Waiting to get into the show, we’re surrounded by a sea of bucket hats and Barrowland stars, the energy and anticipation from the ‘party-ready’ queue soon warms up this cold and windy evening in Glasgow. And we’re not even in the door!

Making our way into an already packed ballroom, we’re just in time for the unmissable first act – Stereo MC’s. Lead vocalist and rapper, Rob Birch immediately grabs the attention of the crowd as he bounces onto stage wearing an all-black shell tracksuit and cap. He greets the audience ready for a 2 – step. “Where’d you wanna go Glasgow…. I wanna go higher” The first track instantly receives cheers and applause from the music-hungry crowd. Cath Coffey – dressed in a green Adidas track suit does not disappoint with insanely strong vocals, paired with her stylistic dance moves making for a performance bursting with energy. What an experience! What a start!

The next up on the lineup is none other than Inspiral Carpets, who do a sterling job of carrying on those good vibrations. The band dressed in paisley pattern shirts and pinstripe start us off with the buzz-saw guitar of “Joe” which gets the crowd going in no time. Halfway through the set there’s a chance for a breather with their ode to melancholy “This is how it feels”. A song for reflection for sure but with such a strong back catalogue and watching this band live you can see why they are as popular now as they ever were back in those heady days of Madchester.

It’s 9:45pm and it’s time now for the Happy Mondays. Shaun Ryder makes us wait though, taunting the audience from somewhere back stage… “home sweet home” is his disembodied mantra – surely reference to the fact this is the last of their 3 night Barrowland residency. When they arrive in front of the audience it’s an all in burst of 90s nostalgia as we soak in the opening track “Kinky Afro”. Bez steals the show, stepping in (and out of) every available space on the stage shaking two maracas in time to the funky rolling beats. Singer Rowetta sounds and looks incredible with her trademark soulful, powerful vocals. Shaun Ryder is the most static of the bunch, rarely stepping to the front of the stage – but this doesn’t take away from his cool vocals and dead pan demeanour. Before long, Bez acquires one of the hundreds of bucket hats in attendance and proudly wears it on his head. They’re having fun, so we’re having fun. It’s infectious.

It was a night of unabashed nostalgia, transporting even the youngest attendees back to the heyday of 1990’s Britain. With a lineup like this, you could pretty much guarantee arriving and leaving in high spirits, and that infectious energy reverberated throughout the venue, leaving everyone with a new set of Madchester memories.

Words and pictures: Rose McEnroe