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NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 9) - It had to be the biggest party ever held in Nuku'alofa, when some 10,000 to 15,000 people including thousands of children, attended the United Kingdom reggae band UB40 concert at the Teufaiva Stadium in Tonga last night, March 8.

Three-hours of non-stop music by UB40, singing 22 of their greatest hits on a warm dark night sent the crowd wild. The hard-core fans became so packed in front of the stage that about halfway through the concert, UB40 stopped their performance and the dread-locked Astro, appealed in English for the crowd to step back from the stage. When the frenzied crowd of mainly young girls and middle-aged women did not respond, an inspector of police was called in to speak to the crowd in Tongan.

The fans moved back and the concert continued, until the band played such popular favorites as 'Red Red Wine' and 'Can’t Help Falling in Love with You' and the crowd went wild again, many joining in the singing.

‘Aisea ‘Aholelei of Fresh off the Boat, the promoters of the UB40 concert said that about 15,000 people attended the concert, filling up the stadium’s grandstand, the track, and the rugby field.

The seven-member group with 33 crewmembers arrived in Tonga on Tuesday afternoon, March 7th, from Tahiti and was welcomed at the airport by a traditional dancing troupe and banner-waving crowd of about 200.

UB40 is currently on a World Tour, to celebrate their 25th year of making hit songs and to promote their latest album, 'Who Are You Fighting For'.

The band is brought to Tonga by Fresh off the Boat of Australia in conjunction with Showtime Entertainment. They also brought to Tonga the reggae star Maxi Priest last year, and Boney M earlier this year.

UB40 departs Tonga today with its 33 crew for a two-night concert in Suva and Lautoka in Fiji, before continuing on to the Hawaiian Islands.

‘Aisea said that Fresh Off The Boat is planning to bring the Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy to Tonga, either in July or August later this year.

March 10, 2006

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