Thursday 2 December 2010


O2 Academy, Newcastle

When I booked a couple of tickets for Madness a long time ago, I had no idea we would be struggling under the great white weight of a severe spell of snow.

It had taken a long time for me to find someone to go with but all of my plans of companionship fell by the wayside due to the treacherous conditions. Robbed of a lift and warned by all the news bulletins to avoid travelling, I go anyway. The 'Do Not Adjust Your Nut' tour was too tempting to just give up.

So a mammoth journey involving a lift to the station, four trains, a fair bit of walking and a lot of waiting around for connections was necessary to get to Newcastle and back.

Snow on the tracks! Luckily it wasn't '...the wrong kind of snow'

Spotted in a shopping centre

Ah good - the show is still on!

The doors of the O2 opened at 2.30p.m. For some time, the only evidence of Madness was Mike Barson's keyboard.

No support act ever appeared, despite being advertised, and after a very long wait Madness finally appeared on the stage two hours later. They had endured a tough journey down from Glasgow.

First, we saw a flickering TV screen, struggling to tune in...

...until the iconic 'girl and clown' image appeared...

...complete with trademark nutty shades! The imagery was to tie in with the release of a new set of Madness DVDs, called 'Gogglebox'.

Then the band were suddenly on the stage, with Chas Smash introducing the first number with the famous words: 'Hey - you! Don't watch that, watch this! This is the heavy heavy monster sound. The nuttiest sound around! So if you've come in off the street and you're beginning to feel the heat, well listen buster; you'd better start to move your feet to the rockinest rock-steady beat of madness - one step beyond...!

After that, everything burst into life and all thoughts of the tricky journey and the long wait were brushed aside.

Here's some photos to recapture a little of the Madness matinee magic...

Chas Smash (Cathal Smyth) and Suggs (Graham McPherson)
share centre stage

Chas Smash taking a close look at Monsieur Barso's keyboard skills

Suggs in typical pose

Graham Bush (far right) took care of the Bass duties in the absence of Bedders (Mark Bedford) who is currently taking some time out from the band.

The set list went something like this:

One Step Beyond
Shut Up

Driving In My Car


My Girl

The Prince

Clerkenwell Polka
Tomorrow's Just Another Day
Forever Young

House Of Fun


Baggy Trousers

Our House
It Must Be Love

Swan Lake

Night Boat To Cairo

There was a brand new track somewhere in the middle too, but I didn't catch its name (if a reader knows it, please send me a message).

The set list featured most of their greatest hits in addition to three songs from their most recent CD, 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate'. Anyone who is still unfamiliar with their latest work are really missing out. It's a terrific CD, a sort of concept album based on London life. 'NW5' and 'Forever Young' are two of their very best tracks and well worth checking out as an indication of the mature Madness style.

Lee Thompson displaying his sax appeal before he
started jumping around all over the stage.

Mike Barson on keyboard and backing vocals

Chas Smash played acoustic guitar on Clerkenwell Polka

Woody (Daniel Woodgate) kept the beat
thundering along throughout the show

Nobody can dance quite like Suggs

Chrissy Boy (Chris Foreman) riffing away

How can they hear each other on
stage during such a noise riot?

Suggs takes a rest as Chrissy Boy tells a joke or two

All aboard for the encore: 'Night Boat To Cairo'.

All too soon, the show was over. It had lasted just 65 minutes. The late start had something to do with it, as had the fact that they had to do it all again later the same evening.

It was a quick dash back to the railway station to see what was still running. A tiny train arrived but half of the potential passengers couldn't squeeze on. I made it - just - but it was a long trip home.

Despite the brevity, it was a very entertaining show and I hope I get the chance to see Madness in action again.


Anonymous said...

Your concert pictures are getting ever more impressive!

Sean Marsh said...

Thank you!

Yes, I was pleased with how they turned out. They were moving around so much it was not easy to focus a lot of the time.

Anonymous said...

Excellent pics, did you get any of Night Boat To Cairo? I was onstage at the

Saz said...

fantastic pictures there!

Sean Marsh said...

Thank you!

The final photo is from 'Night Boat To Cairo' and I'm sure I took a couple more. I'll have a look. I know some weren't very good because I couldn't get the camera to focus on so many people jumping about!

How did you manage to join them on stage and who am I looking out for on the photos...?

Anonymous said...

I was the one in the Night Boat To Cairo costume, I know some of the right people so I cheelky asked if they could get me up. Any pics would be good to help me rember the experience.

Many thanks

Sean Marsh said...

Hello Dicka,

I do have a couple more photos of you on the stage.

If you are comfortable enough supplying me with your email address I can send them straight to you. You could leave a message here and I won't publish it on the site, so your email won't go into the public domain.

Or, if you'd like to write me a few words on your experiences of the day and send them as a comment on here I'll add the pictures and turn it into a proper blog post. Write as much or as little as you like.

The choice is yours, sir!