Campbell’s elder brother Duncan taking lead vocals. Duncan was not part of the original band and his introduction has led to an even deeper rift in the Campbell family. Ali was no too chuffed when he stepped in to replace him. Another Campbell brother – Robin – remains with the original band.

All a bit confusing? The two bands are now locked in a legal dispute over who can rightfully claim the name UB40. The case has been hanging around for a while now.

So, who is your money on? If you would like to see the Ali Campbell version they are at the O2 on April 6; the Robin and Duncan Campbell version will play at the Roundhouse on April 27. The difference in the size of venues may be an indication of which of the two factions is enjoying the most success.

Elsewhere, several of the bands entertaining us in the capital this summer will also be without key figures.

The current Fleetwood Mac line-up (from left): John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, newcomer Neil Finn, Mick Fleetwood and other newcomer Mick Campbell

Fleetwood Mac looks like being without Lindsey Buckingham who is doing his own thing. The Eagles will be without Glenn Frey following his untimely death in 2016. Wet Wet Wet will be minus Marti Pellow who chose to follow a solo career.

Vince Gill (second from left) and Deacon Frey (centre) complete the Eagles line-up

We’re sure that were we to dig deeper many other changes would spring up among this summer’s bands.

Fans attending the Fleetwood Mac gig will be pleased to know that Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie intend to be there. The two are the vocalists on some of the band’s biggest hits including Sarah, Rhiannon and Gypsy (Nicks); Little Lies, Everywhere and You Make Loving Fun (McVie). But Buckingham is a miss on songs like Go Your Own Way which he wrote while he and Nicks were breaking up.

Over the past half century the band has switched line-ups regularly with Fleetwood the only ever-present; John McVie (the Mac of Fleetwood Mac) joined soon after the group was formed.

Joining the band this year are Mike Campbell, who was a prominent member of the late Tom Petty’s backing band, the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn from Crowded House (Everywhere You Go, Always Take the Weather).

It is thought that Campbell will sing the Petty hit, Free Fallin’. He may also perform an early FM song from the Peter Green era – Oh Well.

Finn is expected to perform most of the Lindsey Buckingham vocals although he may also perform Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Fleetwood Mac will be performing at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 16 June and Tuesday 18 June both starting at 5pm.

The following Sunday (23rd) the Eagles will line up at the same venue. Their special guest will be Sheryl Crow.

The Eagles line-up will include Deacon Frey, son of the late original band member Glenn. The other original group member Don Henley will appear alongside Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmit (who replaced Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner respectively). They will also be joined by country singer Vince Gill, who will perform four songs including Meisner’s Take It To the Limit.

Wet Wet Wet will be at the Adelphi Theatre on May 19. They have been without lead singer Mari Pellow since the band’s second split in July 2017. His place has been taken by Kevin Simm from Liberty X. Pellow has been somewhat under the radar since the split although he sang Love Is All Around on Comic Relief recently.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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