HAVING held the mantle of respected elder statesmen, 2012 was the year that London mob Madness finally graduated to full-blown national-treasure status with memorable appearances at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and to a lesser extent the Olympic Games closing ceremony, as well as the well-received top ten album Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. *****
Star rating: * * * * *
To their huge credit, this show demonstrated not a willingness to rest on their well-earned laurels, but to strive hard to live up to their reputation.
So brisk was the pace that in barely an hour-and-a-half they’d powered through more than two dozen songs, and what caught the attention was not only how many of them were recognisable pop classics but how few failed to catch the attention or the imagination. Things started in familiar style with an energetic treble of One Step Beyond, Embarrassment and The Prince, Suggs’ lead vocals treading a well-worn path between artisan spoken word and delicately-delivered soul, their uplifting tones bolstered by Lee Thompson’s trademark saxophone and a noisy horn trio. Where many other groups might deliver a mid-set lull, Madness’ lesser-known tracks were good enough to make space for a bar break hard to come by, including the new album’s lively My Girl 2, Wings of a Dove and Shut Up.
A personal touch came with guitarist Chris Foreman’s fun karaoke take on AC/DC’s 210 and a reminder that the band had their roots here, and he and Thompson’s a cappella take on Alex Harvey’s There’s No Lights On the Christmas Tree Mother, They’re Burning Big Louie. These served as a brief breather before a euphoric finale featuring House of Fun, Baggy Trousers, Our House and It Must Be Love, and Suggs’ warm declaration that Glasgow “didn’t let us down”.