Madness concerts 1979 to 1986

Madness concerts 1979 to 1986
madnesstixI first saw Madness on the legendary Two Tone tour which called at Newcastle Mayfair on November 9th 1979. This tour brought Ska to the masses, coming off the back of the punk revolution, and featured the combined talents of headliners The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour sold out everywhere, and was a complete success, but sadly the main reason it made the press was because of some violent outbreaks caused by a minority of troublemakers in some venues. The National Front and the British National Party were out recruiting at the shows, even though the bands who were performing on the tour openly distanced themselves from racism. It was a strange paradox, here we had fans dancing to multi-racial bands and singing along with songs whose lyrics preached racial unity, and yet the far-right was trying to sell politics which came from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. As I recall, there was quite a bit of trouble at the Mayfair gig, with fights breaking out throughout the night; and being one of a small number of people in the crowd with long hair, I did feel quite unsafe at times. None the less I survived 🙂 and it was a great night, featuring three excellent bands, and one of several nights I would spend with Madness over the next few years. By the time the Two Tone tour visited our towns, Madness were already hitting the charts and bringing their nutty humour and perfect pop tunes into our living rooms on Top of the Pops. In 1979 “The Prince”, “My Girl” and “One Step Beyond” had all been chart hits in the UK.
MadnessProg1The next time I saw Madness was at Sunderland Mecca, which by then was also called the Mayfair (just to confuse things :)), on April 30th 1980. The place was packed and a hot sweaty fun night was had by all. I remember being right down the front in the pit, gettimg knocked and pushed all over the ballroom floor. I then saw them at concerts at Newcastle City Hall in December 1980, October 1981, and February 1983. I also saw Madness headline the first night of the Dock Rock Festival, which took place down at Hartlepool docks in the summer of 1986. Dock Rock was a great festival in many ways, although at the time it was seen as a big failure, particularly in terms of the number of people who attended (although 10,000 did attend over the weekend). Looking back now, the line-up was pretty strong; featuring Madness, The Wailers, and Dr and the Medics on the Friday night, Lindisfarne, and Dr Feelgood on the Saturday night and Gil Scott Heron, Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Champion Jack Dupree on the Sunday night. madnessprog2
Going to a Madness gig meant a guaranteed night of fun. By the mid 80s there was no stopping these guys; and they had hit the UK single charts over 20 times, assembling a catalogue of tremendous pop tunes to draw from including “Baggy Trousers”, “Our House” and “House of Fun”. They also had some good support acts on those tours including The Moddettes, The Belle Stars and Jo Boxers.
Madness split shortly after the Dock Rock Festival in 1986, and reformed some years later. I saw them recently at a gig at Newcastle Academy, which I blogged on at the time.
Set list from the Mayfair 1979 concert: Tarzan’s Nuts; Mistakes; Believe Me; My Girl; Swan Lake-Razorblade Alley; Land of Hope and Glory; In the Middle of the Night; Bed and Breakfast Man; One Step Beyond; Rockin’ in Ab; Night Boat to Cairo; Madness. Encore: The Prince.

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