2014 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR)

December 2014 was mostly about concerts and football matches.

The first of which, was Foxes at The Limelight. Then the next day, I was off to Ballymena to see Ballymena v Linfield, then straight to Ravenhill for Ulster v Scarlets.

Next up, was Kasabian at The Odyssey, supported by The Maccabees.

Back to football, then it was Windsor Park for me for Linfield v Ballinamallard United, before later that night, heading to The Limelight to see Embrace in concert.

Two days later, my last concert of the year, Madness at The Odyssey, before last weekend, seeing Linfield win a thrilling match against Portadown.

There’s still a week left of the year, so still time for more photos.

Here’s to more photos in 2015.

Foxes Live At The Limelight

Foxes Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Ballymena United v Linfield

Ulster v Scarlets

Ulster v Scarlets Photo Album

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Embrace Live At The Limelight

Embrace Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Madness Live At The Odyssey

Madness Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown

2014 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November began for me with a road trip to Lurgan, to Mourneview Park, to see Linfield take on Glenavon in what could be described as an eventful game.

The following week, it was back to Windsor Park, for the home game against Dungannon Swifts.

The week after that, it was Windsor Park again, for the visit or Glentoran.

Back on the road the week after, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield do their standard go behind but win it late thing they do up there.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, on the final weekend of the month, I headed to Manchester for a short break, where I got loads of Street Art photos, went to two football matches and two concerts.

That, was my November.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Manchester

Manchester Photo Album

Accrington Stanley v Exeter Stanley

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 1

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 2

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute Photo Album

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo Photo Album

LINFIELD 3-2 PORTADOWN 20.12.2014

Today was a milestone day in the Irish League season. It was the 22nd game of the season, the point when every team has played each other home and away. For Linfield, it was the team they faced on Matchday 1, Portadown. The team that beat them 3-0 on Matchday 1. The idea of Linfield having the chance to secure top spot at Christmas by the time the two sides met again was a long way off then.

In fact, the idea of Linfield being top at 3pm today was a long way off as recently as last Friday teatime, as a shock defeat for Portadown at Warrenpoint allowed Linfield the chance to go top of the league last Saturday, which they took.

The last time Linfield went top of the league, in October, they hit a run of games against teams near them, and lost, and fell down the table. Once again, Linfield hit a run of games against teams around them. My own opinion is that Linfield are better equipped for such a challenge that they were in October. There would be only one way to prove that.

A charge against this Linfield team is that they don’t win big games against title rivals. With two draws and three defeats against Cliftonville, Crusaders and Portadown in the league this season, it was hard to argue against that.

With Crusaders cutting the gap to one point last night, level with Cliftonville and Portadown, Linfield had a chance to go four points clear of at least two title rivals. With Cliftonville being at The Oval, a ground they’ve failed to win in their last five league visits, this was going to be a big day in the title race, whatever the outcome.

The game got off to a dramatic start, with Linfield 1-0 up from a corner, eventually headed in by Jimmy Callacher. Portadown protested for offside. In truth, they were spooked by how much space Callacher had in a crowded penalty area.

In recent weeks, Linfield have had early goals against Glentoran and Ballymena, and not killed the game off. Nothing would have been taken for granted by this start.

After that, Portadown lost their discipline for a bit, racking up yellow cards, conceding soft free-kicks and arguing with the ref. They were inviting trouble onto themselves.

If Linfield could’ve got a second goal then, they would have went on to win the game comfortable. There was good build-up play, but no clear chances.

The half swung on two incidents a matter of seconds apart. A poor header back to Miskelly allowed Sammy Morrow a chance to lob him and make it 2-0, but he put it wide. Within seconds, a shot was parried by Glendinning straight to Sean Mackle, who made it 1-1.

Linfield responded by trying to back in front, but it was Portadown who made it 2-1 soon after when Mark McAllister headed home. The fear was, this could turn out to be a repeat of the Cliftonville game in October.

Linfield tried to get back into the game, the best chance game when Andrew Waterworth burst through, but fired wide under a challenge. He could have went down and got a penalty perhaps.

Portadown had another chance when they hit the bar from a header, but weren’t dominant despite being the better team. They gave Linfield that little bit of hope, that they hadn’t killed the game off when they were on top.

Having gone in at half-time the previous week to grumbles at 0-0, Linfield players were given shouts of encouragement as they left the pitch 2-1 down. Football fans are a strange bunch.

Linfield needed a big start to the second-half. They got one. On 50 minutes, they got a penalty when Ivan Sproule was fouled. It was Linfield’s first penalty of the season, what a time to get it.

Aaron Burns hit it, off the bar, and it went behind the line and bounced out. It was clear for all to see, but the game continued for a few seconds later, before eventually the goal was given. Portadown players protested, but the decision was right. The only thing wrong was how long it took to make the decision.

Linfield now had the momentum, but it was Portadown who had the next big moment in the match, when Darren Murray dispossessed Mark Haughey to run through on goal from a centre-wide postion.

He had two options – to run through and score, or to play the ball to Mark McAllister for him to score.

He chose a third option, to pass to a teammate on the edge of the box. It was the wrong option, as Linfield managed to stop a shot and cleared the danger.

Soon after, Linfield went 3-2 up. In football, you make your own luck. A Linfield attack was continually snuffed out by Portadown, but every time Portadown made a tackle, the ball fell to a Linfield player. Eventually, it fell to Ivan Sproule, who set up Sammy Morrow to fire home. Windsor Park went wild.

As when they went 1-0 down, Portadown began to lose their discipline again, with Darren Murray and Garry Breen squaring up to each other in the aftermath of Morrow’s goal.

Linfield search for a 4th goal but couldn’t get it. They needed it. Even though Portadown were restricted when attacking, all they needed was one chance to make Linfield pay.

In truth, Portadown never looked like scoring in open play, with Linfield managing to keep them out, until the clock approached 90 minutes, when a foul by Jimmy Callacher resulted in a penalty.

It came down to two Rosses – Glendinning for Linfield and Redman for Portadown. It was Linfield’s Ross that won the day, with his second penalty save in a fortnight. Unlike at Ballymena, there was to be no retake.

90 minutes and 55 seconds into the game, Linfield’s fans roared into a chant of “WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!!” for the first time all afternoon. They knew Portadown’s chance had gone.

Linfield still had to see the game out, with Millar, Clucas and Carvill keeping the ball away from Portadown in the final stages, much to Andrew Waterworth’s annoyance as he waited for a cross, as he hadn’t had his goal for the day.

As the game at Windsor Park entered it’s final stages, news emerged from The Oval that Glentoran had went 2-1 up against Cliftonville.

Every league season has it’s defining moment. It’s not the moment the title was won, it’s the moment when you know it’s swung in someone’s favour. Last season, it was the moment Linfield failed to beat Ards and move clear of Cliftonville, instead giving Cliftonville a limeline that they would win the league if they won all their games.

There’s a long way to go before we know if the final minutes at Windsor Park and The Oval were the defining moments of this season.

From looking like being frustrated and being thankful Cliftonville could only draw, Linfield were now four points clear. The first time this season, that anybody had taken a decisive lead in the league table.

It’s worth pointing out, that Linfield had a 6 point lead after 22 games last season. Over the next 16 games, there was a 12 point swing in Cliftonville’s favour in the final league table.

April is a long time away. In fact, Boxing Day is a long time away. It can’t come soon enough.

Up next, is Glentoran at home. Glentoran might be high on confidence after recent results, but let them worry about us, we’re top of the league, unbeaten in 8, scoring 2+ in each of those games.

Crusaders face Cliftonville that day. Whatever happens, a result will go in Linfield’s favour. It will only be a bonus if Linfield help themselves out against Glentoran. If I had the choice, i’d prefer Crusaders to win, as Linfield face Crusaders on New Year’s Day, and can have two title rivals suffer massive blows over two games, instead of one rival suffering two blows.

The main thing is, that Linfield get the result they need on Boxing Day.

If the game against Glentoran is short-term thinking, Linfield also made some long-term progress as well today, by securing Andrew Waterworth, Mark Haughey, Niall Quinn, Ross Glendenning and Ross Clarke all signing two year deals.

So, Merry Christmas to you all, hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on football this year.

There was an early Christmas present this week in the form of the Irish Cup draw, away to Tobermore. An away game against a lower league team at a ground i’ve never visited. Can’t complain about that.

A nice cup draw, a win, extending the lead at the top, five key players on two year deals. It’s been a good ole week.

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October was mostly spent at Windsor Park, with four Linfield matches and a Northern Ireland match. There was other stuff too.

The first Saturday of the month saw me see Linfield take on Ballymena United at Windsor Park. As the month wore on, the frequent visits to Windsor Park allowed me the chance to document the ongoing redevelopment, from the still unfamiliar surroundings of the North Stand.

The following Saturday, it was Windsor Park again, but for an international between Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands. Unlike club games, I was in The Kop. This view allowed me to get some final photos of the South Stand at Windsor Park, as it entered it’s final days before complete demolition.

Two days after Northern Ireland’s win, I was back at Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Institute, which kicked-off late due to a power failure at the ground.

The next day, I went to see George Ezra in concert, at Winds ….. I jest, The Limelight.

Back to Windsor Park on the final two Saurdays of the month, to see Linfield take on Crusaders and Cliftonville, with some Street Art on North Street (missed out from Culture Night, the previous month) and Duke Of York

Linfield v Ballymena United

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands Photo Album

Linfield v Institute

George Ezra Live At The Limelight

George Ezra Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

North Street Art Extra/Duke Of York

North Street Art Extra/Duke Of York Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 19.12.2014

Yes, a day late, I know, but ….. it’s Christmas, which is a handy excuse.

1. James Bay – Hold Back The River
2. AC/DC v Bee Gees – Staying Alive
3. Charli XCX – Need Ur Love
4. Embrace – Beautiful Day
5. Lisa Loeb – Light

In case you hadn’t noticed, this is the last Friday Five before Christmas, so here’s five songs to get you in the mood.

FIVE CHRISTMAS SONGS

1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (Ware Is Over
4. The Ramones – A Punk Rock Christmas
5. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

TOP 25 SIMPSONS GUEST STARS

Believe it or not, America’s favourite family celebrates 25 years since it’s first ever episode (full episodes, not it’s appearances on The Tracey Ullman Show)

That’s The Simpsons, not The Waltons, although George Bush might disagree. George Bush was, of course, a memorable Simpsons character, although it wasn’t voiced by him. If it was, it would have been one of the greatest Simpsons guest stars ever.

In celebration of The Simpsons 25th anniversary, here’s 25 of the best guest stars of The Simpsons.

1. MICHAEL JACKSON

Jackson played a man pretending to be Michael Jackson, who befriended Homer when Homer was admitted to an asylum, referred to by guards as “The big white guy who thinks he’s the little black guy”

Homer has never heard of Michael Jackson, prompting the classic line :

“I’ve never heard of you, name one of your songs” “Beat It” “No you beat it”

Homer invites “Michael” to visit his family, who speaks to Bart, who is fooled by the voice believing him to be Michael Jackson, so he tells everyone.

A large crowd appears, only to be disappointed when it wasn’t Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, Bart forgets to get Lisa a birthday present, so “Michael” helps Bart write a song for her.

2. DUSTIN HOFFMAN

Hoffman played an inspirational teacher, Mr Bergstrom, who covers for Miss Hoover when she goes off sick. Mr Bergstrom isn’t afraid to make fun of himself, encouraging his kids to make fun of his name, suggesting Mr Nerdstrom or Mr Boogerstrom.

Eventually, he leaves town for another school, leaving Lisa heartbroken.

Classic line, came after bumping into Lisa and Homer at a museum, to Lisa :

“I thought that your dad was helping you with your homework. After talking to him, I believe that not to be the case”

3. RINGO STARR

A brief one, where Marge rediscovers her love of painting, and it emerges she sent some paintings of Ringo Starr to Ringo Starr. He’d spent 25 years replying to fanmail and finally got around to Marge. In this episode, he revealed that his real name is Richard, and that they have french fries in England, only they call them chips.

4. SPINAL TAP

Bart goes to a Spinal Tap concert and decides he wants to be a rock star. Taking his guitar to school, Otto gives an inpromptu concert on the buss, causing him to run late, then speed to get the kids to school on time, causing him to lose his lices, job and house. He eventually gets them all back.

It’s Spinal Tap, who steal the show, with so many classic lines ”

“Hello Springton!!!!”

“We’re very big in Eastern Europe. We bought a soccer team in Hungaria, or is it Bulgaria. I dunno, it’s one of the Garias”

“Could you record a trailer, nobody rocks as good as Bill and Marty?” “But what if somebody does rock as good as Bill and Marty? Or better?”

5. ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Two time guest star, playing Maggie Simpson, only saying one word at the end of the episode where the reminisce about Lisa’s first word. Although, none of the other family members heard it.

Then there was a later appearance as herself, turning down the chance to appear in a Krusty The Clown Special

6. KELSEY GRAMMAR

Sideshow Bob. Say no more. So many appearances, i’m not even sure if he’s a guest star or a regular cast member.

Classic Moment : The rakes. Burrrggggghhhh!!!!! Burrrggggghhhh!!!!!

7. DANNY DEVITO

A guest role as Herb Powell, as Homer’s half brother, who Homer only discovered when Granpa made a deathbed confession when he thought he was dying. It turns out, that Herb is a very rich man, making his money from running a car company.

Herb decides to bond with his new found brother, allowing him to design a car, with predictable results, ending with him being bankrupt.

Devito makes a second appearance, where he gets back on his feet and becomes successful again through a range of baby monitors, with the help of Homer.

8. GEORGE HARRISON

A second Beatle in this chart, Harrison says hello to Homer backstage at the Grammys, during his pop star days with The B Sharps, though is more excited about the food on offer. Later in the episode, The Be Sharps do a rooftop gig for fans, and Harrison’s chauffer driven car pulls over, for him to dismissively comment “That’s been done”

9. JON LOVITZ

Originally appeared as Jay Sherman, in cross promotion for his show The Critic, where he plays a film critic. Springfield hosts a film festival where he is invited to be a judge. Sherman finds himself being wedgied from a basketball hoop after accidentally suggesting (prompted by Bart) that MacGyver was gay, facing the wrath of Patti and Selma.

Lovitz also appears as the recurring character Artie Ziff, forever determined to win Marge’s affections.

10. JACKIE MASON

Legendary comedian plays the disapproving Rabbi dad of another comedian, Hershal Krustovsky (or, if you prefer, Krusty The Clown). In real life, Jackie Mason used to be a Rabbi.

11. PATRICK STEWART

Known simply as Number One, Stewart plays the leader of a secret organisation called The Stonecutters, who in son, claim to control the British crown, keep the metric system down, keeps the martians under wraps, and keeps Atlantic off the maps.

Although, he is deposed by Homer, after it emerges he has the sacred Stonecutters birthmark. Disagreements about Homer’s direction of the organisation results in a breakaway group, which excludes Homer.

12. GLENN CLOSE

Close stars as Homer’s long lost mum, Mona, in a few brief appearances. Upon meeting his new grandmother, Bart immediately brings up the backdated birthday and christmas presents he is owed.

Mona bonds with Lisa, they start singing Blowin In The Wind by Bob Dylan …

“How many roads must a man walk, before you can call him a man?” – Homer shouts a number before being told it was a rhetorical question, only to shout another number.

13. DOLLY PARTON

A brief appearance, she helps Homer and friends escape from “Superbowl Jail” with her make-up remover, after she shares a mutual friend with Homer, Travel Agent Wally Kogen, who organised the ill fated Superbowl trip.

14. MARK HAMILL

By being swamped by fans at a convention, Mark Hamill accidentally sends Homer’s career spinning in the direction of the security industry, when Mayor Quimbey is impressed by Homer’s rescue of Hamill.

Classic moment : Homer and Hamill flee to safety in a prop spaceship, only for them to exit ti seconds later, with Homer saying “How was I supposed to know it wasn’t a real spaceship?”

15. DONALD SUTHERLAND

Sutherland plays a historian fiercely loyal to the legacy of Jebediah Springfield, to the point that he attempts to sabotage Lisa’s investigation when she gets a sniff that Jebediah Springfield might not be the great cultural icon he’s made out to be, to the point she, her children, and her children’s children are banned from the Springfield Historical Society. For three months.

16. ADAM WEST

Masked crimefighter and political icon West is the guest of honour at a car show, where Bart and Lisa don’t know who he is, having only seen Tim Burton’s Batman movies, asking “Why doesn’t Batman dance? Remember the Batusi?”

17. JAY LENO/STEVEN WRIGHT

Jay Leno organises a Comedy Festival in Springfield, and Bart persuades him to put Krusty on the bill. Krusty bombs and announces his retirement, on a low. At his press conference, Krusty goes on a rant, having the press in howls of laughter, so he announces his comeback, and an edgy, underground comedian, before failing to resist the lure of money and commercialism, by appearing in a car commercial.

Steven Wright appears on the bill, declaring that he read the dictionary, and it turns out the zebra did it. Everybody laughs, except Homer, who didn’t get the joke.

18. STING

Bart plays a prank on Springfield, putting a two way radio down a well, pretending to be a trapped child under the name of Timmy O’Toole. Realising he put his nametag on the radio, Bart tries to retrieve it, only to fall down himself.

Timmy’s case got widespread sympathy, including a charity single, where Krusty contacts Sting, who he had sacked his opening at some years earlier.

Sting gets his hands dirty in the rescue mission, prompting this classic line :

“Mrs Simpson, I can’t sit by while one of my fans is in trouble”
“Actually, i’ve never heard Bart play any of your records”

Only for Homer to whisper “Shut up Marge, he’s a good digger”

19. THE WHO

Springfield gets split into two, with their own version of the Berlin Wall, only for a concert by The Who to reunited the divided city.

20. LISA KUDROW

The only Friend on the list, Kudrow plays a new girl at the school, who befriends Lisa’s circle of friends, and struggles to understand why a bunch of eight year olds are so immature.

21. DAVID HYDE PIERCE

Joining another guest star (shouldn’t be too hard to guess who) as Cecil Terwilliger, Bob’s brother, who still hasn’t got over missing out on being Krusty’s sidekick, attempting to frame his brother in a dodgy construction scam, which would result in a dam bursting.

When confronted by Bob, Cecil says he’ll get away with it due to a criminal mastermind with a grudge against the city being on the payroll, to which Bob reference’s Cousin Merle (one of the construction workers) and his issues with parking tickets, before “Oh. you mean me”

22. DAVID DUCHOVY/GILLIAN ANDERSON

Before investigating crime in Belfast, Gillian Anderson (along with X-Files co-star David Duchovny) investigated extra terrestrial activity in Springfield, when Homer claimed he saw an alien. It turned out to be Mr Burns, glowing, after his Friday evening medical treatment.

23. MARTIN SHEEN

Sheen stars as Seymour Skinner, who turned out to be held in a POW Camp for 25 years, and that the principal of the local school, was a fraud. The other Skinner came to inform Agnes Skinner that her son was believed to be dead, but he didn’t get a chance to deliver the news as she immediately took him in, believing him to be her son.

The new Skinner gets put in charge of the school, but his reign is unpopular, and is overthrown and deported from Springfield, with the fraud Skinner going back to his original job, and the real Skinner is never spoken of again.

24. JOHN WATERS

Waters plays a gay shop owner who Homer befriends, not knowing he is gay. Homer insists that John and his wife to dinner, only for Marge to drop hints that “John prefers being in the company of men”, which Homer replies “Who doesn’t?”, interpreting it as like he is in the company of Lenny and Karl at Moe’s

Homer eventually realises that John is gay, and sends Bart to kill a Reindeer, as a final attempt to try and stop Bart being gay in the future, only for the animals to attack them, and John arrives on the scene to save the day/

25. BASEBALL LEGENDS

I know nothing about Major League Baseball, but I know the episode where Mr Burns hires various Baseball legends to work at the power plant in order to play as ringers for the company team is a classic episode.

THE SOUND OF 2014 : 26-50

26. Lorde – Team
27. Chvrches – Recover
28. Weird Al Yankovic – Word Crimes
29. Ella Henderson – Ghost
30. Manic Street Preachers ft Nina Hoss – Europa Geht Durch Mich
31. Sia – Chandelier
32. Black Keys – Fever
33. Johnny Marr – Easy Money
34. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – True Faith
35. Wonder Villains – Golden Five
36. U2 – Invisible
37. Chvrches – Dead Air
38. U2 – The Miracle Of Joey Ramone
39. Jake Bugg – Messed Up Kids
40. Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge
41. Ting Tings – Wrong Club
42. The Pierces – Kings
43. The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
44. Kasabian – Eez-Eh
45. Pollaponk – No Prejudice
46. Alexi Lalas – Rio
47. George Ezra – Cassy O
48. Take That – These Days
49. Cher Lloyd – Sirens
50. Labrinth – Let It Be

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : DEC 12 – DEC 18

We’re nearing the end of the series, but there’s still some TOTP memories to be had.

Remember Evanescence?

Everyone remembers “Whole Of The Moon”, but this tribute to Glastonbury is a forgotten classic.

Serge from Kasabian turned 34 this week.

This week’s sad anniversary …… 13 years since Stuart Adamson died.

In the mood for some chewing gum

I Heard A Rumour that Bananarama were on this week’s round-up (An American TV show using TOTP footage for their own show, just to clarify)

2014 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

It took a while for anything to happen in September, almost two weeks in fact.

In the middle of the month, Linfield faced Warrenpoint Town. Such a match was not usually exciting, but it was Linfield’s first home match of the season, and a chance to see in person, the ongoing redevelopment at Windsor Park.

The following Friday, was Culture Night, some great photo opportunities and an excellent evening’s entertainment.

The next day, I was Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Glenavon.

On the Sunday, I headed down to North Street to survey the aftermath of Culture Night, and the new Street Art that had appeared.

From North, I headed West the following Saturday, to Fermanagh, to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard United.

Two days later, I was Seaview bound to see Linfield take on Crusaders in a rearranged game to end the month.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Culture Night 2014

Culture Night 2014 Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

North Street Art

North Street Art Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

MADNESS – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 15.12.2014

Fez sales experienced a boost in Belfast on Monday night, which could only mean one thing – Madness were in town.

It was their first Belfast gig since Belsonic in 2012. It was the only time i’d seen Madness play live, a life ambition realised.

They were no strangers to The Odyssey, having played there in 2007 and 2009. For varying reasons, I missed both gigs. I’m already making up for lost Madness time having not been born/been a baby during their original chart run.

Fittingly, in East Belfast, with the Titanic Shipyards nearby, the gig got off to a maritime start, with the band opening with Night Boat To Cairo, and the end of which Suggs commented “Thank you Belfast, you’ve been wonderful. Good night”. Thankfully, he was only joking.

Madness went through their back catalogue, obviously playing hits such as Embarrassment, Sun and the Rain, The Prince, Bed and Breakfast Man, Shut Up, My Girl, House Of Fun, Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love, and modern classics such as Lovestruck, My Girl II and NW5.

Lovestruck is one of my favourite songs, their 1999 comeback single, which reached top ten. I loved that I got to see Madness on Top Of The Pops, and in the charts as a teenager.

Suggs stepped aside for Return Of The Las Palmas Seven, letting Lee Thompson (Saxophone) and Chris Foreman (Guitar) take the limelight. Big mistake, once they got a taste of it, they never let it go.

Thompson was acting the fool, trying to swing his microphone, and continually missing, before jokingly strangling himself, while Foreman got behind the mic to sing his own version of Hey Big Spender.

One young fan, Johnny Campbell, got a special treat, when he joined the band on stage to play Saxophone with them. He came on unnoticed, and it took a while for the audience to realise that there was a kid at primary school age performing with the band.

Before he left the stage (you know, bedtime, school in the morning), Suggs gave him some fatherly advice (although he may be old enough to be his grandfather, albeit a very young grandfather) that he should “stay in school and get an education ……… because you don’t want to end up like Lee Thompson”

During the performance of Our House, the LED Screens in the background showed images of houses in Belfast, and various other landmarks in the city.

One noticable absence, was Chas Smash. I didn’t know he’d left the band until last night (confirming his departure in this Guardian interview)

That would explain why they didn’t open with One Step Beyond.

They did perform One Step Beyond, in the encore, with Suggs just shouting “ONE …… STEP ….. BEYOND!!!” instead of Smash’s “HEY YOU!!! DON’T WATCH THAT!!! WATCH THIS!!!!” intro.

They finished with another Prince Buster cover, Madness, the song that gave them their name, with Suggs signing off by telling the crowd to eat as much as they want over Christmas as they’d had a good aerobic workout from all the dancing.

Madness still proving that they are the nuttiest sound around.

Photo Album

Madness Live At Custom House Square 2012

Madness Live At Custom House Square 2012 Photo Album