Bob Geldof - Charter Theatre, Preston
If you’d closed your eyes, you could have imagined yourself at a ceilidh. Eyes open, it would have been no surprise to see Michael Flatley Riverdance across the stage.
Instead it was Bob Geldof’s head of tousled white hair nodding to the stomping rhythms of The Song of Great Indifference – a great wake-up call at the beginning of a lively evening.
It was, I have to admit, one of only two songs I recognised during the performance, and thanks only to a Google search the day before. The other, I Don’t Like Mondays – well, even I could sing along with that.
Clearly I’m not what you would call a great fan of Bob and, even though I gave him a chance, he failed to convince – so thank goodness for the great backing musicians.
His quirky voice has its charm; distinctive and warm but, sadly, ragged around the edges due to what he described as a ‘death rattle’ contracted during a visit to Finland. Was that why he appeared to be finishing off his dinner in between the vocals, or was it just over-enthusiastic gnawing on a cough toffee?
Either way, you can’t knock his performance; there was bags of energy beneath his shiny suit and, despite the lack of chord changes, he played his guitar with gusto. And there were lots of songs the audience – definitely fans – knew, and they sang all the words.
Only twice did he lapse into political mode, condemning the Northern Ireland atrocities and making a passing (five or six minutes) reference to something called Live Aid…
But let’s end on a positive note, the fabulous fiddle and mandolin player who turned up, like a true gent, in his best grey suit. Clearly he has been rushing when he dressed, however, because he forgot his shirt. Great string vest though – which we got to see more of as the evening progressed.