Bob Geldof invites 'hero of the homeless' Glen Hansard to join him on stage at Rock Against Homelessness
Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats led a host of stars at the annual Rock Against Homelessness gig in the Olympia on Friday night.
A thousand people were out of their seats as the punk rockers belted out former chart topper Rat Trap.
"I'm wearing a plastic f*** off leopard skin suit," shouted Geldof, joking that the audience might have thought he was Brian Ferry.
As expected, he didn't hold back from speaking out passionately against homelessness in Ireland and against corruption in the world.
The crowd roared their approval when he invited The Strypes to join in their performance, hailing them as the greatest new band to come out of Ireland.
And he declared Glen Hansard "a hero of the homeless" before inviting him to join him for Rat Trap.
When Geldof had asked Hansard backstage earlier if he would join him singing the song, a delighted Hansard was overheard to reply "It's in my DNA."
The Rats had electrified the crowd and the concert ended on the highest of highs.
Geldof said afterwards he was "really glad to have been a part of this concert tonight."
Bressie, whose band The Blizzards revved up the crowd with a high octane performance before the Rats came on stage, said afterwards "Our job was to keep the crowd going for the headline act. The Boomtown Rats were amazing and Geldof is such a punk. It was brilliant to watch him. I have so much to learn from him."
"Bob said a lot about homelessness. The reason the problem hasn't been solved is because of bureaucracy. It's not because it can't be worked out.
"That's the same with every social issue we have in this country. If they prioritise social issues, then we can fix them.
"But they are not prioritising them. They are not top of the list. That includes homelessness, mental illness, right across the board. It's time to start putting people first again.
"It's important to recognise from addiction, to mental health, to homelessness, it's time to start putting people first," said Bressie.
"It was truly a brilliant event. Well done and congratulations to everyone who made it possible," Stephen Rae, editor in chief of Independent News and Media, sponsors of the fundraising concert for Focus Ireland, said afterwards.
All proceeds of the event will go to Focus Ireland for its battle against the country's homelessness crisis.
Katherine Lynch and Al Porter acted as hosts for the night.
"I live in Temple Bar so I see the underbelly of the homeless crisis every night. No one wants to tell their grandchildren in 20 years time that apathy resulted in people ignoring the problem due to a lack of compassion and commitment," Kathrine told Independent.ie.
Focus Ireland communications officer Michelle Moran said the concert helped to shine a light on homlessness.
"There are now 2,407 children have nowhere to call home in Ireland. It is truly shocking that last month one child became homeless every five hours in Dublin alone," she said.
"This is unacceptable and wrong and our staff are working every single day with families and individuals to help them overcome the terrible impact being homeless has on them.
"In such a crisis, events like Rock Against Homelessness help put a spotlight on the issue and raise vital funds for our services to support people who have lost their homes and to prevent people on the brink of homelessness losing their homes.”
A moving moment during the concert came when singer Danny Bracken's rendition of Dublin In the Rare Old TImes, accompanied by Paul Brady on guitar and Dave Fleming on double bass. Almost a thousand voices in every tier of the theatre shared the chorus.
Bracken, a 59-year-old father of three, had been homeless for more than a year and had lived in three different hostels in Dublin before securing an apartment home with the help of Crosscare.
He said later "I was terrified before going on stage but I'm on a high now. It was great being on stage with Paul and Dave. They were brilliant to offer to accompany me."
"Being homeless is tough. But there is help out there and I'm very grateful for all the support I got," said the former butcher and construction worker who has suffered from ill-health.
Paul Brady said "Danny is a marvellous performer. I was delighted to support such a vital cause."