After their amazing performance on the Ibiza Rocks stage and the huge response we got from you on the feature, Essentialibiza caught up with Suggs back in London to get his reaction to the amazing night…
You looked like you were having fun at Ibiza Rocks, how was the gig?
What can I say it was great, what was really marvellous was seeing all the individual tableaux’s of what individual people were getting up to in their rooms, all sorts of crazed individuals, couples and groups of people jumping up and down on their balconies, most inspiring to see from the stage
How satisfying is it to see so many of the younger generation singing along to your tracks?
One hundred percent satisfactory, it’s charming and flattering to think after 100 years in the entertainment industry people still want to see us.
What is it that has given Madness that longevity and an appeal that spans generations?
Hit records, our love for each other and the work we involve ourselves in.
Do you still get nervous before a performance?
Yes a tad.
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever been thrown on stage?
Well at Ibiza Rocks we had a couple of bras thrown on stage, which hasn’t happened for a while.
The band doesn’t see as much of each other these days, how easy is it to slip into the old routine on stage?
We’ve always been able to slip into each other at the drop of a hat!
When can we expect some new material from Madness?
Soon, very soon.
When Ibiza Rocks delivers its season line up, we look through and check out the bands that will be coming to the island and there is no shortage of things we want to check out but there is always that one show that captures the imagination, the one we can’t afford to miss, the one that you know is going to produce something special. For us in 2011, that one show is Madness and it’s tonight. The area surrounding the Ibiza Rocks hotel is packed a lot earlier than usual, the queue to get in is massive for this time of night, there’s no doubting that a few people had the same reaction as us when checking out the season line ups. Add to that the fact that Chas Smash lives on the island now and has a huge group of friends and family that will all want to be here for this one and you get a sense of the expectation levels outside the venue. Inside, the venue is packed and the VIP balcony is like a who’s who on the island.
After a slightly longer than usual wait – but, to be fair, there was nothing usual about this show, this was Madness, one of the UK’s biggest bands ever, a band that ruled two decades and one that is still gong strong today. This is the nuttiest sound around; this is the heavy heavy monster sound. They have come in off the street – Ibiza Rocks is busier than it has been all summer and it has been packed all summer, the VIP terrace might fill most clubs. The average age has shot up considerably and there are hats of all shape and size everywhere, it’s Feztastic! They are definitely feeling the heat and the minute Chas Smash picks up his mic and bellows “Hey You, Don’t Watch That Watch This” they start to move their feet! Ibiza Rocks erupts and we are off on a white-knuckle rock-steady ride through some of the greatest pop songs ever written!
Looking out across the packed crowd the age group is definitely higher than a normal Ibiza Rocks show but there is a healthy helping of teenagers who are singing and dancing along to every track, there are not many bands that can successfully bridge generations as Madness do. Lyrically astute songs combined with infectious melodies has seen the band score hit after hit and go on to become one of the most popular places for Ad men to look when placing music with their products. Madness is the archetypal British band and they are embedded in our consciousness and we couldn’t be happier.
Back on stage, Suggs is enjoying some chitchat with the crowd, much to their delight. Various items of clothing have already been launched onto the stage and there is a real carnival atmosphere. This could be the biggest karaoke on the island this year! The lights are dimmed; a piano tinkers away in the background as he turns to the crowd and sings “My girls mad at me”. At this point there is a huge roar of approval before everyone starts to sing along. The slowed down intro suddenly comes to an end, the drums kick in and we’re off again. The procession of Madness hits is interrupted briefly by a cover of Max Romeo’s ‘I Chase The Devil’ or as most of those under 20 in the audience will tell you, they covered The Prodigy!
When Essentialibiza caught up with Chas Smash a couple of weeks ago he gave us an idea of what we could expect from the show tonight but no matter how reliable the source is, there is nothing that can prepare you for the energy that their performance generates from this massive crowd. It was one eruption after another as Madness breeze through an impressive back catalogue including Embarrassment, Wings Of A Dove and Night Boat To Cairo, to name only a few and the reaction when they drop their bigger hits makes the hair on your arm and neck stand on end. Baggy Trousers sees the crowd go crazy; you kind of get an insight into why they evacuated tower blocks during Madstock at Finsbury Park in 1992 because they thought it was an earthquake! Our House and House Of Fun receive similar reactions and there’s a hands in the air, almost ‘lighter’ moment when everyone signs along to ‘It Must Be Love’, Labi Siffre’s quaint love song that Madness covered spectacularly.
Needless to say the gig flies by and in no time at all it’s done and they’ve left the stage. The noise is deafening and the chanting begins for one more tune and as they come back on stage once again the crowd erupts! They might not see as much of each other these days but one thing is for sure, Madness have still got it. The chemistry between the band on stage is evident, the chemistry with their loyal crowd will never leave them and their ability to deliver is there for all to see. Encore delivered it’s time to say goodbye but not before Suggs and Chas Smash stand centre stage shaking each others hand as Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life plays through the speakers, at which point they start to sing along and in turn so does the crowd. They make a Morcombe & Wise exit stage left and it’s over. Madness has left the building, what an amazing experience!