I never saw them play, but I’ve read enough about the pre-comeback Specials to know they were relentless; relentless in their output, relentless in their creativity, and relentless in their live shows. Angry young men, playing angry music, to angry crowds, all in a spiral of energy and momentum focused on creating justice and equality.
As tonight shows, perhaps you couldn’t, and shouldn’t, expect the same sort of energetic output from those same young men as they reach later stages in life – their anger and passion remaining fierce, but like an aging boxer, their ring style changing from one of ferocity to an approach that conserves energy and only strikes when they know their shot will land. Altering their set-list to fit their style, the band move from moments of intense ska (Nite Klub) to slowed down protest covers (get up, stand up. Freedom highway) in a set still focused on protest but now calmer, more mature, in their approach to demanding it.
Angry older men, playing angry (less intense) music, to angry crowds, all in a spiral of agreement focused on creating justice and equality.