O2 Academy, Newcastle
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 decided...to 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.
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...
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
Driving In My Car
Tomorrow's Just Another Day
House Of Fun
It Must Be Love
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.
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.