27th September

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Second night at the iTunes festival at London’s iconic Roundhouse. The same trek from Bromley South Station all the way through central London up to Camden, the only difference is that today I’ve got Sarah with me instead of Lissi and we’re off to see Madness, even though we’ve got tickets to see them in Brighton in December!

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We get into the arena just as Reverend & the Makers are starting their set, it seems fuller than last night and the audience are a lot older!! Sarah finds a spot behind the mixing desk and I go off to get a drink. Bloody barman tries to charge me more for a half of cider and a bottle of water than they did for a pint of cider and a coke last night. I challenge him and he admits his mistake hmmm! The prices of soft drinks at the venue are ridiculous – a pint of cider is £4 which obviously includes duty but a pint of coke which doesn’t is £3.20 (and it was poured on the first night from a 2l bottle that costs 99p in a supermarket! Bottled water is £2 for a small bottle that probably costs about 40p in a supermarket and for some reason I’m not allowed the top!

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Sarah isn’t a fan of standing venues, she has a dodgy leg which means that she is easily knocked over in a crowd! I found this out at the last Madness gig we went to when the people in front of us went loopy when the band came on and threw themselves around crashing into her (I don’t think it helped that he also launched his drink skyward at the same time!!) Anyway during the support act I set off to find out if we can get a seat upstairs. I head up to the balcony and speak to the security guard who send me off to the box office. I explain to them the problem and after a little thought they say yes! Only I have to go and get Sarah as we have to surrender our wristbands in order to get tickets for the balcony. Before long we’re sitting in the back row of the balcony, almost dead centre watching the last song from Reverend & the Makers who aren’t too bad!

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Madness! What can you say about them? They were, as ever, outstanding. How many bands can start off with three massive hits, throw in a couple of new songs, a couple more hits, a Beastie Boys cover then end the set with four monster hits and still have two more hits left for the encore. Even then there were hit singles they didn’t play like Michael Caine and Driving in my Car! They’ve had so many hits it gets to the point where when they play a song and you’re sure they’ve already played it!

The one thing that really pissed me off were the two blokes in front of me. One of them barely stopped talking for about the first half hour of the set! And when I say barely I mean it he didn’t even seem to be pausing to breath! He just kept talking and talking and talking. Ironically his mate seemed to be videoing the gig on his mobile presumably to watch later when his mate shut up! it got to the point where I was looking round to see where else we could go and sit when he finally got up and wandered off. I just don’t understand why people do this, if you want to talk stay in the fucking pub, what’s the point of going to all the hassle of going to a gig and then talking all the way through it? Idiots!

The only downside of our seats in the balcony was that unlike the starry eyed singer from last nights Suggs stood right in the middle of the stage for almost all of the evening and that was the one spot that was obscured by the roof pillar in our sightline so we would only catch sight of him when he stepped to one side! The end of the show was fantastic they suddenly kicked into House of fun and the audience went wild, there were people everywhere dancing really badly! The crowd down the front was bouncing up and down – even the balcony was shaking! Baggy Trousers followed, then Our House before they finished with It must be love. Encores were Madness and Night Boat to Cairo!

At the end of the set the house lights came up and Eric Idles Always look on the bright side of life came over the PA system. Needless to say that it turned into a huge audience sing along with Suggs and Chas from the band leading it from the stage. The audience were still singing it as they were walking out!

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