Madness at Edinburgh Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens - 'An absolute joy to behold'

Madness at the final Edinburgh Summer Sessions concert on Sunday night. Pic: Ryan Johnston.
Madness at the final Edinburgh Summer Sessions concert on Sunday night. Pic: Ryan Johnston.
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The Camden Two-Tone/Ska legends returned to the Capital on Sunday night to lower the curtain on a hugely successful, if occasionally a slightly damp Edinburgh Summer Sessions.

Pleasingly, they retain six of the seven original members which makes a welcome change from vintage acts touring as an “original” band but only having one

member who bought the rights or something. No names…

READ MORE: Edinburgh Summer Sessions 2019: Indie-pop veterans James mix up 90s hits with modern tunes at Princes Street Gardens gig
Given their back catalogue, choosing the setlist must have been a chore, they’ve clocked up 15 top ten UK hits no less, but all the big hits are present and correct kicking off with the Prince Buster classic One Step Beyond from the 1979 album of the same name and follow this with Embarrassment from the following year.

According to ageless frontman Suggs, it’s 40 years to the day that “seven spotty kids” made their debut on the long-gone Top Of The Pops, performing on that day, and next tonight, their dedication to the guy whose single gave them their first big hit, The Prince and then a comparatively recent outing in NW5, a bittersweet paean to lost love in

London.

They were never as overtly political as some of their contemporaries like the Specials to take an example but on Bullingdon Boys a wee swipe is taken at the Eton boys running the country, ironically stating that they’re a nice bunch really and One Better Day is prefaced by wondering how homelessness can still exist in this day and age.

The Tory baiting tracks done, it’s a classic-fest all the way to the encore, House of Fun and their Baggy Trousers getting a welcome airing before Labi Siffre’s It Must Be Love closed the main section, although not before bagpiper Johnny Gauld (aka The Caledonian Cowboy) treated us to a rendition of Flower of Scotland. Unsurprisingly, that went down well.

The energy levels these veterans give out on stage is an absolute joy to behold and the crowd respond accordingly, even members of the security staff gleefully dancing along with the punters and having covered all the gigs in the gardens this year, I’ve not seen the place bounce like this nor a band enjoy themselves as much.

Suggs at one point confessed that he can’t believe they get paid to do this. Believe it mate and please carry on, there’s clearly a few more years left in you all. And it’s safe to say the many happy punters out front will still happily pay you.

Madness - 18th August - Princes Street Gardens

6 out of 7 stars