Three years ago, at the end of May, I saw one of my favourite bands. I’d booked a half day off work so I could be at the venue with some time to spare. It had rained on and off for the majority of the day and I feared it would be a wet experience.
It was the end of May 2015, and I had stayed up late to book the tickets for Madness at Sincil Bank.
I loved Madness from as far as I can remember. I loved Baggy Trousers as a small boy. I loved Shut Up and I simply adored The Sun and The Rain. Boy, that day I saw some rain.
So, we all arrived at Sincil Bank about half past four and I think Madness weren’t due on until about 8pm. It was still very showery and I wanted to get there early. I have no idea why. Earlier in 2014, I had taken my then five year old son to see us lose 1-3 at home against Torquay. It was his first Lincoln game. He had a colouring book with him and I wished I had one too. So when I saw that Chairman Bob and Director Kev Cooke had managed to snare Madness in May 2015, I couldn’t believe it. My favourite band at my favourite stadium.
Well, it started with an old DJ playing ska and other related fantastic classics. Tenpole Tudor and Swords of a Thousand Men and The Specials. I was immediately transported back to my Grandmother’s back garden where apparently I used to charge around to such songs, much to the amusement of my dear late Uncle Ian and my dear Uncle Rob.
I was growing increasingly concerned that the dampage on the ground would make for a hazardous bouncing up and down to the nutty sound…But my fears would pass. It just had to be done.
There was then a ska band, which were OK and then Scouting For Girls. All the same melody, but lyrically different. I wasn’t interested in seeing them. I wanted the nutty sound. And finally it came.
And what a sound it was. I don’t mind admit I was crying for most of it. I always loved Madness and my dear late Uncle Ian and I used to listen to them all the time, a long with Suggs’ Lone Ranger Album from 1995. I taped it for Ian from my CD, so he could listen to it in his car. Memories, very happy memories came flooding back and something happened. The Sun was now beaming out as Madness launched into The Sun and the Rain. I was now blubbing uncontrollably on the pitch, midway between the centre circle and the 18 yard box, facing the Stacey West…bouncing up and down and singing, shouting the lyrics loudly.
It was at that point that I looked around. I saw how much potential this ground had. How great it was to again see it full of around 10000 plus people. I realised it had life in the old dog yet.
“It’s raining again…”
Yet the potentially torrential lyrics, are changed by the chirpy major key of the melody. It is a song that celebrates the Rain and the gloom, in the fact that we should be grateful of it. Why? Well, because sooner or later the clouds will break and we will be treated to blue skies and a gloriously sun. On that evening they did break and we had some late glorious May evening sunshine. Suggs yelled “The Sun always comes out for Madness.”
It does, it did, and it was fantastic.
For me, and I have said this to others before, the start of the end of the doldrums began with Madness coming along in 2015 and reintroducing us to the sun. Like anything it took a while to become established again, but it was a tiny acorn that has led to the sprouting of an oak tree. It made many realise that the potential that the club could still have. How it could atteact people again. It reminded me of some fabulous Lincoln away trips, listening to Suggs with my late Uncle Ian and to some amazing home games with my Uncle Rob. It is a fact that on the way to all home games now my lad and I stick The Sun and The Rain, on in the car.
That’s why I was crying, because it combined a true masterstroke of getting Madness in and all the memories of watching Lincoln, with those i hold very dear to me. That Madness night is where the club began to turn around my belief again.
What we needed then, was Madness on the pitch. It took another year to obtain that nutty sound, but eventually we have managed to get our own madness. Our own nutty sound.
Long may it reign (and the sun too).
*If anyone from the club is reading this….get them back. It’d make a fantastic end of season party.
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