This picture was right before we left the house for the show and I was giddy with excitement and nerves and anxiety. I've probably had a similar look since last Saturday when I found out that Bob Geldof was playing SXSW. I flipped out in the biggest way. He is my hero. But I'll get to all that in a minute. I began this frenzied, panicked attempt to ensure that I would get to see him. I mean, it's Bob freakin' Geldof, I couldn't just see where he was playing and plan to waltz up to the door. I needed a game plan. Tom started emailing the organizers of the event. I even hit up my friend who is a well known musician and has connections. I never hit her up for tickets, I just don't like to, but this was different. But here's the thing I haven't mentioned. The show was FREE, first-come-first-served. After begging my friend to get me in to this show she texted me back to tell me that her manager probably can't do better than "free." My point in telling all of this is to explain how desperate I was to ensure I got into this show. He was to play at 6:15 so I planned to get there at around noon. Hopefully that would do it. Another part of my plan: don't tell a soul that this was happening. I didn't want any more competition. Tom started to post it on Facebook before the shrill "Nooooooooo!" escaped my lips.
So, here's how the day DID go down. We arrived at Jovitas - did I mention that the show was at a fairly small mexican food restaurant? Anyway, we arrived at 11:45 to an empty parking lot, empty restaurant. All I was thinking was, okay, I can breathe. I'm in. What happened between now and 7:45 when he actually went on was a large amount of drama over whether this was even going to happen due to some code violations regarding the makeshift parking lot stage, the restaurant, exit plans, and more. But that did all work itself out while Tom eavesdropped and I tried to hold my shit together. But regardless of that, where were the people? No one was really showing up. I did find out that there was a small bit in the paper about the show being cancelled due to all these violations, but it was small, and who reads the paper? Was it that? Was it the apparent crappy event organizer (I had it on good authority that he was an idiot)? Or was it that now, in 2011, no one knows who he is? I've been thinking about that so much the last two days. How can this man who I have adored and admired and been inspired by for 25 years be non existant to this generation? HOW, how can that be?
The show was indescribable. It was everything. I know there was a real chance of disappointment. When you love someone for that long you run the real risk of being let down. But I wasn't. If anything it made me love him more. He sounded amazing, the band was incredible, he was passionate - he was even passionate while sining "I Don't Like Mondays." I always feel sad for bands/singers who have to sing that one song that they are known for over and over. But he sang it like it was the first time. It was gut wrenchingly beautiful. So the good thing about finding out that no one knows who your hero is anymore, is that you get a front row seat. I was literally leaning on the stage. My hands were inches from his feet. It was the best possible experience I could have had seeing him.
When I was 13-14 years old I discovered Bob Geldof. It was around that time that the whole Band Aid thing happened and then Live Aid. Here was this man who saw one of those starving-children-in-Africa commercials over dinner and decided to actually do something. In his words "I refused to watch one more child die in my living room." I was 14, I was easily influenced and impressionable and he made an impression that stuck. I followed his career, bought his music, read his book, felt sad for his personal drama, dreamed of seeing him but never ever thought I would. Back in 2005 I was in Canada while Live 8 was going on. We were on the opposite side of the Canada show and I still thought I was as close to Bob as I would ever be.
And now I've seen him. I am left with the warm fuzzies of it all, but also with the shock that there were probably less than 200 people at this show and I guarantee that a good part of those had no idea who he was. How does the lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, the founder of Band Aid, writer of "Do They Know it's Christmas", the organizer of Live Aid, and then Live 8, the man knighted by the Queen become forgotten? And in this tabloid obsessed nation there's the over-the-top drama of his personal life surrounding his ex Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence. Which brings up my added admiration of him for fighting to gain custody of his ex wife's love child with Hutchence so that she could grow up with her half sisters. But I digress. How has he disappeared from our minds? It makes me so, so very sad.
So people, do me a favor. #1. Play good music for your kids. Shoot, just have music on in the house. Turn off the tv and turn on the stereo. #2. go buy "How to Compose Popular Songs that Will Sell". It's Bob's new CD and it is wonderfully romantic. "Dazzled by You" is painfully beautiful. #3. Grab your computer and watch some old Live Aid clips (here, here, or here), watch the Band Aid video - it was such an incredible moment in time, both musically and as a socially conscience people and then consider that this all happened because of this man. #4 check out this little interview with Bob from just a few days ago during SXSW. I think it's a pretty good snippet into who he is.
It's taken me two days to write this post. I felt this huge weight to "get it right" and say it in a way that didn't sound like some star struck teenager. I don't get star struck. I've been lucky enough to get to see some great artists over the years but I'm never like the nutty Beatles fan screaming like a banshee. So I really hope this doesn't come off that way. More than anything I don't want this profound life to be lost in the hustle and bustle of it all.
"If you don't set out to make your own future
If you don't set out to create your own world
Then you're just there at the behest of everyone else
Just being whacked around in the flotsam and jetsam of history"
- Sir Bob Geldof