The Rats are back- and with a giant BOOM! Bob and the Rats - Bob Geldof, Pete Briquette, Simon Crowe, Garry Roberts and the very talented Darren Beale, formerly of The Caves absolutely rocked The Marquee on Friday with an explosive set, great graphic backdrops and Bob sporting a sexy snake-skin suit.
(Darren Beale at Isle of Wight)
The crowd was buzzing and there was a good feeling up front as mature men pogo-ed and moshed their hearts out to Rats songs that many had thought they would never hear performed live again. For a band that had not played together for 27 years they were tight and performed their pants off. Geldof gave it his all, at some stages appearing to go off into some other place with the intensity he gave to it. As he acknowledged himself to his devoted crowd, some of the songs could have been written yesterday- so relevant did the lyrics seem to Ireland today. But politics aside, Geldof was the consummate front man. He danced and wriggled his hips in his Jagger-esque style for all he was worth and had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand.
Opening as they had at The Isle Of Wight with 'Eva Braun', he launched straight into the crowd-pleaser 'Like Clockwork', followed by 'Neon Heart' and the fast 'She's Gonna Do You In', causing the crowd to move into frenzied leaping and arms stabbing in the air.
Taking his first chance to talk to his appreciative audience, Geldof railed the state of the US 'Big Brother's Watching You' recent revelations, using it to prepare us well for a good chant to 'Someone's Looking at You' and followed by 'Joey's On the Street Again'. His views upon the Ireland he left well known, he put to the crowd that nothing had changed. With the most recent Bank scandal the crowd were now in his pocket and fell into 'Banana Republic' with the flick of his wrist.
'She's So Modern' transported a good majority of the appreciative crowd, if they weren't already there, to the late 70s as they moshed and shouted out "She's so...1970s!" and the reception that followed when the piano launched into the intro for 'Monday's' was electric. It was a surreal moment when the song you have heard so many times on MTV with the iconic video is played out onstage in front of your own eyes. Geldof's performance was magic holding the crowd with his extended hold on the line "And the lesson today is how-to-die...".
The performance followed with 'Close as You'll Ever Be', 'When the Night Comes' and 'Me and Howard Hughes' and at this stage jumping up and down had become an instant reaction to the increased beat - would we be able to walk tomorrow? Or back to the hotel?
But there was to be no let up. 'Mary of the 4th Form' invigorated the crowd to reach down for new reserves of energy, followed by 'Looking After No.1' and then the arrival of the sax told all that it was time for 'Rat Trap'. As everyone chanted the final "And you've been CAUGHT!' The Rats came together for their applause- the cheering was phenomenal. Leaving the stage the crowd clapped and called, and they returned for an encore with 'Elephant's Graveyard' and 'Diamond Smiles'. Leaving the stage we were happy and exhausted, but no, there was more,and what a finale it proved to be.
Returning for their second encore, the lights took on a house club movement, swirling around the audience. Geldof took the stage and the stage throbbed as he chanted 'The Boomtown Rats!'. Written like a classic club anthem, this had the crowd giving their last ounce of strength for a full on jump-in-the-air session with fists pumping to the chant. Whether written in this style as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek pop to house music, Geldof totally pulled it off and the band then took their final bow.
We left The Marquee happy, sweaty, sore-footed and on cloud nine. We had seen the Rats, reformed after 27 years; they had been tight as if they were playing yesterday, Geldof's interaction with them all on stage had been electric and it had been amazing. We tramped with the rest of the crowd back to town to have a well earned drink and a chat with fellow concert goers identifying themselves by Rats t-shirts and discussed what an all round cracking night it had been.