Bob Geldof, Norwich

JOHN LAWSON The mind-blowing irrelevance of today's so-called pop stars is brought into sharp focus by spending a night in the presence of a genuine rock god.

JOHN LAWSON

The mind-blowing irrelevance of today's so-called pop stars is brought into sharp focus by spending a night in the presence of a genuine rock god.

Bob Geldof might not have released any new material in a decade before the arrival of Sex, Age and Death after which his year-long global odyssey was named.

Quite how Norwich came to be the final night of that tour is anyone's guess but it was the Fine City's gain and the rest of the world's loss as Geldof proved he is still right at the peak of his powers with a set of almost three hours of virtuoso song-writing and musicianship.

Lifting off with one of the two big hits of his solo career, The Great Song of Indifference, deep from the heart of his Dun Laoghaire folk roots, and by way of some deeply autobiographical – not to say emotionally painful – numbers from his new album, he led the Theatre Royal audience into a foot-stamping frenzy of nostalgia with the great Boomtown Rats anthems I Don't Like Mondays, Diamond Smiles, Rat Trap and my own particular favourite, Mary of the Fourth Form.

And the between-songs chat proved he is as socially pained as ever by the injustices he finds on his travels across the world and remains as personally committed as ever to doing whatever he can to make a difference.

Most Read

It could be argued that Live Aid was a double-edged sword for Geldof. The global hugeness of it swamped the Rats' quality last album (from which he played the great track Dave).

They split up barely a year later and Geldof headed off into solo projects and a business career.

But, while some of his absence from the music scene has been dictated by his tragic personal circumstances and his devotion as a father, it is a sad loss to the mainstream music scene that he isn't on our radios day in and day out.

Sex, Age and Death could, and really should, be a turning point on that score.

Inside Your Head and the magnum opus Mudslide, in particular, are the sort of songs to grace any body of work.

But radio play notwithstanding, we do at least have the prospect of seeing Geldof doing what he does and loves best, fronting a band of quite stunning quality – keeping real music live.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter