Madness bring festive cheer to Brighton

Posted On 08 Dec 2021 at 10:06 am

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

MADNESS + SQUEEZE – BRIGHTON CENTRE 7.12.21

In recent years it has become a bit of a tradition for Madness to schedule a Christmas tour and they have certainly carved a bit of a niche for themselves in the ‘Christmas party night out’ market. So after a Covid enforced break in 2020 and only a few dates elsewhere in 2019, tonight’s Brighton Centre date was their first in the city since 22nd December 2018, when they put on a spectacular show – read our review of that night HERE.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

An incredible 45 years after they were first formed in Camden, Suggs and co returned to Brighton on a stormy night as part of 16-date ‘The Ladykillers Tour’ which started in Minehead and finishes with two London dates at the o2 and SSE Arenas on the 18th and 20th December.

DJ Darren at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

This evening’s substantial crowd was liberally peppered with red Fez’s on sale at the merch stand for a bargain £7 and had been well warmed up by ‘DJ Darren‘ with some choice choons, Squeeze with a fabulous set and no doubt a few libations too! Everyone was chomping at the bit to get the main event underway.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

The lights darkened, a retro ‘Pearl & Dean’ commercial played (‘Asteroid’) and then the set opened with a still youthful looking Suggs (now 60) replete with sunglasses appearing in a red telephone box stage right (our left) supposedly phoning his mum telling her he was with friends having a party in Brighton. He then stepped out and said those immortal words “hey you, don’t watch that, watch this” … the crowd finished the rest – and we were off!

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

It has been 42 years since ‘One Step Beyond’ became Madness’s first top 10 hit, but it still gets the crowd going every single time, tonight was no exception and it was a great way to open proceedings.

The audience at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

In addition to two large screens above the stage, the band were flanked by images of Big Ben clocks draped either side of it which doubled as projection screens. Behind them was a London street scene, whereby the downstairs windows doubled as video screens all of which together combined to provide a visually striking wide backdrop to the soundtrack. There were 10 members of the band this evening including 6 of the original line up.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

All of the hits like ‘The Prince’, ‘Wings Of A Dove’ ‘Baggy Trousers’ and ‘House Of Fun’ were present and correct, timeless classics which instantly transported many of the audience back to their childhood and teens, dancing around in a frenzy like they would have done back in the day. Younger members of the crowd lapped them up too, due to the all-pervading perennial popularity of these songs that effortlessly span the generations.

Suggs from Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pics Ian Bourn) (click pics to enlarge)

In addition to the better known songs, there were several later offerings present, ‘Mr Apples’ from 2016 and ‘NW5’ released in 2008, which more than earned their place in the set and certainly didn’t feel out of place amongst the stellar line-up of their greatest singles. However the contemporary offerings ‘Baby Burglar’ and ‘If I Go Mad’, although good tracks, weren’t necessarily in keeping and elicited a more muted but nevertheless polite response from the audience.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

With the slower numbers like ‘My Girl’ and ‘It Must Be Love’, Suggs could literally have just left the crowd to sing them for him, they were loving it. His genial banter and humour throughout the evening was well received too.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pics Ian Bourn) (click pics to enlarge)

After leaving the stage, the band returned for the same two song encore they played in 2018, the eponymous ‘Madness’ written by the late Prince Buster and the awesome ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ which had everyone up on their feet. Gotta hand it to The Nutty Boys, after decades in the business, they certainly know how to please a crowd.

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Madness setlist:
‘One Step Beyond’ (Prince Buster cover)
‘Embarrassment’
‘The Prince’
‘NW5’
‘My Girl’
‘Take It Or Leave It’
‘The Sun And The Rain’
‘Baby Burglar’
‘Wings Of A Dove’
‘One Better Day’
‘Lovestruck’
‘If I Go Mad’
‘Shut Up’
‘Mr Apples’
‘Bed And Breakfast Man’
‘Wooly Bully’ (Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs cover)
‘House Of Fun’
‘Baggy Trousers’
‘Our House’
‘It Must Be Love’ (Labi Siffre cover)
(encore)
‘Madness’ (Prince Buster cover)
‘Night Boat To Cairo’

Madness live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pics Ian Bourn) (click pics to enlarge)

Find out more about Madness at www.madness.co.uk

Chris Difford from Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Support this evening came from the ever-popular ‘Squeeze‘, who themselves have enjoyed a similar musical longevity and thus, could easily have been the headliners in their own right. In fact they were in 2019, read our report HERE.

Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Original members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook remain the mainstay of the band which lined up as a seven piece this evening. Glenn was on top form vocally and sang everything apart from ‘Cool For Cats’ where Chris and his distinctive vocal took over. As one would expect, another brilliant hit-packed set comprised a dozen tracks that included all the faves like ‘Another Nail In My Heart, ‘Labelled With Love’ ,’Tempted’ and ‘Up The Junction’ and finished with ‘Black Coffee In Bed’ which once again gave all of the musicians a chance to showcase their considerable individual instrumental talents.

Chris Difford from Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pics Ian Bourn) (click pics to enlarge)

It almost feels unfair to call Squeeze a support act, they were superb and the audience enjoyed their performance accordingly.

Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pics Ian Bourn) (click pics to enlarge)

So, despite the weather outside being frightful, the entertainment inside the Brighton Centre was quite delightful. A fabulous show from two great bands sent everyone home happy and in the festive spirit.

Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Squeeze setlist:
‘Take Me I’m Yours’
‘Up The Junction’
‘Hourglass’
‘Cradle To The Grave’
‘Slap And Tickle’
‘F-Hole’
‘Labelled With Love’
‘Another Nail In My Heart’
‘Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)’
‘Tempted’
‘Cool For Cats’
‘Black Coffee In Bed’

Squeeze live at the Brighton Centre 7.12.21 (pic Ian Bourn) (click pic to enlarge)

Find out more about Squeeze at www.squeezeofficial.com

Tour flyer

Set times (pic Mike Burnell) (click pic to enlarge)

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