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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Honest Bob rains feeling on audience
Bob Geldof
Geldof opened Cardiff's ambitious world music fest

He didn't like the weather, he wasn't impressed with the size of the audience and he had a stinking cold.

It was not an auspicious start to Bob Geldof's appearance in Cardiff as the opening act of the city's first Worldport Festival, a five-day event aimed at celebrating music from around the globe.

Bob Geldof appearing on Parkinson in 2001
Bob's suit had an earlier outing on Parkinson

But he is not called Saint Bob for nothing.

By the end of the evening, all doubts and reservations had been cast aside - actually, more like demolished - by the man's music, honesty and - despite a natty, loose-fitting pinstripe suit - his implacably dishevelled charm.

Little more than 200 people had turned out through the rain to see him at the city's Coal Exchange, a venue with a capacity for four times that number.

But as his two previous Welsh gigs were sold out, perhaps that says more about the publicity arranged for a festival which has still to acquire a reputation to match its ambitions.

He said: "I had more people turn out at my daughter's sports day - and she's only five." And: "We were popular in Switzerland!"

Bob Geldof
Crowd control: Geldof shrugged off a cold and rain to grab the audience

It was only after we'd all shrugged off the size of the turnout that we learnt his raw, bludgeoning opener - just him on unaccompanied guitar - had been as much to kick-start a performance out of himself as the evening.

The weather probably hadn't brought on his "flu" but, hey, we were in Wales, so it was raining. Natch.

Such frankness of feeling was to be a theme of the evening, perhaps reflecting his latest album, Sex, Age and Death, which tackles some of the human suffering which has beset him and his family over the past few years.

It meant those who had braved the summer drizzle were treated to what seemed an almost personal performance of his music from Boomtown Rats' hits, I Don't Like Mondays and Rattrap, through his wider blues-Irish folk offerings and on to Sex Age and Death.

One-man mission

His voice has lost none of its raucous penetration - he did not try to cut any corners on "Mondays" high notes - which brought a physical power to his Sex Age and Death three-in-a-row, including the angry Inside Your Head.

Geldof may still have his work cut out on the one-man mission we have given him to save the entire planet.

But the world is certainly a better place for his efforts to start the Worldport Festival on a rainy Tuesday night in Cardiff.

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30 Jun 02 | Wales
02 Jul 02 | UK Politics
29 Jan 02 | Entertainment
28 Jan 02 | Entertainment
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