I arrived half an hour early as usual. Unfortunately they kept us standing outside until twenty minutes after the posted door-opening time. At least it wasn't raining. On the last tour each gig was recorded and sold on a limited edition CD (which took ages to arrive if you ordered it after the gig, but that's another story). This time they're only recording the two London gigs so I bought a copy of the Astoria CDs. The choice of soft drinks on sale in the bar was poor - bottled water or Red Bull, for £1.80 each. Surely there must have been plenty of others driving home afterwards who couldn't buy the booze. Where was the orange juice, lemonade, cola, etc.?
The venue was standing only apart from the disabled platform, and it was packed pretty much full. Even after they'd deigned to let us inside the crew were still far from finished setting up the stage and fiddling with the lighting. I went and grabbed a spot by the front rail. On the plus side I had an excellent view. On the minus side it was too cramped to dance without bumping against several other people, and I was right in front of a huge speaker bank, causing my ears to ring for quite a while after the gig.
The support act was a band called The Bees. They were OK but not really what we'd gone there to see. The best song they did was an instrumental number called The Russian.
Madness themselves were excellent. They did a mixture of old and new stuff. The songs that really got the crowd going were the old favourites like Baggy Trousers, House of Fun, It Must be Love,and Night Boat to Cairo. My favourite though was probably their cover of Iron Shirt (I Chase the Devil), originally by Max Romeo. If you go to their Myspace page they currently have a recording of it in their music player (warning: it's not entirely safe for work). I'm looking forward to buying their new album when it comes out.
Here are a few videos from the night. Some of the best songs I didn't record because I was too busy dancing to hold the camera steady. I particularly recommend watching Baggy Trousers and Night Boat to Cairo if you want to get a feel for what it was like to be there:
Return of the Los Palmas 7
It Must Be Love
Night Boat to Cairo