‘Madstock!’ by Madness (CD & DVD)

3 November, 2015 in Music Reviews

Madness. Pic: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Madness. Pic: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Madness’s legendary 1992 comeback concert at Finsbury Park, with sound and vision together in one package for the first time

Madness MadstockWe’re a little bit late on this one, because Songwriting‘s copy got lost in the post. But better late than never, eh? What we have here, then, is Madness’s 1992 comeback concert at Finsbury Park, London, captured in all its full-length, 24-track glory on both DVD and CD. Well, actually the CD’s only got 22 tracks but let’s not split hairs…

What with Madness having toured regularly for the past 20-odd years, it’s easy to forget now just what big news this reunion gig – their first since splitting up in 1986 – was at the time. In the annals of rock history, the Finsbury Park show is also perhaps mostly remembered for Morrissey, in his capacity as support act, draping himself in the Union Flag and getting heckled off-stage for his trouble. But big news it was: Madness surely rank among the best-loved bands Britain has ever produced, and for many fans this was an opportunity to see them live that they thought they’d never get again.

As the film shows, the band more than lived up to expectations. They may have been a little bit rough around the edges in places on the day (Suggs managing to miss out a whole verse of Rocking in Ab, for instance), but their knockabout humour and unrivaled sense of showmanship were definitely undimished… as was the adulation from the assembled 35,000, whose stomping allegedly caused tremors in the local area measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale!

The video quality isn’t the best, it has to be said – this has been transferred over from the original VHS release. But with said VHS cassette, and the original live album, long out of print we can’t imagine that’s going to put many Nutty Boys fans off…

Verdict: Hey you – don’t watch that, watch this!

Russell Deeks