Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
For those that found themselves in the company of Simon Crowe and Garry Roberts in the Bilston Robin 2 as they thrilled discerning audiences as part of From The Rats in August 2008 the thought that 4/5ths of The Boomtown Rats line-up would tour together during 2013 would have seemed like a dream that could never come true in a million years, an impossible fantasy you would have bet against from the start but slowly and surely the superb Garry Roberts and Simon Crowe have been joined by Bob Geldof and Pete Briquette and with the very talented Darren Beale adding a touch of youthful exuberance to the cause on guitar, The Boomtown Rats took the packed Newcastle 02 Academy and with just a couple of songs performed from a top notch set list, you could see that they had gone down a storm.
There has always been a call for the music of The Boomtown Rats, the frenzied delivery of fantastic music coupled with notable music all wrapped up in the Irish and wider-world social commentary that at one point had them banned from playing in their own country, and in one tour and especially in one gig in Newcastle that call was heeded and gratefully received by an audience relishing in the return of the band.
Even looking round the room it was possible to see that this was a group, who despite not having a new studio album in nearly 30 years, who had been passed down in some sort of whispered mythical folk tale from father to daughter, from mother to son. Their exploits and lyrics poured over by audience members who wouldn’t have been alive when Bob Geldof helped stage the biggest concert of all time. Yet as Bob found himself saying during the gig, nothing has changed in the four decades since tracks such as Rat Trap, I Don’t Like Mondays and the brilliant Someone’s Looking At You were first laid down on vinyl.
With the crowd eager to get going and shake of the start off the week blues, The Boomtown Rats kicked 35 plus years where it hurts and so began a scintillating, heated and outrageously good gig. Opening with (I Never Loved) Eva Braun and Like Clockwork certainly shook any post weekend cobwebs out of the system and the audience’s appreciation got audibly louder and more focused as the night exploded and made the cold Newcastle air retreat in fear back to the foggy banks of the Tyne.
This wasn’t just a night for nostalgia, to turn back the clock to the 1970s and revel in something that has been missing live since the mid ‘80s, this was a spectacle in which the audience may have found themselves thinking of what the world may have been like had this pivotal group not gone their separate ways.
Garry Roberts and Simon Crowe deserve huge applause for the way all this has come about, without the interest being sparked from the From The Rats gigs it may never have come to this and to have Pete Briquette and Bob Geldof on stage once more performing tracks such as the brilliant Banana Republic, the epic I Don’t Like Mondays, Mary of the 4th Form and the beautiful but haunting Diamond Smiles, the dangerous exotic nature of skilfully drawn lyrics and sublime music were there once more for all to hear.
This cannot be the end; this surely can only be the start again. A tremendous night for old fans and new!
Ian D. Hall