One of the architects of the ska movement, Madness (from Camden Town in North London), had a rip-roaring heyday from their debut disc (1979's "One Step Beyond") until their initial demise in 1986 (it was only temporary, as they would reform in 1999). Alongside The Specials, Madness bought ska to mainstream audiences worldwide.

While they are mostly known in the USA for their massive 1983 (though it was originally released in 1982 in the UK) hit, "Our House", they had an abundance of hits internationally. With its irresistible pop-hooks, "Our House" was a sentimental look at a busy household during a childhood that everyone can relate to. It was ironically on the charts at the same time that another British heavyweight band, The Kinks, landed a Top-10 hit "Come Dancing", another song which also looks back fondly at one's coming-of-age days.

Madness (featuring original members Graham "Suggs" McPherson, vocals; Chris Foreman, guitarist; Mike Barson, keyboardist; Lee Thompson, saxophonist; Dan Woodgate, drummer; and Mark Bedford, bassist) performed at the MGM at Fenway in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) on May 29, 2024.

The group entered the stage while the "Star Wars: Main Title" theme was being pumped out of the speakers, and opened with their fantastic cover of Prince Buster's "One Step Beyond". Keeping it old school, they followed up with "Embarrassment" (from 1980's "Absolutely" LP), "The Prince" (Madness's first single) and the fantastically catchy, "My Girl."

Proving they are no oldies act, Madness played some first-rate newer material with "C'est la vie" (from their 2023 release, "Theatre of the Absurd Presents C'est la Vie"), before returning to 1981 for their hit, "Shut Up".

Pulling out another interpretation of a Prince Buster composition, "Girl Why Don't You", they also did a spectacular take on Lord Tanamo's "Taller Than You Are".

At one point, Suggs mentioned that Barson's mother was responsible for the formation of Madness, as she let them rehearse in her house back in the '70s. Barson then stated that she is still active and in her 90s.

"Bed and Breakfast Man" (a ditty about a scrounge of a man) was a fantastic deep-track from the debut album, followed by the introspective 2023 tune, "If I Go Mad". Suggs said that he wrote "If I Go Mad" during the pandemic (with relatable lyrics as; "A little plastic hat/A little plastic nose/Go have a look/There's a plastic house/And plastic clothes") and it was noted that he had lost none of his song writing ability.

To give the band a short break, Forman did a solo tongue-in-cheek karaoke version of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell", before Madness retuned and, literally, "raised hell", as they ripped through a quartet of classics with "House of Fun", "Baggy Trousers", the iconic "Our House" and ended the set perfectly with "It Must Be Love".

The sextet returned for a pair of classics, "Madness" and "Night Boat to Cairo" and then exited the stage while Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" played. While this show was originally scheduled for May of 2020, Madness certainly did not disappoint and the 22-song set made up for their long awaited return.