Bob Geldof celebrates love and life in Islington
The concert was attended by around 200 people who swung to eighties’ hits with the glee of lost youth and the eclectic mix of squeamish philanthropy and childish nostalgia. To a mainly middle-aged crowd, Geldof sang old and new songs, revisiting a past decorated with sporadic successes such as Rat Trap and I Don’t Like Mondays, which both hit No.1 in the UK charts in the late 70s with former band The Boomtown Rats. His somewhat December-centric Do They Know It’s Christmas? is still one of the best-selling singles of all time.
His musical style has evolved from Lookin’ After No.1 on his first album in 1977 to a more optimistic rebirth of the concept of love: “Life without love – absurdity!/ Life without love – futility”. The verse sounds like a complacent return to a softer side of his personality he rediscovered in his 2011 album, How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell. Even the title denotes a slight cynicism towards the music market after his darker Sex, Age and Death, released ten years earlier, when he seemed to abandon hope in those same values he enshrines today. Rather than choosing the raw, futile compositions of the past, Geldof seems to have taken the low road through the valley of resigning himself to enjoying the present reality of things in his personal life.
“My 50s have been my happiest decade,” he said, “I never imagined that could be the case but it’s true. The emotional wars subside. The battle for ideas has been won or lost.”
It’s a far cry from the years of Band Aid he founded in 1984 with Midge Ure to raise money to help those affected by the Ethiopian famine. Especially when the funds collected from the Live Aid concert a year later and Live 8 a decade after have been said to be used to buy weapons for the Ethiopian rebel groups, information denied by Geldof.
Overall Geldof proves he knows how to rock a show, and even if some might think his fund-raising events are just another way to brand himself, fans will answer that Geldof always will remain a rock icon.
The editorial unit
Listen to Sir Bob talk to his audience here