HAVING made political comment with their two-tone ska-punk sound on and off for 42 years, The Specials are back at Bournemouth’s Windsor Hall.

The tour precedes the release of their latest album of Protest Songs which is due next month and follows hot on the heels of their last studio album, Encore.

The evening’s entertainment kicks off with support act Pete Williams (founder member of Dexys Midnight Runners) who delivers an impressive set and gets the audience geared up for the main event

To chants of ‘Rude Boys’, which reverberates throughout the whole set, The Specials take to the stage with Freedom Highway quickly followed by three favourites; Rat Race, Do Nothing and Friday Night Saturday Morning.

Simple lighting is the order of the day with a backdrop of a single colour for each song and monochromatic spotlights. Hall, Golding and Panter from the original 70’s line up, have surrounded themselves with excellent musicians who gel together and retain the sound of the halcyon days of the late 70s and early 80s.

A resounding rendition of everyone’s favourite protest song Get Up, Stand Up marks the halfway point in the set. It is a game of two halves and the second half is more upbeat as they rattle through songs that mean so much to individual’s past and the nation as a whole.

A Message to You Rudy, Nite Club and my personal favourite Too Much Too Young to name but a few.

The set finished with Gangsters and Monkey Man which left the fans demanding more. The encore? Ghost town of course and a crowd participant You’re Wondering Now.

Pete Williams told us at the end of his set “you are in for treat and no mistake”.

He was right.

The Specials still care, are still protesting, still angry and still put on a great show.