RACECOURSE bosses had to go “one step beyond” to stage pop legends Madness - after a massive power cut threatened to pull the plug on the show.
Town Moor chiefs worked tirelessly around the clock after all electricity to the site was lost, jeopardising the huge outdoor concert and potentially leaving more than 20,000 fans disappointed.
Doncaster Racecourse managing director Mark Spincer said: “It was touch and go - we were very close to having to cancel and had some real headaches to deal with - it some ways it was a miracle that the show managed to take place.”
Problems began on Thursday evening when a powerful thunderstorm is thought to have blown supplies to Town Moor ahead of the two day Friday and Saturday race meeting.
Explained Mr Spincer: “Teams of electricians worked through the night but the decision was taken to bring in two huge generators - and we only had the power back on fifteen minutes before racing was due to begin on Friday.”
The power problems rolled on into Saturday with the electricity being turned off to preserve supplies with some bars and kitchens being forced to shut with water supplies also lost to the Racecourse for a time - although the band eventually took to the stage unaware of the behind the scenes panic.
He added: “We know we didn’t deliver the event as well as we could have done and we’d like to apologise to those customers who may have experienced issues. There were many who wouldn’t even have realised anything was wrong, but we know that there were quite a few problems across the course of the weekend.”
Mr Spincer revealed that he had gone without sleep for 69 hours trying to sort out the crisis which is estimated to have cost the venue in excess of £30,000 through generator hire and fuel supplies. A full investigation is now under way.
“We couldn’t do anymore than we did to get the show on and my team deserve a big thank you for all their hard work,” he said.
Thankfully, most of the audience seemed unaware of the chaos and were able to enjoy the London band perform a string of their best known hits including One Step Beyond, It Must Be Love, Night Boat To Cairo and Baggy Trousers with the rain holding off for the outdoor show, the biggest in South Yorkshire this summer.
FROM the opening “Hey you, don’t watch that, watch this...” Chas Smash bellow that heralds in One Step Beyond to the closing sax-stuffed finale of Night Boat To Cairo, quintessential Brit icons Madness delivered a hits package that was, excuse the racing pun, a clear winner.
There’s no point testing out new material when much of your 20,000 strong audience has indulged heavily in refreshment, shall we say, so the Nutty Boys gave everyone what they wanted - a relentless barrage of great songs, memorable moments and enough frenzied dancing to register on the Richter scale.
Young and old alike two-stepped the night away to Shut Up, Wings Of A Dove, Baggy Trousers and House Of Fun, many of them sporting the group’s trademark red fez hats or traditional 2Tone garb of pork pie hats, Crombies and piano key ties.
Thankfully, the rain held off and as night fell, Suggs and co positively sparkled in front of a twinkling light backdrop spelling out the band’s name as hits such as It Must Be Love, Our House and Madness were also rolled out, each one to bigger and louder cheers than the one before.
Its not so long ago that these East End urchins were plying their trade on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and they’ve now been a staple of the British music for more than 30 years - so to see them up close and personal in our home town was a moment savour. This was their second visit to Town Moor. Let’s hope they make it a hat-trick of winners at Doncaster soon. They’d be mad not to return to perform for an audience where indeed it must be love, love, love...