Madness at First Direct Arena, Leeds, UK – 6th December 2018

Posted by Bianca on Thursday Dec 6, 2018 Under Pop, Ska, Two-tone

Review and Photos by Mark Loraine

And so to Madness… I say and so to Madness as I managed to miss The Fratellis and so I will, dear reader, have to leave it at that. I was however in good time for the headliner and so managed something I have never achieved before, namely to see the Nutty Boys in all their glory! And what glory, but more of that later perhaps.

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Madness have over the years become such an institution that it would now be safe to see them as bordering on the ‘National Treasure’ label, that anything other than a really positive review would see you carted off to the tower, n’er to see the light of day again. Luckily I don’t have to think about writing a negative review as they were brilliant. I will get that out of the way, they were BRILLIANT. From the opening bars of One Step Beyond to the triumphal last note of Night Boat to Cairo they not only owned the First Direct Arena, they owned the crowd lock, stock, barrel and fez!

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Starting the gig was a little film-ette of the Sound of Music and right throughout the show they kept showing snippets of Austrian animation (not the good stuff – if the good stuff exists, no the really poor 60’s stuff) behind the band. It’s fair to say that they played the majority of their hits (at my count 11 Top Ten and one Number!), played some lesser known stuff and even made the live debut of a couple of tracks ‘Take The Money’ and ‘In My Street’.

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With every single track Suggs postured and posed in the manner that Suggs has become known for, leaving most of the movement to Lee Thompson on Sax – heck, at one point in ‘Baggy Trousers’ I thought he was about to fly, but alas no! With the delights of ‘House of Fun’ and ‘My Girl’ in the set and also including ‘Wings of the Dove’ and the eponymous ska classic ‘Madness’, I don’t think a single Madness fan would have left feeling short-changed.

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All in all a thoroughly splendid night spent in the company of some real evergreen musicians who still know how to hold an arena in the palms of their hands and for me a night of bucket list ticking par excellence.

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Set List:
One Step Beyond
(Prince Buster cover)
Embarrassment
The Prince
NW5
My Girl
My Girl 2
Take It or Leave It
Tomorrow’s Just Another Day
The Sun and the Rain
Take The Money
(Live Debut)
Wings of a Dove
Driving in My Car
Bed and Breakfast Man
In My Street
(Live Debut)
Shut Up
Mr. Apples
House of Fun
Baggy Trousers
Our House
It Must Be Love
Encore:
Madness
(Prince Buster cover)
Night Boat to Cairo

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