MADNESS - LIVE Hordern Pavilion15th April 2017

Having secured the coveted support slot, Caravãna Sun were looking to impress. A short but tight set saw the four piece from Sydney slide through their tracks. Having been fine-tuned after a serious amount of time touring of late, the road tested set warmed up the crowd with their sun drenched surf rock vibe.

With the arrival of Madness imminent, the sense of anticipation from the crowd was clear after enduring an eight year break between tours. A buzz in the air and two generation of eager fans contemplating if this might be the last time Madness could play in Australia. The thought finally gave way to a rapturous applause upon the band entering the stage.

Lead singer Suggs strolled on stage dressed in his customary black suit and dark shades. Flanked by the huge LED wall emblazoned with capital letters spelling Madness as to reaffirm why we were all here.

Having lost none of the energy that is synonymous with Madness and ska in general, the lads burst into action with the title track off their new album Can’t Touch Us Now. Spanning almost 40 years, 12 studio albums and unperturbed by four decades of performing, the nutty boys were far from going through the motions of yesteryear. Working their way through Embarrassment, The Prince, NW5 and My Girl, those at the back of the venue certainly didn’t miss out by seeing Lee Thompson and his saxophone as he climbed onto the speaker stacks for some extra height and amplification.

Before launching into the new track Blackbird and referring to Amy Winehouse for whom the song was written about, Suggs remarked that “we used to see her around town and what can I say, it was a tragedy”. When an outfit tours on the back on a new record it is expected that the bulk of the set will derive from the new album but with the extensive back catalogue that Madness has, the set hopped, skipped and jumped through new and old. The classic Mumbo Jumbo cranked the tempo up before some more Suggs banter and dedicating You Are My Everything to the bands wives and dodgy Easter cocktails.

Playing some of their hits including; One Step Beyond saw the crowd erupt with punters in their red fez hats darting to the dance floor from all directions. House of Fun sent the audience into a feverish dance, igniting memories of its original release. Suggs stopped to enquire about a young fan in the audience and advised the youngster to do something with education before launching into the school boy Baggy Trousers.

The hits were coming thick and fast and the sucker punch was Our House. Whipping the crowd into a frenzy with thousands of fans jumping in unison, the venue was a blaze with chanting, sing-along’s and some call and response moments, proving Madness were quite simply, masters of their craft. Leaving nothing in the tank, the band pushed through an epic set containing almost as many songs as years they have been performing, it was...Madness!