Mike Barson - keyboards; Mark Bedford - bass; C.J. Foreman - guitar; Graham "Suggs" McPherson - vocals; Carl "Chas Smash" Smyth - bass, trumpet; Lee Thompson - saxophone; Dan Woodgate - drums
Of all the modern ska bands to break out of the UK in the early 1980s, Madness was the only one to see any significant success stateside. Largely with the help of MTV, their quirky mannerisms and uniform fashion made them an instant one-of-a-kind video act, whose catchy and danceable songs made them easy to root for. This performance, recorded at one of the earliest casino rock shows in the US, happened after the group had already had their biggest chart successes with the odd-ball hit, "One Step Beyond," and the infectious anthem, "Our House," ironically now heard everywhere as a national commercial for real estate agents.
Recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Madness saw this as an opportunity for national exposure they could receive as a live act, and took great advantage of the fact that thousands of modern music fans listened to the Biscuit week after week. This performance will likely open up the group's excellent repertoire to those only familiar with the few radio hits the band had during this period. Opening with "House Of Fun," the band rocks out to nearly two dozen songs in about an hour. Lead vocalist Graham "Suggs" McPherson likes to keep the energy level very high, and they definitely display that invigorating attitude at this show.
What is also noteworthy is the incredibly fast pace these songs are played at. The band always moved at a quick pace, but some of these songs are played at breakneck speed. Some of the band's best songs make up the core the show, among them "Disappear," "Bed And Breakfast Man," "My Girl," "Embarrassment," "Night Boat To Cairo," "Razor Blade Alley," and "Grey Day," which is tied into a lengthy audience participation.
The rest of the show is played out like a NASCAR race, with the band's best material coming at you fast and furious. "Shut Up," "Madness," "Baggy Trousers," "Our House," and "Madness Is All In The Mind," are among the highlights, with the ominous "One Step Beyond," closing things out in perfect Madness fashion.