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John Meagher's loaded

Paul Simon's sold-out July 12 concert at Dublin's O2 looks set to be one of the gigs of the year as the veteran singer -- with a little help from South African collective Ladysmith Black Mambazo -- will be playing his seminal 1986 album, Graceland, in its entirety.

A milestone release, it ushered in a far greater appreciation for so-called world music, especially that made in Africa, and the prospect of hearing the material live is mouth-watering.

Until then -- and especially for those who were unable to get tickets for the show -- there's an opportunity to feast on a 25th-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking album.

Besides the newly remastered original album, there are six bonus tracks including two previously unreleased songs.

But what makes this edition so appealing is the bonus DVD featuring the full-length documentary Under African Skies, which shows how the songwriter defied a UN cultural boycott to work in South Africa to record the album in 1985.

Joe Berlinger's absorbing film features footage from the original recording sessions as well as his 2011 return to a very different South Africa for a quarter-century anniversary concert.

QDublin gets in on the festival fever act this bank holiday weekend with the second instalment of the Forbidden Fruit festival in the picturesque gardens of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

There's plenty to enjoy over the weekend, not least rising electro-pop Canadian Grimes, who plays the Undergrowth Stage at (the uncommonly early hour of) 3.15pm on Sunday.

Balkan music-inspired Americans Beirut will be on the Original Stage at 6.30pm on Monday and Mazzy Star will play the Undergrowth Stage on the Monday at 8.15pm.

Among the more mainstream acts, I'll be hoping to catch Leftfield (Original Stage, Saturday, 9.15pm) and New Order (Original Stage, Sunday, 9.15pm).

Bank holiday Monday will conclude to the sound of Wilco -- the band who helped put the "alt" into alt-country. Should be a good one. Tickets are still available and start from €49.50 for single days. See www.forbiddenfruit.ie.

QThose of us who predicted that the live dates from the newly reformed Stone Roses might be far from impressive may have to eat our poisoned words.

The much-adored Mancunians played their first show in 16 years last week in the parochial surrounds of Parr Hall, in Warrington, UK, and the gig's reviews have been simply ecstatic.

"This was one of those rare gigs where the audience even bellowed out the bass lines and guitar riffs," noted The Guardian's music critic.

Meanwhile, The Mirror concluded that the gig was "a near-flawless set", adding that it was "delivered with the same effortlessly cool swagger that made the band icons of their generation".

QBob Geldof has been reflecting on how his activism hampered his music career. The Boomtown Rats man -- who played Dublin's Vicar Street a fortnight ago -- told London's Evening Standard that it would have been "criminally irresponsible" of him not to hold Live Aid and set up Band Aid but insisted that they came at a price to his own career.

"It's completely damaged my ability to do the thing I love," he said this week.

"If it hadn't happened, I think I would have been able to make the transition from The Boomtown Rats to a solo thing more like Paul Weller or Sting."

The Dubliner also refused to accept the interviewer's compliment that he was an icon, a la Paul McCartney.

"I'm not a national treasure, and have no desire to be."

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