Madness – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

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Madness Scarborough 2019

Madness – Live Review

Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 2019

by Steve Crabtree / @stevecrab

We’ve been spoilt with some glorious British weather this week, but it couldn’t hold out for just one more day. When you’re going to a concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, you want that sunshine to be beaming down. However thousands of Madness fans weren’t going to let a spot of rain crash this gig.

The masses had come to the seaside to see this band who will probably never stop going. A bit of subdued weather didn’t seem to matter.  And they were warmed up by a brilliant choice of support act in the Pigeon Detectives who did more than just make up numbers. They were worthy of the stage. Even during the moments where frontman Matt Bowman went crashing down on it like the proverbial sack of spuds. I think everyone paid attention to them and enjoyed their slot.

Madness Scarborough 2019

“The heavy, heavy monster sound started up”

But come 8:50pm, we stopped watching that, and watched this: The heavy heavy monster sound started up and rained over Scarborough, and Madness had arrived again.

And with it, the crowd were straight into THAT dance move as ‘One Step Beyond’ kicked off the night. And they were sounding good. These lot have been around for 40 years, and straight away you could tell they know how to put on a show.

They can still belt out ‘Wings Of A Dove’ and ‘Embarrassment’ with good form. And when they did ‘Driving In My Car’ it came with a brilliant montage of Morris car footage and some of the original music video. Whilst the crowd are here to enjoy the music, they’re here to have fun too and that’s the vibe that was going on all over the place.

Madness Scarborough 2019

“The typical Madness way”

Frontman Suggs never seems to change, and he looked dapper in a suit and shades. Original sax player Lee Thompson wore a fetching purple velvet suit and fez, and the rest of the band were sharp – in the typical Madness way.

They weren’t just looking great, they sounded it too. More hits came in the form of ‘House Of Fun’ and ‘Baggy Trousers’. I think everyone was stamping to these two, or at least giving it a good go. There was two-tone and ska clothing everywhere you looked, and pork-pie hats and fez’s in abundance.  Whether a long time Madness fan, or one who’d come along for the hits – people were in the right spirits.  A really good atmosphere in this great venue.

Time flew by, and couples had their arms around each other when Madness sang ‘It Must Be Love’. And the two song encore of ‘Madness’ and ‘Night Boat to Cairo’ closed off another brilliant show at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Madness Scarborough 2019

“Unmistakable sound”

People who go to a Madness gig tell you how good it is. And those same people will have loved the Scarborough show.

There’s no denying that they have a cult following. But they also appeal to a much wider audience than just their hardcore fanbase.  And when they still turn out and give performances like this, it’s easy to see why. An unmistakable sound, that you can’t help but enjoy live, especially when the hits come out. And they deliver a lot of hits!

Images: Cuffe & Taylor

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