ThomasOShea's current selection is:
One Step Beyond / Embarrassment [Live - New Year's Eve 2018]
by Madness
The Hoove-y Hoove-y Monster Sound

Madness at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool | Friday 17 May 2019

Last night, Madness were under orders for their first gig of the year, which saw the tapes rise on the various 40th anniversary ("XL") activities that will take place throughout the rest of the year, including an autobiography - Before We Was We - due out in September (though that, as the title suggests, focusses solely on their formative, pre-fame years during the 1970s).

Following an evening National Hunt meeting of seven races (and nary a winning bet), the band took to the stage, situated in the scenic surroundings of the Red Rum Garden, shortly after 9 and began with their now customary opening gambit of 'One Step Beyond' and 'Embarrassment' - the clip of those songs above being taken from their last, increasingly shambolic, show that straddled the New Year 2019 chimes of Big Ben on BBC One.

Indeed, the first seven songs comprised exactly the same setlist as played when I saw them in Manchester last December (with the omission of 'Take It Or Leave It', which was left rather than taken on this occasion).

As ever with an outdoor gig, and especially after such an unsettled and varied day of weather over Merseyside, 'The Sun And The Rain' was tempting fate somewhat, but in the end it remained dry throughout, as it had from the early afternoon onwards.

The pattern of last year's Christmas tour continued to be followed, with two of the new songs intended for inclusion on their next album being aired amongst the familiar favourites - 'Bullingdon Boys' and 'In My Street' being the ones chosen yesterday.

They were listened to respectfully by the much fez-adorned throng, who took the opportunity to take a mid-set breather, as perhaps did the band themselves, which might also explain the relatively rare outing for 'One Better Day'.

Following that relative lull in proceedings, the home straight upped the tempo along with the crowd's enthusiasm and participation, with the usual (home)run of some of their biggest hits in 'House Of Fun', 'Baggy Trousers', 'Our House' and 'It Must Be Love' ahead of the usual encore pairing of 'Madness' and 'Night Boat To Cairo', the latter as ever provoking the greatest amount of jumping and last expression of energy before crossing the finishing line.

They may well now be "three times as older" as they were when they first found success, but are still more than capable of (light) entertaining an audience, even if they seem content to remain in a comfort zone and ride off the back of those early career highlights to the detriment and relative exclusion of their work after 1983.

However, that can in large part be put down to the type of gigging they now do, which prioritises fewer shows at bigger venues, indoors and out, meaning that the broadest brush, greatest hits approach needs to be taken in order to accommodate the more 'casual' fan that their usual end-of-year jaunts around the UK and Ireland, and events such as last night, attract.

(And no sign of a return for the prodigal Cathal Smyth/Chas Smash, whose stage and songwriting contributions are still missed as part of the package. It would be a great shame if he were to play no part in this year's celebrations.)


United Kingdom
Posted: 18th May 2019
Thomas O'Shea
RadiO'Shea: The Jukebox Of My Mind - Even The Happy Songs Sound Sad (TM) 'It's Too Late To Start Now!'
Nothing currently playing...
All ThomasOShea's selections:
With 3 others
19 - 21 Aug 2019
With 1 other
18 - 19 Aug 2019
15 - 18 Aug 2019