All good things must come to an end, and akin to a splendid novel, the Hay Festival concluded with an electrifying pinnacle: a full-length concert by Bob Geldof and his punk rock band The Boomtown Rats at the Nishagandhi Amphitheatre.
As mentioned before, after the church service and armed with piping hot vazhakka appam (banana slices dipped in batter and fried), we turned up at the virtually empty Amphitheatre at around 1745 (something of a shock since I am more used to seeing queues materialise a good 2-3 hours before a concert- or more in the case of King’s chapel- and definitely expected a flood of humans). But this gave us the advantage of choosing our seats (in the roofed pavilion, around 50 m away from the stage), fending off attacks by mosquitoes, and observing the gathering rain clouds which soon precipitated into a steady drizzle accompanied by distant thunder. We did fear that the rain might play spoilsport… and it was like waiting for Godot…
...and at around 20 minutes past seven, the concert commenced under the starlit skies (and dazzling lights). The opening numbers (‘The Great Song of Indifference’ and ‘Love or Something’) got the crowd into the groove (the magic touch of punk rock amalgamated with Celtic folk) and the band gave their absolute everything (and more) despite the tepid response (when compared to what happens in Hyde Park or RAH- didn’t the crowd know anything about Geldof?). Later, Geldof introduced the band and we all sang a ‘Happy Birthday’ to the percussionist. And we jived to more songs, including ‘I don’t like Mondays’.
As might be expected, in typical Keralite style, chunks of the crowd left the amphitheatre during the concert. But when the band returned for the encore, they had with them a surprise visitor- Sting himself- and an ensuing duet ‘Everyone needs a hole to fill’! Turned out that he and his family, upon hearing that Geldof was in Trivandrum, flew over.
And we returned home quite high and have been spending some time reliving the night thanks to the videos which we captured.