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To quote one of Madness's songs it was very "Grey Day" in Romsey and everyone had come prepared with Wellington's, coats and umbrellas however fortunately the rain stayed away. The venue in set in the grounds of Lord Mountbatten's beautiful home "Broadlands which is surrounded by the beautiful Hampshire countryside. 1st band on were The Dualers who are a ska band made up of  Si and Tyber on vocals with an impressive 8 piece ska orchestra who really get the crowd warmed up with a great set including some well chosen Ska covers including "Monkey Man" , "Shame N Scandal" and "Message to you Rudy". Si and Tyber really know how entertain an audience these guys deliver some really excellent vocal performances, with other notable tracks such  "Jack the Ripper", "Take a Trip" and  "Kiss on the Lips"  the band leaves the stage with lots of new fans earned from the Romsey crowd. The unmistakeable reggae bass of  "Aswad" thundered out around Broadlands. they played some of their most well known hits such as "Shine" and "Don't turn Around" through their paces along with some tracks from their latest album "City Lock" .  The duo of Drummie Zeb (vocals and drums), and Tony Gadd (bass, keyboards, vocals) along with their band  are probably Britain's 2nd best known reggae band after Birmingham's UB40 and their performance is just one of only a handful of live performances the band are playing this year. Their new single  "What is Love" which is a great version of "Howard Jones" 80's classic is played and most of the audience of a certain age sing along.
After the support acts warming up the audience there is an almost party atmosphere in the air, Chas Smash walks out stage and says the familiar line of "Don't watch that watch this, this is the heavy heavy monster sound, the Nuttiest sound around" the audience finish the lyrics and the band launch into "One Step Beyond", the whole of the place  just starts dancing together, young and old alike are here today as Madness celebrate over thirty years together. In 1981 when I was just 12, my parents bought myself and my sister for Christmas tickets to go and see our 1st ever live concert at Poole Arts Centre, it was Madness, those then fresh faced Nutty Boys gave me my introduction to live music, what a show they put on then and what a show they put on now with exactly the same line-up, all a little greyer and fatter including myself and not many bands around today can boast the same line-up.
The slow version of "My Girl" started with Mike Barson's piano and then "Sugg's" joining in on vocals along with everyone in the place singing effortlessly along. Surprise of the night had to be a great album track from "Absolutely", "Take It or Leave it", Madness do have some brilliant singles, however there are also some impressive album tracks that sometimes get over-looked from their live set. The only slight disappointment of the night was the fact we only got to hear a few songs from the latest album "The Liberty of Norton Folgate", "Nw5" , "Dust Devil" and "Forever Young" are excellent tracks and played live  got a great reception from the crowd, it is just a shame we did not get to hear more from this great album especially the title track. The  set ended with a storming version of "Night Boat to Cairo" starting with a couple of loud ship horn style blasts on Lee Thompson's saxophone, this signalled for once again everybody to dance and dance they did, the band bought on to the stage all of their offspring to finish of their set in great style. There were smiling faces everywhere, everyone from what I can see had a fantastic night, the Nutty boys sure do know how to entertain even after all these years.  
One Step Beyond
The Prince
My Girl  
Dust Devil
Take it or leave it
Sun & The Rain
Forever Young
Shut Up
Iron Shirt
Grey Day
Taller than you are
Bed and Breakfast man
House Of Fun  
Wings Of A Dove
Baggy Trousers
Our House
It Must Be Love
Night Boat To Cairo
Dave Chinery (Chinners) -