By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: Tuesday 29th May 2010: The UK band UB40 touched down at Faleolo International Airport to a royal welcome by His Highness the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and a rousing welcome from warrior dancers and fans.
After a long flight that crossed the dateline and two continents, the group – minus the original singer Ali Campbell were greeted by cheering fans as the Air New Zealand flight they were on touched down at Faleolo international airport about 3.00 this afternoon.
His Highness the Head of State welcomed the band before inviting them to join him at the VIP lounge to light refreshments. As the band descended the airline, the Mulifanua village dancing group performed two traditional welcoming siva as the Miss Samoa Olevia Ioane presented leis upon the band members.
After the greetings and meetings at the airport tarmac and VIP lounge, the band was then escorted to the main airport complex to meet the eager fans waiting patiently for the bands arrival.
UB40’s concert scheduled for Friday evening, 1 June at the Apia Park Stadium is one of the highlights of the 50th Independence celebrations. “Yo Mann..U Da Best”, “Come and Get Me Baby – Satapuala Youth”, “Welcome UB40”, “Luv U Man” were some of the welcome banners displayed at the airport arrivals terminal.
Taupou Manaia dancing group struck up their best performance to honour the bands contribution to the celebrating of Samoa’s 50th anniversary. It was also an opportunity for many to take photos and rubbed shoulders with the band members. Despite the tight security, several diehard fans of the band managed to evade the security and ended up shaking hands with their favourites.
The band will be welcome officially tomorrow at an ava ceremony at the National University of Samoa before taking on the Apia Park stadium on Friday evening.
Fans will be treated not only to UB40s music, but Samoa’s own original reggae band, Tama Uli and other local artists.