Bob Geldof sets Hay fest stage on fire

Thiruvananthapuram: Irish songwriter, musician and political activist Bob Geldof set the Week Hay Festival in Kerala on fire in an hour-long concert with his rock `n` roll band Boomtown Rats bringing the curtains down on the three-day carnival of literature.

The founder of the Live Aid concert for the starving in Africa wowed the audience with classics spanning more than three decades.

Geldof had performed in India for the first time with his band 32 years ago in 1978 with his band in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

He was joined by fellow rocker Sting, who flew in from Mumbai in the evening, in a classic rock track ‘Everyone`s Got a Home To Fill’.

"I flew to Thiruvananthapuram to see Bob. It was a high point of my life performing the number with him," Sting told reporters.

Dressed casually in white cottons, the musician warmed up to the spirit of the concert as he watched Geldof and his band perform old favourites from the Rat`s repertoire.

Sting said "he had performed with Geldof many times, and it was always a pleasure to watch him perform".

Geldof, who believes that rock `n` roll music reflects the rage of his generation against all that was going wrong in the world, belted out old favourites like the "Banana Republic", a song decrying atrocities allegedly perpetrated against children.

The track with its powerful lyrics and high voltage guitar play and percussion back-up brought the crowd on to its feet at the packed ampi-theatre of the Kanakakunnu Palace, the venue of the festival here.

Geldof followed it up with the Rat`s signature track, ‘I don`t Like Mondays’.

The poignant moment of the concert was the rendition of track ‘Scream in Vain’ which the musician composed in a hut in northern Ethiopia in Africa, where he has been campaigning for the victims of famine.

"I write the song in Africa in the mid-Nineties. It was not a good phase in my life...I wrote down a few odd words. Later, we composed it into a full song. The track is slightly weird," Geldof said.

IANS

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