Madness, Madness, They Call It Madness
The Sunday main stage line up at this year's Guilfest was predominantly ska and reggae based, with the likes of the Beat, Toots and the Maytals and Dub Pistols featuring Terry Hall all taking their turn to whip the crowd into a party mood. However hard they may have tried, none of them could compete with Suggs and the nutty boys and it's fair to say this year's Guilfest definitely went out with a bang!
The crowd had been steadily building during the Magic Numbers set, with the area in front of the main stage absolutely heaving by the time it reached Madness O'clock.
As the words: "Hey you, Don't watch that watch this, this is the heavy heavy monster sound, the nuttiest sound around, so if you've come in off the street, and you're beginning to feel the heat, well listen buster you better start to move your feet, to the rockinest rock steady beat of madness!" boomed out across Stoke Park their was a tangible excitement sparking, before the immortal phrase of "ONE STEP BEYOND!!!" blasted out in all its high energy glory.
'Embarrassment' and 'My Girl' were next, with the party now well and truly underway.
It's a glaringly obvious thing to point out, but Suggs is mad as a box of frogs. It's worth highlighting this as it makes him a great front man to watch, and he can literally ramble on about whatever he likes, tell as many rubbish jokes as he wants, and the fans lap up every bit of it.
Tonight we got the revelation that the Michael Jackson moon walk isn't really how they walk on the moon - no shit Sherlock – as well as the tale of how, on leaving the pub, a bloke might focus on the nearest lamp post, and by the time he's reached it he's fallen in love with said street light ... as well as a rubbish joke about a penguin the punch line of which I've left in Guildford somewhere.
When I saw Madness before Christmas they played a batch of classics at the start, and left a load for the end and they did the same here. The massive crowd loved every second of it though and it was easy to be carried along whether you knew every song or not.
As well as less well-known singles and one or two newer songs, the band threw in a couple of excellent covers. First came the Supremes 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' which has recently re-surfaced as part of the Mark Ronson hit 'Stop Me'. Then there was their brilliant version of 'Chase The Devil' by Max Romeo, which if you don't recognise the name is the reggae track sampled in the Prodigy's 'Outta Space'.
The final section of the set was one Madness anthem after another. 'House of Fun', 'Baggy Trousers', 'Our House' and 'It Must Be Love' were all belted out by the thousands upon thousands gathered for the close of Guilfest 2007.
As 'It Must Be Love' died away, we had that obligatory leave the stage routine, before the band returned for their signature tune, the fantastic 'Madness'. There was only one way they would go out, and it was a great way to round off what turned out to be another fine weekend at Guilfest.
A Sunday night headliner should send you on your way with a smile on your face. Madness are the masters at pulling off that trick.