The Boomtown Rats: Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen – live review

The Boomtown Rats
Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen
10th November 2013

Words: Sally Morrison
Pics: Dod Morrison

This was the last night of The Boomtown Rats’  reunion tour, promoting the release of their album compilations and new EP. Having not played with this line up for 27 years expectations were high. We had Bob Geldof on vocals, Pete Briquette on bass, Simon Crowe on drums and Garry Roberts on guitar, plus a couple of newbie’s.

The venue wasn’t sold out and there was definitely a higher than average age range compared with other music gigs from the same era. The support act played bland covers and we hoped this wasn’t the way the evening was going.

After quite a surreal Pedigree Chum advert, the band were introduced by a film showing images of rats along with photos of band members as they were then and are now. The actual band came bounding onto the stage glistening with attitude. Geldof was wearing a snakeskin suit and had crazy white hair. He started working the crowd straight away and quickly got people clapping and cheering. He moved all over the stage gesturing wildly, spinning and dancing, often leaning out over the crowd.

During ‘Like Clockwork’ Geldof started to play the tambourine. The whole band seemed to be really into the music and enjoying it. When ‘(She’s Gonna) Do You In’ started we got treated to some harmonica playing, complete with a playoff against the guitarist, both of them on their knees.

In one break between songs Geldof yelled “You are Aberdeen on a Sunday night, and I can’t understand a fucking word you are saying!” This brought a massive cheer from the crowd! He carried on saying that their songs could have been written today, nothing has changed and that the songs are still just as relevant.

In between songs Geldof would regale us with tales from back in the day. We heard about a kid called Joey who used to go to their gigs in the early days and disappeared for ‘Joey’s On the Street Again’. We also heard about when they got banned from playing in Ireland, so instead they wrote a song which ended up becoming a hit single all over the world – ‘Banana Republic’. This was followed up with ‘She’s So Modern’.

‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ was obviously a hit, and it was especially amusing when the band paused in middle of it whilst the crowd tried to work out when to keep singing! This was followed up with the rockier song ‘Close As You’ll Ever Be’; ‘Rat Trap’ went down a treat too.

The band was begged by the audience for an encore and they didn’t disappoint – we got two! Thanks were said to all musicians, the crew and anyone who helped with the tour. This was meant to be the last tour they’ll do, and it’s a shame if that is the case.

This was one hell of a ride; energetic, fun and great music. As one punter said on their way out “that was one of the best gigs of the year”. Hear hear!

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  1. The local paper was NOT IMPRESSED BY THIS.


  2. The Boomtown Rats were banned from Ireland for writing Banana Republic, not the other way round. The song is about the corrupt Govt of the time.

    Got to agree with the review though, saw them at Manchester Academy a couple of weeks back and they really brought the house down


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