Twenty-five years ago this week, Madness took to the stage at London’s Finsbury Park for two, never to be repeated (honest!) live outdoor concerts.
Yes. On the 8th and 9th of August it’ll be a quarter of a century since the band re-formed and played these two legendary gigs!
We’ve had four other Madstocks since then, and numerous tours and one-off gigs over the intervening years, but the original Madstock weekend holds a special place in many and fan’s heart.
If you get time this week, dig out that Madstock DVD (or VHS tape if you’re feeling suitably retro), grab a beer and look back at the moment the Magnificent 7 came back together after their half decade hiatus.
Although a few singles and a live studio album followed, it would take the band until 1999’s Wonderful before we’d see them release a new studio album, but that’s a story for another day.
As we recently mentioned, Thommo’s film project “One Man’s Madness, A RockuMockuDocumentary”, is now live on Pledge Music
Lee Thompson’s comedy life story film, featuring multiple mad Lee performances, and starring all of Madness and many more well known voices, is nearly complete and coming out this year. All that remains to make this possible if for your to pledge and help complete the project as planned.
** NEW EXCLUSIVE ITEMS **
Exclusive Baggy Trousers video prints available now
Unearthed from the archives are four never before seen prints from the video shoot for the iconic Madness Baggy Trousers video, featuring Lee Thompson flying above the fields of Islip Street School.
Numbered and signed by Lee, these hand printed photographs are limited to a run of only 2…
11. Oranges And Lemons Again – Jools Holland & Suggs
12. No More Alcohol
13. Blue Day (feat. The Chelsea Team) [Stamford Bridge Mix] – Suggs And Co
14. I Feel Good
It collects all 8 of his top 40 singles, adding to that the original “Alcohol” and what was arguably the most like second single, if three pyramids had reached that stage, in “So Tired”
Adding 3 b-sides, the obscure “Same again” to two covers, “I feel good” (James Brown) and “Alright” by Supergrass, to no doubt try and encourage the casual music fan to buy this budget priced release.
Finally, it pulls the two tracks from Jools Holland and Friends albums. The near single “Oranges and Lemon’s Again” and the more forgotten bouncy “Jack of the Green.”
This new CD is out now and has started shipping to fans. The sleeve features a new cover design, based on a photo taken recently for Suggs Live show.
Fans have reported that “The Tune” is the instrumental version from the Cecillia CD Single, rather than the vocal album mix.
Cant Touch Us Now – Limited Double Vinyl Edition.
All 16 tracks. A new half speed master in gatefold.
180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
Limited & Numbered of 2,000
The inner sleeves inside the gatefold outer cover features “Hong Kong” and “Australian” versions of the albums cover art, no doubt used in some function on the recent tour. So, we’re treated to Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddha statue and Sydney Opera House replacing St. Paul’s, for example. There are also a number of other country references mixed in. We noticed Dame Edna! on the front of the Australian one.
I’ve never reviewed Madstock before in the pages of MIS. Yes, I’ve reviewed the album re-issue and the gig on DVD, and reviewed many Madness gigs that I’ve been to since, (which in twenty five years is reaching the point of near 100 times now.) That first Madness concert I attended though, I’ve never paid full tribute to in a review in this email fanzine you are reading now, mainly because this service began in this form in the later 90’s, so towards the end of that Madstock decade. Now 25 years have passed then since Madness first came back. Wow!
I was a teenager back then and Madstock was both my first Madness gig and the first true concert I ever went to as well. Keith Harris and Orville at Skegness surely doesn’t count (please God, don’t let it count! just ‘cus of that “wish I could fly” hit, give me “Wings of a dove” debuting live at Madstock over that any day!) Now I’m 42 and I’m fortunate that this concert still lives in my memory very vividly for many reasons. It was life changing. You don’t tend to forget your first time of things and the impression new experiences make on you.
I’d loved Madness’ music on The Young Ones in the 80’s, and since about 1990 I had become obsessed with their back catalogue and collecting their music after riffling through my sister’s old records. This was a time when the information about Madness was scarce. Where were they now? Only a short mention at the end of the Divine Madness VHS gave us any clue.
When the advert first appeared in a newspaper declaring their live return, after Divine had thrown them back towards TV and Radio to comment on their past a bit too, including a seminal return to Top of the Pops, the sense of needing to attend Madness in Finsbury park as it was then billed was immense. Even though the price of a concert ticket and travel etc was probably a month of the little money that I earned at the time in a Saturday job while still a 6th form student. Even though I had never travelLed to London without being with family members before. And Even though… Oh no. It’s sold out!!!!!
I can’t go.
Depression at the failure to be quick enough to buy a ticket and bring this dream day to a reality loomed large. I seemed I wouldn’t get to hear these records I had been looping for two years, played live aftera ll. Grey Day started to be more meaningful to me in my slump. It’s not fair.
A second concert is announced, Madstock Sunday!, and the trains are cheaper. I’m saved!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Despite urging some School friends to come along and them agreeing, they then failed to get their tickets before the second date also sold out, or were stopped by disapproving parents not allowing them to travel to London alone. My red coloured hologram rose stamped ticket arrived in the post and I was grinning the largest grin and nothing would stop me going to witness the return of Madness.
I remember walking down the tube station corridor at Finsbury signs pointing the way to the gig. Pavement T shirt sales. Strange that they would sell this far outside the venue, I naively thought.
There were girls crying outside the station. “Where’s my Morrissey” one had written on the back of a balloon that floated past my eye. Why were they crying? I didn’t understand. Who is Morrissey anyway? Why isn’t he here now as billed? Is he dead? Surely this is Madness’s day and we are all excited about that aren’t we? I don’t get it.
Signs on the portable toilets “Madstock – coming on VHS” you are being filmed etc. wow this concert is being recorded great!, I would later queue at the local store store to be the first to get that live record AND relive the great day, but for now I’m getting close to the front and I’m staying here all day.
Gallon Drunk – Who? What a bloody racket, as they fiddle with their guitar pedals, and belt out something that is probably punk or near about and totally alien to me. Madness I can sing along to. This my first live band, I’m confused if the speakers or their equipment is broken? I can only cope with melody and pop at this young age. I down a beer in a paper cup in the hope that being not totally sober, makes Gallon drunk better. But I can’t afford a Gallon so it doesn’t work.
Flowered up – We are nearer what was on 90’s Radio now, and I can dance to them, as the ravers in the crowd start clubbing it in this big field in the afternoon. The lead singer dances with a foam flower around his neck somewhat Bez like. Later throwing this into the crowd we all tear it apart and take a piece home each. The early 90s was a mixture of this dance and indie cross over and the sun hats and glowstick crowd mingled with the nutty dressed Madness video devotees wonderfully. Suggs appears and dances across the stage, to huge cheers and this only increases the excitement for what is to come.
Ian Dury – Takes to the stage with The blockheads. Who? This time my lack of musical knowledge level is to my shame. In years since I’ve been so grateful to have had this man and his band thrust upon me unexpectedly on this day, their significance increasing greatly as I learned of his influence, his sad passing, and I would even appear as an extra in his bio-pic movie. Even as an unknown to me, his presence captivated me and the first penny dropped when they reached “Hit Me”. Here was a single a no1 smash that had even crept past me on radio before, despite my music education being so lacking when it came to recent eras and musical greats. Their playing impressed me and while it wasn’t Madness yet, their song choices that day equally stayed with me as an impressive set of tunes to belt out, I was firmly in the mood now, excitement overwhelming, My Grey Day, black Divine Madstock T-shirt on, and the event programmed folded in half in my back pocket. The crowd squash becoming unbearable, and having survived a raucous blockheading, it’s nearly time for Madness…
The seven arrived, and stood their front of stage.
The most dramatic pause I’ve ever witnessed, and while most reunions bring such cheers, to this day I’ve not witnessed a moment as spine tingling as this was, 36,000 cheering fans roaring their love for Madness. Shattered by Chas’s Icon introductions, and we are off into a happy blur that is 4 parts singing, 4 parts dancing and 2 parts trying not to die in the heaving throng. Hit after Hit, teaspoon after wheaterall remix, song after song, it was amazing and joyous, and while I only managed to stay near the very front for about half the concert, I remember the joy of dancing to House of Fun with a little more room as much as I remember being so close to these great musicians and party in their element.
A nice alternation with a kilt and builders helmet wearing Lee, getting on the mic for a couple of tunes, and of course flying on a wire, and towards the end Prince Buster arrives, (I assumed he would for most Madness concerts at this stage, this being my first.) It turned out we would get two songs with him, as a filling in of time due to Morrisseys departure, which I’ve often felt happy about since having been a Sunday attendee rather than Saturday Night. Euphoric is how the night was and how I remember it. Ending not with Night Boat that would later become the increased tradition, but instead the slight promise of new records, with the live “Harder They Come Cover” a song that still reminds me of that time.
36,000 people leaving this earthquake site, means I miss my last Sunday train. I’m alone and slightly lost in the capital, slightly scared and still on a gig high, and I have to sleep at the train station, my bought 2tone poster as a duvet, until i’m woken by passing tramps who don’t like me nicking their spot in the early morning. I arrive home, greeted by concerned parents on the first train, croaky and happy to recount the day.
I would see Madness again that xmas. Because, They are that brilliant, I want more.
Who’s knows I thought. If I’m lucky over the next few years I might get to see them 7 times I thought. before they probably knock it on the head. ‘Cus people who are in their 40’s probably just stay home in their slippers, don’t they? they wont be touring then.
In 2011 aged 36 more than 70 gigs witnessed later I attended the first House of Fun weekender in my slippers. (Arthur Dent in the fancy dress on that first Saturday night at HOF)
And I feel Madstock is done. It’s a memory. The fourth and certainly the fifth one in a different park, didn’t live up the legacy of that first day. Madness concerts I’m still so happy to be attending, and the cousin of Madstock, The House of Common.
Well, come on come on come on. Let’s have some fun this August… I’ve seen many great bands since, but none as mighty as Madness.
I Remember Way Back When
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 691 – Sunday 5th August – Saturday 11th August 2012
This weekend Madness were photographed along with other stars due to be involved in the Olympics Closing Ceremony. Our medal winners and all of Team GB were doing us proud (other teams were available).
Bedders tweets showed that he’d clearly been enjoying Olympic Handball games, as well as the Near Jazz Experience playing the Cultural Olympiad. He tweeted…
“Full of the Olympic spirit (no, that’s not vodka) after playing in front of a multi-national audience, on a truck outside the V&A. They have blocked the road between the museums and are putting stuff on. Nice idea.”
On to the articles, and these got underway with Mr. Rodgers and his ever continuing and ever fascinating Madness Stats, Faces and Figures. The big news this week was that as part of jumping on the band’s new found Olympic and Jubilee success, Total Madness was about to be re-released and sporting a new tagline of “Britain’s Favourite Band”. The album was due for release on the 13th August.
Following recent album chart success, things were taking a turn this week, and Paul predicted that only Complete Madness would remain in the top 200. The big hope was that following this coming Sunday’s appearance at the Olympic closing ceremony, sales of Total Madness would sky rocket.
It was over to Suggs next, as we featured 18 well known and not so well known facts about our favourite frontman, courtesy of the Edinburgh Fringe web site.
It was back to Madness next as we ran a competition for you to win a copy of the re-release of Total Madness. This compilation would feature the same tracks as the original release, but It Must be Love and Our House had been moved up the pecking order to 1st and 2nd place respectively.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy, you simply had to email in to tell with the answer to;
“Who escorted Queen Elizabeth to the 2012 olympic games at the start of the opening ceremony?”
Closing date for the completion was August the 007th.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that Carl would be collaborating on Plan B’s (we’ve no idea either!) new album soundtrack and film project, Ill Manors.
“It was an ordinary day,
people walking, all loving me again
then suddenly to my dismay, out of nowhere
my heart started talking to my brain
what a great day for a murder
but I’m not in a killing mood
what a great day to reek vengeance
but I know it will do no good.”
10 years ago…
Issue Number 431, Sunday 5th – Saturday 11th August 2007
After a seemingly lukewarm response from the online Madness community, upon it’s announcement, it would seem as if the new Suggs ‘Best of’ CD was now available to buy from the shops, as the following report from Chris Carter-Pegg revealed;
“HMV now have it on their shelves too – £6 …just as well we weren’t anticipating a high chart placing for it as its quite poor for a Monday album release not to hit the shelves until the Thursday or Friday.
Seems as much thought has gone into the artwork and sleeve notes as went into the track selection – a pic from Suggs’ solo era would have been far more appropriate than one from the Dangermen days.
Whilst we were of the opinion that £6 was great value for the sheer number of tracks on this compilation, if you’d already got the two Suggs studio albums in your collection then it was only really worth shelling out for it you were a die-hard collector, and really had to have every Madness and Suggs release you could get your hands on.
However, at this pocket money (ish) price perhaps a few non-Maddie would take a risk, make their purchase, and subsequently take an interest in our favourite band.
We could only hope!
On to the articles, and we kicked things off with the news that Spandau Ballet frontman, Tony Hadley, would be taking over Suggs’ Friday night Virgin Radio show.
Commenting on becoming a DJ on Virgin Radio, Tony Hadley said: ‘In Spandau Ballet we were at the centre of the 80’s music scene, which was like no other – I’ll be recreating that party atmosphere every Friday night’.
Next, and a picture of 7 Badly drawn cartoon stick men standing in a reverse ‘One Step Beyond’ pose, with pathetic red boxes on their heads that were meant to be Fez’s but were all missing the black tassel bits and were mostly the wrong shape anyway, had won the Mad art competition.
Here was the announcement, praising the sub-Purple Ronnie style nonsense.
MADBLOG NUMBER 47 – MADART WINNER!
It took a while but the decision has finally been made! Once again, thank you so much for every entry!
It ended up being very very close… in fact there was just one vote in it! The winner is…
Sam Rhodes with his ‘untitled’ piece…
The combination of Simplicity, humour and aesthetic impact proved to be the winning formula!
Congratulations Sam and congratulations also to the runners up Anne Estelle Sustar and Jean-Pierre Boutellier… your prizes will be sent out to you soon.
Our congratulations went to the winner and runners-up, but we hoped and prayed that none of the images would be used for future album covers!
We had a report on daylight robbery next, as subscriber Graham Yates investigated a company, Worn By, who were selling t-shirts inspired or worn by musicians.
Graham highlighted a dark grey t-shirt with the words “Welcome to the lions den Temptation’s on his way”, for a wallet busting £60, a “F**K Art” one for an eye watering £42, and one with the words “The Invaders” on it going for £28! Ouch!
Moving on, and our next port of call was the official Madness Messageboard, where we re-printed some of the best questions and answers that had cropped up following the band’s performance at Blickling Hall.
We brought this issue to a close with a reminder to those trying to make up their minds as to whether they’d be coming along to the forthcoming Madness Weekender in Blackpool, that tickets were selling very well indeed.
15 years ago…
Issue Number 160, Sunday 4th – Saturday 10th August 2002
Much excitement ensued this week, when news reached us detailing that the ill-updated official site had finally received an update. Whilst the short flash animation and details of the forthcoming Christmas tour weren’t exactly what you’d call a mammoth update, it was at least a start, and gave fans the hope that a full update would be forthcoming.
Continuing with site updates, and it was this week that the official Chas Smash web site also received an update, in the form of Carl’s report of the band’s recent visit to Spain. He also left a tantalising ‘Hello’ up on the guestbook, where he mentions the filming his was doing on Friday for an upcoming Madness DVD. We were promised further news on this as and when.
Those able to pick up ITV1 were urged to get those video recorders at the ready, as the station were about to air the Madness episode of ‘Smash’, a series focusing on the popular music industry. Whilst we at MIS Online were sure the programme would merely be a re-tread of interviews, quotes and stories we’d all heard a thousand times before, we urged subscribers to record the show anyway, just in case the programme offered something new.
News also reached us this week (courtesy of subscriber Colin Galbraith), revealing that a number of band members took part in a march to the local Tory council to protest at the council’s scrapping of plans to build a theatre, in North Finchley, London.
The previous council had given the all-clear for the theatre project, called The Arts Depot, whilst the newly elected Tory council overturned the plans, and instead opted to transform the building into a library and flats.
As far as we’re aware, no members of the online Madness community took part in the protest march.
We finished this week’s issue off with news of a WhatsOnStage.com press release which not only offered tickets to the forthcoming Madness musical, but promised you a seat on Suggs question and answer session, too.
Sign of the Times
The Shortest gig – Terry Alderton (From Chortle)
I was booked to perform at the corporate event at the National History Museum in London. The stage was set on the stairs in the main room and it was to be hosted by Suggs from Madness.
I knew Suggsy well at that time and we sat in the dressing room drinking champagne before the show. There was a knock at the door and it was Jeremy, the owner of the company that were putting on the event. He said: ‘Terry can you do 10 minutes’ even though I’d been booked for 20.
‘Of course,’ I said! Suggs looked at me and said: ‘That’s a bit of a result!’ After a short time Jeremy came back into the dressing and asked: ‘Do you think you could do five?’
I said, ‘five minutes?’ He said, ‘No, five jokes. Short jokes.’
I don’t mind telling you I was getting paid very well for this show, so fine. I went on and did five quick gags and got off. Surprisingly, bearing in mind that corporate gigs aren’t usually the nicest, they were great crowd.
Back in the dressing room, Jeremy came in and said in his very affected actor’s voice: ‘Terry that was a little short…’ I said: ‘What?!’ Then he said: ‘That was a little short of sensational!’
To be fair I think you need to know Jeremy that story to be funny…
Pop legends Madness came to Falkirk and their concert at the stadium had a party atmosphere.
Many of those there even dressed like their heroes – trilby hats and fezzes were in abundances, along with shades and skinny ties.
After all it was Friday night in Falkirk and you had to look the part.
The crowd sang and danced along to all the hits that the group have produced over a remarkable 40 years.
While many of the audience weren’t even born when Madness first started making their music in Kentish Town, they still knew all the words and the moves to the classic songs.
Liverpool band The Farm began the evening’s music, but it was Madness everyone was there to see.
And they didn’t disappoint launching straight away into Embarrassment, followed by The Prince.
Billed as “one of the most successful British pop groups of all time”, it would be hard to argue with that as they performed hit after hit – and that’s when you remember over the last four decades they’ve had 15 singles in the UK top ten.
My Girl, One Step Beyond, Our House, It Must Be Love and Baggy Trousers were all there, along with their UK number one single, House of Fun.
Front man Suggs McPherson cast his charismatic spell over the audience even asking for the stage lights to be dimmed at one point so the everyone could look at the setting sun.
He also took time to chat to youngsters in the crowd with four of them brought on stage at the encore to help with the final number, Night Boat to Cairo.
As everyone left the stadium with Always Look on the Bright Side of Life ringing out, it’s easy to do just that after an evening in the company of Madness.
We’re almost done for this week, but just on the off-chance you missed it from our Showtimes section, an offer is currently running for two for one on Virgin V Festival tickets. Madness are performing at the event on Sunday 20th August.