Madness, Sincil Bank, Lincoln, Friday, May 29
As I stood there on Friday night, beer in my hand, sun in the sky, my son by my side and the beautiful chorus of NW5 drifting over our heads, I could not have been happier.
I was finally seeing one of my favourite band live for the first time and they were meeting all my expectations.
The fact that my 12-year-old son also loves them speaks volumes for the way Madness speak to all ages.
Indeed, you only had to cast your eyes across the football pitch where the gig was held to see the broad spectrum of people the band had attracted – men, women, young, old and in the middle. And they were all smiling and dancing and having the time of their lives.
Madness have been going since 1979, minus a small hiatus, have had 22 top 40 hits and entertained millions – but they’re still so popular that there’s no reason they shouldn’t grace stages up and down the country for a few more years.
The main man himself still looked as cool and charming as ever
And whereas the 50-something grandads in the crowd looked slightly comical doing their Suggs dance moves, the main man himself still looked as cool and charming as ever.
So what were the highlights of the evening? Impossible to say. As previously mentioned, one of the newer tracks, NW5, really struck a chord with me, but two songs I loved as a 13-year-old – Wings of a Dove and The Sun and the Rain – still resonated as strongly with me on the night.
It was a real privilege to hear such classic hits such as My Girl, Baggy Trousers and Embarrassment up close.
Return of the Los Palmas 7 and House of Fun sounded as good today as they did 35 years ago and most of the crowd joined in for a joyous rendition of It Must Be Love. Our House had a certain nostalgic quality, even when it was new back in 1982, and that was another highlight of the evening.
The Prince and Night Boat to Cairo were definitely crowd favourites and another more recent effort, 1999’s Lovestruck, blended in well with the earlier material. And Sincil Bank simply erupted with joy ( and more terrible dancing) for the finale of One Step Beyond and the single Madness.
Earlier in the evening, pop rockers Scouting For Girls proved the ideal warm-up. In fact, with hits such as She’s So Lovely, Heartbeat and This Ain’t A Love Song, they could probably have a pretty good go at filling football stadiums themselves.
But this evening was all about Madness. The group that were played at every school disco I attended back in the 80s, still as fresh, relevant and nutty as ever. What a great band.
Jeremy Ransome – 9/10