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REVIEW: Madness prove they’re one step beyond a great gig in Aberdeen

Madness lead singer Suggs storms onto the stage at P&J Live, Aberdeen. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

It’s about 1995 or so and I’m staying up late on a Friday night with my mum to watch The Young Ones on television.

It’s a rare treat for me, and we’re halfway through the show when the comedy troupe decides it’s time to go to the pub.

It’s then that they appear on my screen.

Madness appear on stage at P&J Live in Aberdeen. Pictured is Suggs and Mark Bedford. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

The coolest looking and sounding thing I’ve heard up until that point in my life – and perhaps since – in the band Madness.

Decked in a suit jacket and rose-tinted glasses, lead singer Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson dominated the screen as the musical entertainment in the Rik Mayall and company vehicle with Madness’ hit House of Fun.

Opening up a world of music

It may not have changed my life, but it opened up a world of music to me that I was previously unfamiliar with. So it definitely played a part, I think, in leading me here today.

Since that first appearance of them in my life, and having purchased both seasons of The Young Ones on digital download, I look forward to listening to Madness every time I watch.

So it was with some relative delight, now in my middling 30s, when the entertainment team offered up the chance to go see the two-tone ska band perform live in “Our House” yesterday. Well, at least the house which bears our name in Aberdeen.

madness aberdeen
Madness’ Mark Bedford and Chris Foreman. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

Madness perform hits from back catalogue for Aberdeen fans

At a packed P&J Live, supported by Squeeze (who, in their own right, could have been the headline band going off the reaction they got from the crowd), Madness pumped out a smorgasbord of hits from their back catalogue over a near two-hour set.

And, rightly so, it was all about nostalgia for the vast majority of the red fez-wearing sea of humanity dancing along to every tune blasted across the arena floor.

For me, I  was transported back to the living room of my mum’s house.

Back then I didn’t have to worry about the power going out for days on end due to record storms, nor did I have to rummage through my pockets to find a mask to pop to the shops to pick up a pint of milk.

For those two hours, surrounded by fellow fans, it was remarkable to be able to forget about the worries of today.

Of course, Madness are old hands at this by now.

Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson performing in Aberdeen. Picture by Kami Thomson/ DCT Media.

Heading into their 46th year as a band, the group has had no less than 15 songs in the UK charts, finding success with hits including those already mentioned, and the likes of Wings of a Dove and Baggy Trousers.

It’s with a smile on my face, then, when I’m rudely transported back into P&J Live as the lights start to flicker back on following the group’s encore.

Suggs is waving goodbye to his legion of adoring fans as I begin to gather up my things, and I’m left wondering how I could possibly review something so subjective as live music.

For me, for a band so very formative to my eclectic taste, I suppose I can only say it’s nothing more, nothing less – it must be love, love, love.

Madness: The Ladkykillers Tour heads to Glasgow tonight, before further dates across England and Wales.

Were you in the crowd last night? Check out our picture gallery below.

It Must Be Love: Madness fans pack the P&J Live. Were you there?

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