ROCK / Critical Round-Up

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The Independent Culture
MADNESS

Finsbury Park, London

'It only took a few bars of the opening number, 'One Step Beyond', to dispel any fears that Madness might be less than match-fit after such a long time apart. The crisp, punchy sound and the distinctive push and tug dynamics of their songs . . . invested this 'greatest hits' performance with a rare and wonderful appeal. In combining the clipped rhythmic urgency of Jamaican ska with the melodic delicacy of Motown soul and packaging it with sharply observed, populist lyrics about commonplace English life, Madness remain unique.' David Sinclair, Times

'Madness were greeted with rapturous applause, but their peformance was something of anti-climax. . . . their frantic antics and their unsophisticated musicianship had a perfunctory air. Surprisingly, the boys seemed to be having much less fun than their fans.' David Cheal, Telegraph

'. . . the people on stage were more like bemused caretakers. It was as if they realise that they were connected with the Madness legacy, but were not sure how. . . . (They) played all the singles . . . and they played 'em straight. Furthermore, Madness has had the decency not to attempt any new recording. If they can resist the trouperly impulse to have one more crack at the same, these one-off dates will become cherished memories.' Caroline Sullivan, Guardian

'You hear the body of the work they created . . . and you realise just how extraordinary history will deem them to be.' Paul Mathur, Melody Maker

MORRISSEY

Finsbury Park, London

'God only knows how Morrissey ended up on the bill. No doubt about it, the Saturday event was bloke territory. As one fan remarked: 'Morrissey? 'Sa pouf, right?' But he duly appeared, and in a lame blouse that instantly inflamed the most dormant homophobia.' Caroline Sullivan, Guardian

'The whingeing Northerner found little enthusiasm for his arty songs about National Front discos and London being dead.' David Sinclair, Times

(Photograph omitted)

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