Archive for the ‘Boomtown Rats’ Category

Frank Zappa & the Tubes Knebworth 9th September 1978

image“Oh God, Not Another Boring Old Knebworth” said the posters. Line-up: The Tubes, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Boomtown Rats, Rockpile, Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders.
This was the second Knebworth festival to take place in 1978, following the Genesis / Jefferson Starship / Tom Petty gig earlier in the summer. I remember thinking it was a bit late in the year for an open air gig and feared the worst from the weather, but actually it was ok on the day; quite fine. I drove down with a group of mates. We argued all the way down about who was the “best” act of the day. Such things seemed to matter a lot in those days. In the car we had a big Zappa fan (me, and I was sure that Zappa was the biggest and best act and should be headlining), a newly converted Tubes fanatic, and a couple of Peter Gabriel / Genesis fans. Zappa and the Tubes were billed as joint headliners, however on the day the Tubes closed the show, which annoyed me a little. We camped and pitched our tents near a big generator (big mistake) which for some reason we didn’t really notice when we set up. However it was humming loudly all night and powering a massive floodlight which shone on our tents, so we didn’t get much sleep.
The show was opened by the Boomtown Rats, Wilko Johnson who had recently left Dr Feelgood and was fronting his new band Solid Senders, and Rockpile featuring Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. All class acts and a great start to the day. I’ve already written about Peter Gabriel and the Tubes in earlier posts. Both were great; the Tubes closed the festival with a massive crazy show. They were joined by Todd Rundgren for encores of Baba O’Reilly and
The Kids are alright, played in honour of Keith Moon who had died just two days before this concert.
Zappa was great, although I didn’t enjoy his performance as much as the concert I saw in Edinburgh the year before. His band had changed and they played very few songs that I knew. Still, it was a good day with a varied, and very strong line-up, although the lack of a major league headliner resulted in a far from capacity crowd.
We spent the night with a big light shining on us, a loud humming noise from the generator, and a few “Wally” shouts (although they were starting to fade away by this point in the ’70s). Very little sleep and a long drive home in the morning.
Zappa setlist: Rubber Slices (The Deathless Horsie); Introduction and Soundcheck; Dancin’ Fool; Easy Meat; Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?; Keep it Greasey; Village of the Sun; Poor Suckers (The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing); City of Tiny Lites; A Pound for a Brown on the Bus; Bobby Brown; Conehead; Flakes (part 1); Flakes (part 2); Magic Fingers; Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow; Nanook Rubs It; Saint Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast; Father O’Blivion / Rollo; Bamboozled by Love
Zappa band: Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Arthur Barrow (bass); Ed Mann (percussion); Tommy Mars (keyboards); Denny Walley (guitar, vocals); Peter Wolf (keyboards); and Ike Willis (guitar, vocals).

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
liveaidtixI went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
liveadiprogFor me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale

The Boomtown Rats Newcastle City Hall 1978 – 1982

The Boomtown Rats Newcastle City Hall 1978 – 1982
Blogging every day is turning up a lot of memories for me. I didn’t realise how many times I’d seen the Boomtown Rats. I must have seen them on quite a number of occassions, as I found four tickets and programmes from Newcastle City Hall in my collection, covering the period 1978 to 1982. Actually, the first time I saw the band was before those City Hall gigs, in 1977, at Newcastle Mayfair. I remember that gig well. It was originally going to be at Middlesbrough Rock Garden and still appears as such in published Rats gig lists, however, it was moved to Newcastle at a couple of days notice, I have no idea why. It was a Friday night, which was normally a heavy rock night at the Mayfair and the ballroom was filled with a mixture of rock fans and punks. The Newcastle crowd gave the Rats a pretty hard time, with a constant stream of beer and spit being flung at them. The poor keyboard player, Johnnie Fingers, who was famed for wearing pyjamas on stage, was completely soaked right through. In the end Geldof called a halt to the show and the band left the stage without completing their set. Looking After No 1 had just been released at the time and the band were very much in the news and up and coming. They were the first new wave / punk band to appear on Top of the Pops. The next tour, around the time of Rat Trap brought them to the City Hall. A DVD exists of the Hammersmith show from that tour including live performances of the hit singles Looking After No.1, She’s So Modern, Like Clockwork and Rat Trap, along with other Rats favorites such as Joey’s On The Streets Again (very Springsteenish as I recall) and the audience participation number Do The Rat. They toured pretty constantly over the next few years, on the back of a string of single successes, reaching a peak with the great I Don’t Like Mondays in 1979. I loved that single, and recall being very excited about seeing them on tour at that time. They were great in concert, Geldof a ball of energy, and the band really tight. I also saw them at Knebworth on a show with Frank Zappa, The Tubes and Peter Gabriel, where they seemed out of place and performed early on the day, low down on the bill. My last Boomtown Rats experience was at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium, by which point Geldof had become involved in other things and the band was coming to an end. I’ve never been to see Bob Geldof in concert since, although I did see him at Live 8 in Hyde Park. I also went along to see him receive an honorary doctorate from Newcastle University as a ceremony at the Sage Gateshead, which was a different, and interesting experience. I found a setlist from 1979 on the setlist.com site, which reminded me of some of their old tracks
: Blind Date; (I Never Loved) Eva Braun; Neon Heart; Me and Howard Hughes; Don’t Believe What You Read; Like Clockwork; Rat Trap/Kicks/Joey’s On The Street Again; Living in an Island; (She’s Gonna) Do You In; She’s So Modern; Looking After Number 1; Mary of the 4th Form; Do the Rat. Encore: I Don’t Like Mondays. Looking back, they had some pretty great singles. I’d forgotten Like Clockwork, I can picture Geldof tick tocking the intro. Do The Rat always signalled some pretty manic dancing. To summarise my thoughts, the Boomtown Rats were a fun live band, high energy and much more pop than they were punk or new wave. Geldof was amazing on stage, a dynamic front man who truly engaged the audience. For some reason I’d almost forgotten them, or how good they were at the time. I still play stuff by contemporaries the Clash, Jam, Damned and the Pistols, but would never play a Boomtown Rats track. Perhaps that something I should remedy. The Boomtown Rats have reformed, without Geldof, in recent years, and have toured a couple of times. I wonder what they are like these days.