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Review: Madness - Madstock! CD and DVD re-issue

PUBLISHED: 11:02 23 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:02 23 September 2015

Madness - Madstock repackaged and reissued

Madness - Madstock repackaged and reissued

Archant

Remember when the Nutty Boys made their comeback? Seems just like the other day...and now your can relive it...

For anyone who has not attended a live music concert before, then breaking that duck with a Madness show would be a fine recommendation.

Because the band deliver, to this day, the sort of live show and atmosphere which you wish every performer would.

Firstly, they are acutely aware of what the audience wants; to be thoroughly entertained.

Thus the singles from their career are liberally distributed throughout the set and sound just like they did on the record.

And, perhaps more importantly, the crowd responses with a remarkable sense of enthusiasm which can take even seasoned gig goers a little by surprise.

For an audience which ranges across a spectrum starting at pre-pubescent youngsters and then comfortably into middle age, the atmosphere created genuinely takes some beating.

All of which has been demonstrated at the band’s two Kent shows in recent years – a trip to Birchington’s Quex Park back in 2011 and, just a few weeks ago, another open air hit parade at Kent’s cricket ground in Canterbury.

All of which is just one of the many reasons why the repackaging of Madstock! – the band’s triumphant reunion show now a remarkable 23 years ago – is so welcomed.

When Madness announced they were to reform for a one-off show at London’s Finsbury Park back in 1992, they did so riding the crest of a wave.

Courtesy of a heavily advertised greatest hits album, the band’s legacy had reminded young and old alike of just how impressive a back catalogue they had.

It was easy to forget, of course, just how big they were back in the early 1980s, with a string of top 10 singles during a six-year spell.

By the time they bowed out in 1986, it was a rather muted end to a much-loved, band.

Six years later, though, and their combination of clever lyrics, ridiculously catchy – yet rather sophisticated – tunes and a healthy dollop of fun, meant they were the band everyone wanted to see again.

Unsurprisingly, the show sold out and a second date was added. Some 72,000 fans in total. Such was the reception, and the clear clamour for more, what started as a one-off Madstock event at the north London venue ended up being a regular annual event.

New material and a live set still underpinned by a more than healthy helping of hugely loved hits, and Madness continue to this day.

But the opportunity to relive that original show is a tempting one and Madstock! provides the hungry fan with just what they need.

Featuring the CD and DVD of the show packaged together – plus some rare bonus tracks – it provides a fine record of a day which was as much about the wave of goodwill which swept the band back to prominence as it was about the reformation of the Nutty Boys themselves.

Thus the production allows for much of the atmosphere to drench the set and is all the better for it. Too often with live shows, the temptation to take the soundboard recording and leave the reaction and noise of the crowd off is one which frustrates. A live set, after all, needs a sense of occasion to sit deep within its very heart.

All the big hits are present and correct, and as a reminder of either just how quickly the years fly by, or simply of the band bathing in a perhaps unexpected second summer, this is a purchase you’ll not want to overlook.

Madstock! is released on Salvo Sound & Vision on October 9.

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