It must have been love that saw a lively sell-out crowd (many wearing the famous red fez) perform at the O2 Academy in Newcastle.
The night started without support and instead a video featuring Madness entitled 'How to succeed in the music industry' played for an inappropriately long time even though it did usefully chart the history of Madness from right back to when the core of group formed as The Invaders in 1976 up until the present day.
Once underway, Suggs (who handled getting soaked by a flying pint on his entrance to the stage as if it was a frequent occurrence) and Chas Smash were vocally excellent although Suggs did occasionally get a bit too close to the microphone at times. There were also points where the vocals were drowned out by the band, not that this particularly mattered however because there wasn't one track that the audience weren't singing along to.
There were also no hitches musically, with an experienced and well-polished performance from the instrumental team. Thrown into the mix of songs was 'Dust Devil' and 'The Sun And The Rain' - both from new album, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate. They received a reasonable reception and could easily have been taken from their early stuff – they've managed to keep their distinctive pop-ska sound and also personalities.
The night, although lively from the start, took a step up when they let loose with 'House Of Fun' that seemed to transport the audience back to 1982, the night went on to peak with an energetic performance of 'Baggy Trousers'.
Things did briefly slow down when they played of 'Must Be Love' but it wasn't long before the crowd were bouncing along again to tracks. Other tracks performed included 'Night Boat To Cairo', 'Madness' and 'One Step Beyond'. If you didn't know some of group's less popular releases then there may have been times where you would have felt left out.
There was a cult feel to the performance, and it was clear many of them had seen Madness playing year after year (some had even seen the matinee show earlier in the day) and the crowd loved the regular interaction by the seven-strong members.
A band that still thrives on live performances 30 years on takes something special - and that was certainly the feeling at the Academy as night drew to a close.