Posted in music | tour dates on January 22, 2010

by Andrew Frisicano

back in the day...
The Specials

The Specials have not been on American soil since a grueling 6-week, coast-to-coast tour launched in January 1980 (one of the colder winter's in U.S. history) all but broke the band up. Many U.K. bands have been unprepared for the distance between U.S. cities and the amount of travel time that is required to go from the east coast of the U.S. to the west coast and everywhere in between.

While The Specials may have been ready to kill each other off stage, on stage they channeled their anger at one another into stellar live shows. They opened a number of shows for The Police during the tour, whipping crowds up into such a frenzy that they often stole the show from the headliners. Adding to the band's fervor had to be Jerry Dammers edict that the band not travel in a 'rock and roll' style, banning limos or stays in expensive hotels while in the U.S. Horace Panter documented this in great detail in his memoir 'Ska'd For Life' noting that the band's tour manager was sent ahead on some occasions to ensure the band's accommodation were not too luxurious. In fact, Jerry Dammers hated touring the U.S. so much that not even finding out that their EP "Too Much Too Young" had gone #1 in the U.K. could raise his spirits. [Marco on the bass]

In 2009, the reunited Specials played a full UK tour with 6/7ths of their original lineup, notably missing songwriter and keyboardist Jerry Dammers. This year, they'll bring the show stateside, with a Friday, April 16th set at Coachella (where they are not the only reuniting band).

They'll also be playing the next week, at NYC's Terminal 5 on Wednesday, April 21st. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 29th at noon.

Unless the band makes it known otherwise, it's assumed that Jerry Dammers still isn't part of the reformed band. Dammers and his bandmates were both vocally acrimonious about his absence last year, but didn't totally rule out the possibility of him joining up. The shows last year were organized to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, and a DVD of the tour is on the way later this month. Videos from those shows and footage from their last US tour, in 1980, are posted below...

The Specials - Guns of Navarone - Liverpool Olympia 29/10/2009

The Specials - Nite Klub - Summer Sonic Tokyo 2009 - 08/08/2009

The Specials - Message To You Rudy - VFest - 23/08/2009

The Specials Live in USA 1980 @ Hurrahs New York

The Specials Live in USA 1980 part2 @ Hurrahs New York

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Comments (38)

Monkey Man!

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:28 AM

Oh man this is fucking incredible!

Posted by michaelways | January 22, 2010 10:28 AM

fuck yeah!

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:33 AM

Rude Boyz!

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:43 AM

this is so good, I can't wait.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:45 AM

Why T5?!

Irving Plaza 2 night stand or Bowery Ballroom 3 night stand would have been so much better :(

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:48 AM

right on 10:48

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:53 AM

saw the specials 2 times 'back in the day. first time was after the first album at a place called 'speaks' on long island. debbie harry introduced them and mick jagger was in the audience. they played all they knew including 'gangsters' 2x and a cover of 'the selector.' it was easily the maddest show i've ever attended (and i saw the ramones 20+ times).

saw them again on long island (club malibu) after the second album came out. a diffferent show as the album was a bit more "lounge-y." but still - it was the specials.

i just hope i manage to get a ticket next friday.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 10:53 AM

holy shit! i have been waiting at least 10 years for this

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 11:41 AM

terry hall looks thrilled in that "nite klub" video. make that money!!

Posted by d | January 22, 2010 11:55 AM

Saw the Specials first time around at Hurrah's.That was one memorable club/time.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 11:56 AM

The band toured the US after January 1980 as reported here. The last time the Specials played in NYC was August 1981. Billboard magazine has a review of it right here: http://books.google.com/books?id=QiQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT37&lpg=PT37&dq=%22the+specials%22+%22pier+84%22&source=bl&ots=AFQMwgS5SO&sig=R8lFYTpzl-JLi0mZbVSyqdXoYqA&hl=en&ei=EtpZS6eTNNWZ8Aac8_TzBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CBoQ6AEwBjge#v=onepage&q=%22the%20specials%22%20%22pier%2084%22&f=false

I'm not sure how many other dates were included on the August '81 tour, but probably 9 or 10 in all.

Posted by Tim B. | January 22, 2010 12:08 PM

Really looking forward to this show! Can't Wait!

Posted by Bryan K | January 22, 2010 2:19 PM

the December 2009 MOJO had an incredibly great and detailed article about how they got back together and why Dammers isn't part of it. recommended.

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 2:28 PM

holy shit! i can't wait for this show!

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 3:23 PM

Vampire Weekend better retire now then

Posted by Anonymous | January 22, 2010 4:59 PM

they were here after 1980. they toured in the 90's and were not too exciting.

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 10:41 AM


10:41 That was The Specials in name only, just a couple of orig members, whereas this is the full orig lineup (sans Dammers) from 1980. But I'm sure you enjoyed the No Doubt show...

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 12:50 PM

10:41 misses no doubt and wishes it was the 90's

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 4:05 PM

show was posted on bowerypresents site this morning, now its no longer there...Hmm

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 4:45 PM

4:45-something is fishy

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 6:39 PM

if show doesnt go on, im boycotting

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 7:25 PM

this show better happen

Posted by Anonymous | January 23, 2010 7:37 PM

Terry Hall's royalties from "Our Lips Are Sealed" must finally be drying up.

Posted by Hugh | January 24, 2010 4:50 AM

so no dammers in this lineup?? but uh, dammers IS the specials. I guess it's another one of those cases where the guy who was the main creative force in the band turns out to be not so essential to touring. (roger waters and pink floyd being another example)

Posted by Anonymous | January 24, 2010 5:27 AM

The last show I saw with the original lineup was at The Paramount Theater in Staten Island in August 1981. I think they only played 1 more show after that before breaking up.

Posted by Joe | January 25, 2010 8:39 AM

they played malibu on long island in the summer of '81.

yes, jerry dammers is the driving force behind the specials, BUT, truth be told, he played keyboards and did not sing.

as much as his presence would be "special," it's not essential. it will still be a mad show.

Posted by Anonymous | January 25, 2010 3:05 PM

Ticket link no longer works?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2010 4:31 PM

i hear its cancelled. What the hell

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2010 12:34 PM

Anyone know what's going on with the show? The link doesn't work and it's not listed on Terminal 5's calendar anymore. :(

Posted by i<3terryhall | January 29, 2010 10:41 AM

The Staten Island show Joe @8:39am on Jan. 25 refers to is one of the best concerts I've ever attended. By the encore song, "Enjoy Yourself", the stage was overrun by dancing fans - who enjoyed themselves without interfering with the band. Unforgettable!

Posted by drewo | January 29, 2010 12:47 PM

Terminal 5 is the worst venue in North America. I heard they're playing a warehouse in bk instead. Eat poop Bowery Presents.

Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2010 12:56 AM

I saw them on Warped tour within the last 10 years. This press release sound suspect.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2010 10:38 PM

I saw The (original) Specials at Perkins Palace in Pasadena on August 14th 1981 (my ticket stub says $8.50. heh).

I wish you goddamn Hipsters would check your facts with someone old enough to have been there before spouting b.s. like "The Specials have not been on American soil since a grueling 6-week, coast-to-coast tour launched in January 1980". Like your Dad.

Posted by Riot Nrrrd™ | February 6, 2010 8:47 AM

Anyone know what's going on with the show? The link doesn't work and it's not listed on Terminal 5's calendar anymore. :(

Posted by دردشة مكتوب | November 24, 2010 9:06 AM

Really looking forward to this show! Can't Wait!

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