Live Review: Madness @ M&S Arena Liverpool

Words and pictures by Warren Millar – All rights reserved

A Night of Nostalgia and Pure Madness C’est La Vie Tour at The M&S Arena Liverpool Gig Review

Date: December 7, 2023

Venue: M&S Arena Liverpool

Headliner: Madness

Support: The Lightning Seeds

The M&S Arena in Liverpool was set ablaze with a vibrant mix of ska, pop, and sheer musical brilliance as two iconic bands, Madness and The Lightning Seeds, took the stage for a night that will be etched in the memories of the audience for years to come.

The Lightning Seeds: A Perfect Prelude

As the crowd eagerly gathered, The Lightning Seeds graced the stage, setting the tone for an electrifying evening. The band, known for their catchy melodies and infectious energy, did not disappoint. Frontman Ian Broudie’s charismatic presence and the band’s tight performance kept the audience on their feet.

Hits like “Pure,” “Lucky You,” and “The Life of Riley” resonated through the arena, creating a wave of nostalgia that had fans singing along with every word, even more so when the band finished their set with their classic sing along football anthem “Three Lions”. The Lightning Seeds’ ability to effortlessly blend pop sensibilities with a rock edge was a perfect warm-up for the madness that was about to unfold.

Madness: A Timeless Explosion of Energy

Known for their raucous live sets, one of the biggest and most loved British bands Madness bring their C’est La Vie tour to Liverpool  teeming with hits from the nutty boy’s unrivalled back catalogue along with some songs from the new album. Throughout their career, Madness have had 10 UK top ten albums, 15 top ten singles and have won a multitude of awards including a prestigious Ivor Novello.

As the iconic Madness took the stage, the M&S Arena erupted with cheers. The band, with their distinct blend of ska, pop, and soul, proved why they are regarded as one of the greatest live acts of their generation. Looking and sounding ageless, Madness launched into a setlist that spanned their illustrious career.

Kicking off with “Theatre Of The Absurd” a track from their latest album “C’est La Vie”  Madness had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the first note. Suggs, the charismatic lead singer, engaged the audience with his witty banter and infectious energy. The brass section, led by the legendary Lee Thompson, added a dynamic layer to the performance that had the entire arena dancing.

The band seamlessly transitioned between hits like “Our House,” “It Must Be Love,” and tracks from “C’est la Vie” like “Baby Burglar” showcasing their versatility and timeless appeal. The M&S Arena transformed into a ska-filled dance floor, with fans of all ages revelling in the joyous atmosphere.

Madness not only delivered musically but also visually, with a vibrant and dynamic stage production that complemented their performance. The lighting, visuals, and stage design enhanced the overall experience, creating a visually stunning backdrop for the musical journey.

The encore brought the house down, with Madness returning for an extended set that included fan favourite  “Madness.” The sheer energy and camaraderie between the band members were palpable, creating a connection with the audience that transcended generations. Finishing their encore with “Night Boat to Cairo” the Fez wearing fans were by now ecstatically singing along even as they left the arena.

Conclusion: A Night to Remember

The Madness and The Lightning Seeds gig at the M&S Arena Liverpool was a celebration of timeless music, boundless energy, and an unbreakable connection between the bands and their devoted fans. From start to finish, the night was a rollercoaster of emotions, blending nostalgia with the thrill of a live musical experience. As the crowd dispersed into the Liverpool night, the echoes of Madness’s unforgettable performance lingered in the air, leaving everyone with a shared memory of a truly spectacular evening.

Set List

  • Theatre of the Absurd
  • The Prince
  • Beginners 101
  • My Girl
  • Hour of Need
  • NW5
  • C’est La Vie
  • Embarrassment
  • Baby Burglar
  • Grey Day
  • Run For Your Life
  • Shut Up
  • Round We Go
  • Bed and Breakfast Man
  • The Law According to Dr. Kippah
  • Wings of a Dove
  • In My Street
  • One Step Beyond (Prince Buster cover)
  • House of Fun
  • Baggy Trousers
  • Our House
  • It Must Be Love (Labi Siffre cover)
  • When the Saints Go Marching In (Instrumental)


  • Friday Night, Saturday Morning (The Specials cover)
  • Madness (Prince Buster cover)
  • Night Boat to Cairo

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