The Boomtown Rats at Vicar Street, Dublin on Saturday 12th of October 2013
It’s odd to think that The Boomtown Rats were off Dublin stages for 27 years. Sir Bob seems to be on our televisions every second week talking about anything except music, while I Don’t Like Mondays has never left radio playlists in the 34 years since its release. Boomtown Rats are so much more than that one man and that one song though, as they prove on Saturday night.
The band are instantly comfortable and composed on stage as they open with Eva Braun; seeming more like a band finishing off an extensive tour rather than one who are playing just their fifth gig since 1986. Geldof has his Jagger Swagger going, dressed in a faux snake skin suit over a sparkly, translucent black shirt.
“I am wearing a fuck off snake skin suit,” he shouts self-depreciatingly after Do You In showing that he’s not just the stoic figure he comes across as when he’s on one of his ‘police the world’ missions. He is actually a fantastic, self-aware front man and the crowd lap up his every word.
But, again, it’s not just about Sir Bob and the band prove as much. They wrote some fantastic songs in their initial 11 year run and everyone one of their punk rock pieces get the crowd moving on the night. For many – including one topless, middle aged man riding on his friend’s shoulders for Someone’s Looking at You – it may as well be 1979 all over again.
The one misstep of the night proves, surprisingly, to be Banana Republic. While undoubtedly a fantastic song, its laid-back, Caribbean feel is out of step when compared to the rock that surrounds it and only serves to drain the energy from the room. Everything else hits though, from Having My Picture Taken – before which the band come together at the front of the stage to have their picture taken by the crowd – to Me and Howard.
Predictably, I Don’t Like Mondays and Rat Trap get huge reactions from the packed venue and both turn into mass sing-alongs with a delighted audience. Highlight of the show however is what started out as the Hives inspiring Mary of The Fourth Form. It soon interspersed with I Wanna Be Your Man and Boom Boom to become a punk rock epic. It shows that the Boomtown Rats are not a band willing to sit back and just churn out the hits to make it easier on themselves.
The band finally finish with new track The Boomtown Rats – a song that sounds much better live than from the studio – with Sir Bob moving about the stage like a man half of his age. It’s indicative of what’s gone before; a great end to a great show.
Yes, the band look like the late middle aged men they are but they never slowed down at any point show. Yes, Sir Bob went on a couple of rants – banks, the government and social media among his targets here – but it never turned into a lecture some may have feared. Yes, it was the band’s first Dublin show in 27 years, but there was never any sign that they’d been away. Let’s hope they stay around this time because any day could be improved with a Boomtown Rats show.
The Boomtown Rats Photo Gallery
Photos: Kieran Frost