Reunions, Tour Dates — January 10, 2013 at 6:42 am

The Specials announce U.S. tour, South By Southwest dates as Neville Staple leaves band

Reunited 2 Tone-era ska kings The Specials finally are making good on a promise to tour the U.S., today announcing they’ll play two dates at the South By Southwest festival in March as part of the first leg of a larger North American visit — but the shows will not feature co-vocalist Neville Staple, who is leaving the band due to “ill health.”

The band today announced that it will perform March 13 and 15 at the sprawling music festival in Austin, Texas, as part of a tour that will start in Chicago, proceed to South By Southwest and then feature shows along the West Coast, including dates in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

No further dates have been announced yet, nor the timing of the tour’s second leg, although the band previously suggested it would play the U.S. in March and August of this year.

The Specials have been promising a U.S. tour since 2010, but, so far, only have played a handful of North American dates around the band’s appearance at Coachella that year. A large outdoor show in New York City later that summer was scrubbed over immigration issues, and the group never made good on a promise to return to the U.S. in early 2011.

When the band, which has a U.K. tour booked for May, finally does arrive in the U.S. this spring, it will be without Staple, who joined the group in 1978 and sang alongside Terry Hall.

The Specials’ website today announced:

We are very sad Neville cannot join us on The Specials UK tour in May 2013 or indeed on the future projects we have planned. He has made a huge contribution to the fantastic time and reception we have received since we started and reformed in 2009. However, he missed a number of key shows last year due to ill health & his health is obviously much more important. We wish him the very best for the future.

Staple, however, continues to perform with his own band, and explained his decision to part ways with The Specials a few weeks ago on his own Facebook page:

To all the fans who have sent messages and posted stuff on facebook and on the Specials forum pages, I’m sorry to hear that some of you are upset that you bought tickets, before knowing I had decided to not perform with the Specials for BBC and the forthcoming tour.

I made my mind up some weeks ago to take a back seat and was under the impression that tickets wouldn’t go on sale until after the BBC performance, when my decision would be made public. However, the ticket link went out earlier and this was out of my control.

I can’t jump around like I used to but will be performing now and throughout 2013, with my band as before and hope to see many of you along the way. Please join my facebook page for all ticket updates.

I wish the rest of The Specials all the best in 2013.


Confirmed dates are listed below:
The Specials tour dates:

March 13: South By Southwest, Austin, TX, USA
March 15: South By Southwest, Austin, TX, USA
May 10: Barrowland, Glasgow, UK
May 13: O2 Academy, Newcastle, UK
May 15: O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK
May 18: Olympia, Liverpool, UK
May 19: De Montfort Hall, Leicester, UK
May 21: O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK
May 23: Centre, Newport, UK
May 25: Winter Gardens, Margate, UK
May 26: Guildhall, Portsmouth, UK
May 28: O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK






  1. I am hopeful, yet fearful, that they will not returm to the US after SXSW. With that said, I am off to Austin to see them.

  2. I am fearful, that they will not returm to the US after SXSW. With that said, I am off to Austin to see them.

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