Bibliophile Lass (bibliogirl) wrote,
Bibliophile Lass
bibliogirl

Utter Madness

This is only the second time I've been to Wembley Arena since they revamped the place (the first time being the ill-fated Guns & Roses gig of which I have spoken previously). It looks a lot better from the outside than it used to -- possibly courtesy of the nice lighting job -- and the inside's something of an improvement; well, the bit on the outside of the arena is; the actual hall itself looks little different, but apparently the stage is at the opposite end from where it used to be. Actually I suppose there's method in their madness; the end where the stage is now is further from any residential property, though you'd think most of the noise was directed in the other direction...

Anyhow. I managed to navigate to Harrow-on-the-Hill, left the car there, got some food and then took the Tube down to Wembley. Picked up ticket, got into venue shortly before extremities started dropping off; it was bloody cold! I didn't fancy being in the queue for the standing area, which seemed to involve being outside a lot.

The opening act were a California band called the Aggro Lites, who played fairly inoffensive reggae/ska stuff, plus also Jerry Dammers, the chap who started Two-Tone Records as a pre-show and inter-set DJ. (He was very good.)

The fans seem to be heavily concentrated into the forty-ish Essex-boy/girl mould; many of them had also brought their kids. (Walking back to the Tube, I saw a family -- dad, mum, son of maybe nine, daughter of perhaps seven -- where the dad and the son were wearing matching 'nutty boy' fezzes. Quite cute ;)). There were a lot of hats and a fair number of costumes in general; I felt a bit underdressed without a hat!

There's a new service called "concertlive" where you can order a live recording of the show on the night, and either pick it up ten minutes after the show ends, or have it sent to you. Quite a good plan, I thought; mine will be in the post as I didn't entirely fancy the scrum of trying to pick it up after the show.

My seat was about 1/3 of the way down the arena from the stage, and towards the top of the lower tier -- pretty good for an impulse purchase less than 48 hours before the show ;) The place was absolutely packed.

Madness themselves were excellent. They played all the old goodies (well, I might have hoped for _Rise And Fall_ but then that was never a single -- they did play _Tomorrow's Just Another Day_ (my fondness for _Rise And Fall_ -- the album -- is almost certainly because that was the album for which they were touring when I saw them in 1983)) along with some new stuff. The crowd was definitely up for having a good time (this was the last gig of the tour, which may have helped); watching the mosh pit expand to encompass about half of the floor of the arena during some of the particular crowd-pleasers was rather impressive. _House of Fun_, _It Must Be Love_ and _Baggy Trousers_ seemed to get some of the best receptions (ah, _Baggy Trousers_... how well I remember dancing to that at my middle school's end of term disco...)

They're back to the original line-up, with Chris Foreman back in the band after a fairly brief departure. Still looking much the same, a bit older, a bit balder... though Lee, the saxophonist, now reminds me in a most disturbing manner of spooktastic's Dad. ;)
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