Words: George Millington | July 26, 2022
On July 22nd, critically renowned pop-ska band Madness performed under a warm summer Yorkshire sky at the county’s historical capitals’ racecourse. A night full of classics and one which shook the 15,000 attendance to the point where they were unable to tame their hands or feet!
Camden’s Nutty Boys raised a stir in the stunning setting by putting on one of the region’s largest outdoor shows thus far in 2022. An army of committed admirers dressed in their signature fez hats and other ska-inspired garbs, who blended in with a crowd of thousands decked out in suits and boots, were rewarded with the kind of night they had dreamed for: one that was pulsating with activity.
Madness, who formed in 1976, was greeted with thunderous acclaim as they appeared on the brightly lit stage carrying on from where they left off the night before at Standon Calling. The audience rushed forward to see Suggs and company make history. It was the first time they had been back at the racetrack since the summer of 2010.
The crowd began chanting almost immediately after their first song, ‘One Step Beyond’. It set the tone for the remainder of the evening. The audience, many of whom were already half-cut from racecourse lager and champagne, squandered no time in getting down to business. They began swaying and hopping around; all of which are prerequisite behaviours for anyone attending a Madness event. As Suggs lept forward to the mic, the saxophone resonated throughout the Knavesmire.
The clouds began to roll in as the chart-topping hits rolled out. At the same time, the stage lights began to illuminate brightly on the band members. All of which had come out in force to celebrate the moment ahead of their Tramlines show a few days later.
The throng was in awe. Many in the audience expressed their sincere sentiments as Suggs sang the 1999 hit ‘Lovestruck’. The band also performed a new song, ‘If I Go Mad’, to the pleasure of the spectators. This song was the product of lockdown and it encouraged all to reflect on their previous solitude. The scene was lightyears away from the current one. A picture of friends linking arms and singing close together with strangers; something difficult to envisage some two years prior.
The group saved their most prevalent songs for last. By this point, the audience was more than eager to hear ‘House of Fun’, ‘Baggy Trousers’, and ‘Our House’. All of which came one after the other in quick succession. The performance of ‘It Must Be Love’, which even the youngest could recognise had the 15,000 strong backing singers piping along in wonder; it was one of the most touching moments of the event.
Quickly after this, the band departed the stage. They soon reemerged following public demand, and they wrapped up with the earworm classic, ‘Night Boat To Cairo’. It was a version full of zeal and one which summed up the evening in full!