Madness live Belsonic 2016 plus support band

Saturday night Madness

Belsonic and Madness fans were treated to an excellent concert on Saturday night. They may be getting on in years but the seemingly tireless Madness gave fans another great night to remember.

To kick the evening off, local Belfast band The Pocket Billiards treated us to an excellent ska set, successfully warming the crowd up for the main event. It is always great to hear bands singing with their Northern Irish accents and I think they gained a few thousand new fans by the end of their set.

The Titanic quarter was filled with Madness fans proudly wearing their “Night boat to Cairo” hats or the Madness uniform of black hats and sunglasses. Fans, young and old were gathered at the front of the stage for a fantastic 1 hour 45 minutes of pure happiness.

For me, Madness is the definition of a Ska band. Dancing and singing joyfully is their brand and they do it well. They were flying and we flew with them. I talked to a fan who told me he has been following the band since the 80’s, he has never missed a show in Belfast. Many other fans have similar stories, and with a such a dedicated fan base you can see why they are still going strong over 30 years later.

From the start to finish the show was very energetic and entertaining. Singer Graham McPherson, or Suggs as he is better known, made a connection with the crowd right from the start. He spoke fondly about their previous gigs in Belfast and told some stories about the Europa Hotel. Some long time fans remembered these stories and let out a large cheer.

The group expressed their gratitude to their Northern Irish friends and their love for Belfast with a performance of “it must be love”. It was a great way to thank the fans for their loyalty all these years; many have been following the band since early 80’s.

Much to the crowd’s delight they played many of their classics. Highlights for me were “One Step Beyond” and of course “Our House”. The latter had the crowd jumping and singing along at the top of their voices. Madness have the unique ability to make their fans smile and laugh and dance throughout their concert. It was definitely one of the happiest gigs I have ever been to.

Mainly known for their ska style, Madness also mixed it up on Saturday night, performing a few songs in a reggae style. To me, their version “out of space” was almost better than the original. We were also treated to a guitar solo of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a prayer” . These were unexpected treats that went down well with the crowd.

Towards the end of the show Madness performed their latest single “Mr Apples”. The song comes from the new album “Can’t Touch Us” which will be released in October of this year. It was well received by the crowd and has left us with high expectations for the new album.

After an encore, the final firework of the night was “Night boat to Cairo” and a huge thank you to their loyal fans. The crowd went mad, but that’s just what we expect from a Madness gig! Next time they come to Belfast I would encourage you to get yourself a ticket and black hat and sunglasses!

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