Oh, Madness, how we’ve missed you. The eighties legends are back for their first ever UK arena tour and we’re pleased to report that they’re well and truly back on form.
Support act Man Like Me were, quite frankly, bizarre. Bursting onto the stage at the 4000 capacity Plymouth Pavilions they immediately had the crowd bouncing with their unique blend of dance and ska. Once we got over the surprise of the lead singer being carried onto the stage on the shoulders of a band member we found that they were actually very good. Their mix of electronica and Camden ska was genuinely refreshing and we thoroughly recommend them.
By the time the clock struck nine the sold-out crowd had been whipped into a frenzy with projections of music videos on the giant screens hanging over the arena – the sound of 4000 people screaming along to a video of Should I Stay Or Should I Go is not something we’re going to forget in a hurry.
And we’re off! The lights go down, Suggs and the boys stroll onto the stage and the crowd go wild. The band were on fine form as they kicked the show off with One Step Beyond – they were clearly having a great time and the crowd absolutely loved it. The quick one-two of Embarrassment and The Prince gets the gig off to a flying start, with the crowd bouncing and dancing like it’s 1989. Recent tracks NW5 and the brand new My Girl 2 (penned by keyboardist Mike Barson) seemed to fit in alongside the old classics like a hand to a glove.
The award for the biggest singalong of the night probably went to Our House – everyone knows the words, everyone’s out in the good time and everyone WILL sing at the top of their lungs. It’s a real British standard and we’re pleased to report that it still sounds great thirty years after it was originally released. The band seemed fresh and they looked like they were having a great time – it’s great to see a band who still enjoy playing live after being together for so long.
The band played a total of six tracks from new album Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da and these seemed to go down well with the crowd. Standouts include Never Knew Your Name and Misery, with the latter destined to become a set standard.
Classics such as Bed and Breakfast Man (dedicated to the students of Plymouth), Baggy Trousers and House of Fun kept the crowd bouncing before set-closer Night Boat to Cairo brought the night to a jumpy and ecstatic end. Yes, a lot of the tracks played tonight were written and recorded thirty-odd years ago, but the new album proves that they’ve got their mojo back and their live shows are still something to behold. We think they’re amazing and if the crowd at Plymouth’s Pavilions are anything to go by they’ll continue to sell out gigs for a long time.