The energy and passion of Bob is hard to beat. In such auspicious surroundings I wondered what the night would bring. ‘I’m gonna play you some tunes from 36 years ago, 15 years ago, five years ago and last month’. He shouted out to the reverent audience – a home crowd of the sort that didn’t just hail from the locality – London – but from those who appreciate a bit of eloquence, wit and substance with their music.
The gig progressed … and progressed. Bob, or should I say Sir Bob, was having so much fun – it was infectious. Pete was on bass and the harmonising in the band was a beautiful thing. Rat Trap brought the house down – everyone on their feet dancing, literally in the aisles. He told us what had inspired ‘Banana Republic’ and it almost brought a tear to my eye reminding me of the country I grew up in that I love so much.
I think it was in the second encore that Bob introduced a special guest from the original Boomtown Rats – none other than Gerry Cott. When I complimented Gerry later on the ease and professionalism with which he had taken the stage he told me that he hadn’t played for 30 years. Sunglasses intact, with even a bit of rocking out of the old skool variety – he joined a band that were a class act.
After a rousing third encore my friends departed and I found myself at the afterparty wedged in next to the wall and a couple I had spotted earlier. J told me he was a friend and indeed onetime pupil of Bob’s drummer – ‘Oh yes, he’s by far the best looking in the band’ I exclaimed. ‘That’s my boyfriend!’ Carly said. We laughed as I noticed a familiar face in the crowd. Given that Bill Wyman and Roger Taylor were there I was reluctant to make the fatal error of introducing myself to said face in case he actually was ‘somebody’ rather than a blast from my past. ‘What do you think I should do, J?’ ‘Go for it – he’s coming this way – look!’
‘We know each other, don’t we?! I think you were in a band with my friend’s boyfriend, Andy once?’ ‘Um, no, I don’t think so, but I can be if you want me to!’ He turned to J: ‘Was Roger Taylor here tonight? He was, wasn’t he? I don’t believe it – I was sitting right next to him all night and I didn’t recognise him’. ‘He’s still here’ J replied – ‘I think I just saw him go up the stairs’. ‘C’mon’ said my new acquaintance Rob’.
No sign of Roger. Outside, as Rob rolled up a cigarette, Bill appeared. ‘I don’t believe it, it’s Bill Wyman, I’ve gotta get an autograph!’ Rob pulled out his Live Aid book and rushed over. I offered to take a photo: Bill was the perfect gent and acquiesced.
We went back inside. ‘Has anyone seen Roger Taylor?’ Rob called out to no one in particular. ‘I can’t believe I missed him!’ He introduced me to his friend Hamish and we talked GoGo music and Chuck Brown; it brought me right back to Washington DC days.
‘I’d like to say thanks to the main man’ I said, ‘Then, I’ve got to go’. Sir B was surrounded by people, looking dapper in peaked cap and a double breasted jacket with a nod to the nautical. Our eyes met briefly whereupon I expressed my delight at the gig and told him my friend G had invited me. ‘You mean G has friends?!’ he exclaimed in resonant deep Irish tones, smiling. I smiled back and turned to find Rob surrounded by people and chatting to an ex girlfriend of Pete Doherty’s. ‘Was you before Kate Moss, or after her?’ he asked undiplomatically. She turned on her heel as I called after her: ‘Don’t mind him! Let me take a picture of you with Bob’. She kissed him on the cheek as I pointed and shooted and then she was off with a swish of her long blonde locks.
I said goodnight to Hamish, Rob, J, Jim and Carly and despite stepping out into a rainy autumnal night, felt inspired and energised as only you can when humanity, warmth and passion are to the fore.