Originally released as a separate album and VHS, this Madstock collection brings together the CD and DVD to celebrate perhaps one of the most criminally ignored live music events of our time. This is their Spike Island or Knebworth; a monumentally nutty moment in part two of their career, taking place in ‘92. But while self-confessionally nuttier than those cereal-munching “little bit nutty” twits on the adverts – Madstock saw the legendary 7-piece line up reunite for the first time in six years, and with 72, 000 attendees over it’s two consecutive days in Finsbury Park, it was clearly one people were waiting for.
Live albums can often disappoint, becoming pale comparisons to the actual event and diluting the memories of the playback in the head, but Madstock manages to capture the energy of the band and the crowd in equal measure. From the opening dialogue of ‘One Step Closer’ (the crowd’s jumping so severe that “a sea of people” doesn’t do it justice – think more The Perfect Storm) to the mass singalong throughout, the nine parts ska, one part car, pre Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da Da band cement their place as one of the UK’s most iconic acts, taking steps beyond and above those Madchester lot up North.
‘Razor Blade Alley’ (sung by saxophonist Lee Thompson) is given its first CD outing, while highlights come from non-single favourite ‘Bed & Breakfast Man’, early release ‘Grey Day’ and their anthem, ‘It Must Be Love’. So successful was the event that four more Madstocks took place, the last in 2009.
Now you actually can not watch that, and watch this.
Madstock! is out now via Union Square Music Ltd.