FROM next month Madness will be entertaining the masses in a 20-date tour of some of the greatest sporting venues around the country.
Expect the ska band’s quirky pop classics, such as House of Fun, Baggy Trousers and My Girl, which propelled them to fame in the late ’70s and ’80s, as well as new material – their first fresh recordings in three years.
The tour closes in style at Emirates Durham ICG in Chester-le-Street on September 26.
Speaking about why the band are still going strong more than 35 years after forming, lead singer Suggs, aka Graham McPherson, said: “I think the reason we endure is that we genuinely do enjoy ourselves.
“From the very beginning you could see the joy in the early videos we made and hear it in the records. The fact that we were friends before this band started is key. I genuinely think the whole spark or art of craft and creativity was a by-product of our friendship.
“I think that’s what people feel. It’s a genuine experience. It’s not manufactured. I can’t ever remember being onstage and feeling fed up with the people around me.”
In the process of bringing Madness to the masses, the tour, which takes in a number of football grounds, will be a trip down sporting memory lane for Suggs, who first began exploring the UK as a Chelsea football fan before Madness first hit the road in 1979.
“It’ll be the greatest tour since Boudacia. We’ll be going across the countryside rampaging and pillaging. We have our people working on designing a chariot – even as we speak,” he laughs
“If you had told me this when I was a kid, I’d have laughed so loudly my socks would have flown off. Of course, it’s remarkable and a privilege to still be doing this funny old business that we do.”
He added: “Traditionally, we don’t tour for months and months – we gave up on America and they probably gave up on us. Touring for years on end is what drains the lifeblood out of a lot of acts that I see. Each tour we do we try to make unique – and special.
Durham is a strong area for us. They know how to party up there and we close the tour there. What a night that promises to be.Suggs
“This one’s special as no one has ever done something like this – as big as this – at sporting venues like this. It’s a Madness madcap idea and we know people will respond to it.” He added: “Durham is a strong area for us. They know how to party up there and we close the tour there. What a night that promises to be.”
Madness are the latest act to perform at the Riverside ground as it strives to put itself on the map for live music.
In the past few years, Jessie J, 5ive, Blue and Atomic Kitten have all performed at the ground.
David Harker, group chief executive of Durham County Cricket Club, said: “We are expecting sell out figures of up to 12,000 people to attend the concert and anticipate that this event will continue to secure the Emirates Durham ICG as one of the region’s premier venues for music.
“Madness are a band of the people, who inject fun into everything they do and the tour promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the greatest bands in the world play at Durham County Cricket Club.”
•Grandslam Madness is at Durham International Cricket Ground on Saturday, September 26. Gates open at 3pm. General admission is £35. Tickets available from www.durhamccc.co.uk/news/madness.