After the cancellation of the Foo Fighters show, this was my last booked gig of the year so I was really looking forward to it. The show was a belated part of our local music festival and was held on the same land where Status Quo played last year. Before I go any further, the Montrose Music Festival committee should be commended for getting Madness to play in Montrose. They’re a huge band, have a number of classic songs, along with a large fanbase.
My mum and I stood looking onto the centre of the stage, many rows back. Nice and empty, a good spot or so we thought. The first support act was a band called The Lottery Winners, an indie-pop band from Lancashire. I enjoyed their set- plenty of audience interaction and they looked properly excited to be playing in front of such a large crowd. Next up was By The Rivers, a reggae/ska band. Again, they were great.
Then, the main event, Madness. They started off by showing clips from various sporting events on-screen. These clips involved England and solicited a number of boos from the audience. The band started playing and there was a surge of people who barged in. I should note they had lanyards on indicating they’d come from the VIP section. A group of what I can only describe as football casuals barged in beside me. Their behaviour was disgusting and I believe they started making some awful racist comments (I didn’t hear these myself). This prompted the woman in-front of me to tell them to cut it out (she was very calm about it).
2 songs in and it all got too much. I was crushed so much I panicked and my mum removed me from the crowd and took me to the side. She was 1) concerned about my hip getting hit (I’m disabled)- it felt like there was going to be a fight and 2) she was concerned about crush injuries. Security were called to try and sort out the situation in the middle of the crowd.
The outside of the crowd was a totally different atmosphere- people happily skanking away. We noticed multiple people come out of the crowd in tears and/or grasping their heads- beer had been served in cans and these were being thrown at people. At most of the gigs I’ve been to: AECC, Murrayfield, Hampden, drink is served in plastic glasses. Even water.
I was looking forward to hearing some classic Madness songs and it just wasn’t the same having to watch from the sidelines. The band played for 1.5 hours playing all their hits. Unfortunately the start of the gig had put a real downer on the show for me- the crowd let Montrose and the band down.
I’m not sure if I’ll return to the East Links next year. Woke-up the day after with little bruises down my arms where the football casuals had crushed me. A gig is supposed to be fun.
Here’s the approximate setlist-
My Girl 2
Take It or Leave It
The Sun and the Rain
Return of the Los Palmas 7
Bed and Breakfast Man
Girl Why Don’t You?
Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi cover)
One Step Beyond
House of Fun
Wings of a Dove
It Must Be Love
Night Boat to Cairo