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Hugh Masekela at the Barbican

This video from last night’s concert was taken off Youtube. There were quite a few people out last night with their video cameras, so there’ll be more I guess… It gives the briefest flavour of last night’s show.

But what it doesn’t show is the extent to which Masekela’s sheer charisma and warmth manage to apply the Extreme Defrost setting to a British audience. He does it in a way probably no other human being can.

There were a few punters in the back row seats who started dancing early on, and for the remainder of the evening, the question was not if, but when the whole audience would join in. Sitting in the Barbican’s plush seats as if we were listening to an AGM or Bruckner 6 felt increasingly, well, odd. Once the instruction came from the stage to do the natural thing, to rise to our feet, no encouragement was required. Arm-waving, pogo-ing, exuberance and joy seemed to completely take over the place. Masekela described it as “a night for uptight people to let rip.” And so, metaphorically at least, we did.

The powerful Masekela band – Cameron Ward, guitar, Randal Skinners, keyboards, Fana Zulu, bas and Lee Roy Sauls and Francis Manneh Fuster on drums and percussion kept all those powerful and varied grooves going wonderfully all night.

Peter Edwards, Binker Golding, Max Luthert and Andy Chapman provided very classy and strong support for vocalist Zara McFarlane. Jokes were from compere @MisterHSK. And Howard Male enjoyed it too and gave it four stars. But there is only one presence on stage you remember.

The Masekela concert, produced by Serious, was sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation – it’s Commonwealth Day tomorrow March 12th. We reviewed Hugh Masekela with the London Symphony Orchestra in Dec 2009

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