Album review: THE BOOMTOWN RATS – Live Germany ’78

THE BOOMTOWN RATS - Live, Germany '78

Gonzo Mulitmedia [Release date 07.08.15]

A bit like a Roman candle, the Boomtown Rats burned brightly for a short period, spewing out several excellent albums before just as quickly fading and fizzling out.

This particular ‘gig’ was for the TV cameras of the German music show Der Musikladen presumably around July/August 1978 as The Rats finished up promoting their eponymous debut album and released the follow up A Tonic For The Troops.

The setlist therefore majors on their first album featuring eight of the ten tracks, supplemented by ‘She’s So Modern’ (the lead single from TFTT), ‘Don’t Believe What You Read’ from the same album and a number of B-sides.  With hindsight, the biggest omission is ‘Rat Trap’, although at the time no one had twigged to its potential as a hit single.

The cabaret seating style for the studio audience isn’t particularly conducive to creating an atmosphere but the Rats nevertheless give a storming performance underlining just what a tight band they were.  But it’s Geldof’s rabid, Jagger inspired, performance – all arms, legs, contortions and spittle that captivates.  Wide eyed and manic, even then he knew a thing or two about manipulation.

Being made for TV, it’s an edited version of their full live set, running out at around 50 minutes, but you do get two bonus songs – ‘Banana Republic’ and ‘House On Fire’ from when the band returned to the show in 1980 and 1982.

What’s rather nice with this DVD/CD package is the inclusion of a copy of the band’s Contract Rider for their 1978 European Tour.  There’s no great surprises although the dietary requirements of fresh salads, cold meats, cheeses, french breads and butter, fresh fruit and a cheesecake aren’t very rock ‘n’ roll.

Thankfully, it’s balanced by the drinks requirements which included half a bottle of Tequila, one third of a bottle of Bacardi, half a bottle of Scotch, and 48 cans of iced lager.  Now that’s more like it!  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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