Tuesday 29th October 2013 ∏
Page lasted edited: 2nd July 2014
The Boomtown Rats at Nottingham
Sir Bob Geldof led the Boomtown Rats for their gig at Nottingham’s Rock City, as part of the band’s UK tour. Nottingham’s Rock City venue was tonight packed to capacity (2,000) for the appearance of the Boomtown Rats, the band whose lead singer is Bob Geldorf. If you are from Leicester and have not been to this venue before, think of the main room at the De Montfort Hall (without the additional balcony seating.)
After the one support act – a singer called Patrick Fitzgerald – the ‘Rats came on stage to a fair amount of shouting and clapping. Now I have to say, this was the first time I had seen this band play live; yes, I have seen them on the TV but at the height of their previous appearances as a band, I was not going to gigs and so this was my first exposure to a band that I had seen on Top Of The Pops (when their Looking After Number One was at number 11 in the charts), in several televised documentaries and had heard on the radio, not to mention the broadcast coverage of Live Aid in 1985. It was also my first visit to Rock City, strangely enough, although I have known about it for years, I have never made the effort to go to it and only very recently found out where it was situated in Nottingham and discovered how to get to it by public transport. Interesting to see the large hall of the venue crowded with people of all ages; I had anticipated a rather grey haired crowd and so was surprised to see so many there whose birth dates preceded the golden era of the Boomtown Rat’s presence in the musical limelight. At 9 pm the lights went down, the crowd started to make a lot of noise and Geldorf appeared on stage to soak up the enthusiastic adulation of the spectators. Dressed in his famous ‘snake skin’ suit, the 62 year old singer wasted no time in showing that he had not lost anything of his former verve. Looking much more presentable tonight than he has done in many of his previous TV appearances, Geldof was in fine form and ready to rock ‘n’ roll. The Rat’s soon got the crowd bouncing along with their beats, their lead singer giving an animated performance as they worked their way through the set, delivering songs which many in the audience knew well and joined in with. The band’s one and half hour set was interspersed with their lead singer recounting some anecdotes about former gigs, the songs they were performing and the story of his suit, which went down well with the fans and bemused some of the younger crowd members, for whom this was something of a new experience. Eventually the heat from the lighting and his perambulations around the stage got the better of him as Sir Bob took off his jacket and performed in his shirt sleeves. Guitarist Garry Roberts put on an impressive display of virtuosity on the strings, bass player Pete Briquette was there with Simon Crowe on drums, the original cast back together some 27 years after they had played their ‘final’ gig. The band had started its current tour back in the middle of June when they appeared at the Isle of Wight festival. Well despite not having been on stage for 27 years, Geldof showed tonight that he can still kick ass and has not forgotten how to rock and roll. Many of the hits songs got played, including I Don’t Like Mondays and Mary of the 4th Form, Like Clockwork, Banana Republic, and Rat Trap. The band’s 1980 song Banana Republic caused a storm in their native Ireland, was banned by the Irish media and still has a degree of soreness to it even today. “The Germans loved it”, Sir Bob told the audience. Well, tonight’s crowd loved it too and there was much singing along from them, especially to the hits songs they all knew such as I Don’t Like Mondays. Clappy, stomping beats, mammoth guitar solos and the figure of Sir Bob on stage, living the music, as much tonight as he did nearly three decades ago, delivering songs that lasted for anything up to 20 minutes, added up to a really good night of live music and a pretty unforgettable experience. Given that they were playing in front of 2,000 adoring and enthusiastic fans, it was a live experience you just couldn’t get without being there. This was a band that started in 1975, was from Ireland and whose influences were Dr. Feelgood, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors and Bob Marley and who played their first ever gig, as The Boomtown Rats, in Blackburn in 1977, being signed to Mercury Records shortly after that. Nine of the band’s singles made the top 40 charts in the UK and in 1979 I Don’t Like Mondays reached the number one slot.
Live Music in November (2013)
Live Music in October (2013)