This is a guest post from photographer Julie Finley.
I was extremely surprised and happy to learn that Simple Minds were going to be performing live in my region, but I was even more surprised that Simple Minds were touring North America. From what I understand, their tours of both the United States and Canada have been very few and far between during this century (a sprinkle of dates here and there since 2000), but the last time they were in Ohio was in 1995. That is a good 23-year stretch devoid of their presence.
In fact, Jim Kerr remarked about it. He said something along the lines of “We thought you may have forgotten about us,” and showed the audience his sincere gratitude more than once. How could we forget? By the looks of attendance, we all clearly abided by Kerr’s crooning when he sang “Don’t You Forget About Me!” We didn’t forget.
I absolutely would like to show gratitude towards the group for getting their show started at 7:45 p.m.! I have rarely have attended a show wherein the performers clearly respected the fact that their audience probably has to get up and go to work the next day, and got the show going at a very reasonable hour. The early start time also had to accommodate what was about to unfold, which was a two-hour plus performance! They basically performed two full live sets, and did the smart thing, by having a quick 15-minute intermission in between, because, well, I think they realize that they have gotten older, and so have their audience. As a fan, I thought that was considerate, and it didn’t go unnoticed. Plus, if they are playing for over two hours, we (as the audience) are clearly getting our money’s worth. It was both quality and quantity.
Simple Minds are also doing the natural thing and touring with their latest (and rather excellent} album, A Walk Between Worlds, released earlier this year, but they aren’t stupid; they know that they have to give the audience what they’ve been longing for. They kept the songs off of the new album to a minimum, but I liked the way they’d lead the audience into it.
Jim Kerr is very talkative and comical onstage and builds a great rapport with his audience. He’s self-deprecating and amusing, and when they would be gearing up to do a new song, he would ask the audience things like “Can we please do a new one? It’s really good, I promise!” They opened the show with a new one, “The Signal and the Noise,” and also performed the title track, and “Sense of Discovery.”
The bulk of the material performed was from my favorite album of theirs, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), and they graced us with “Glittering Prize” (with a funny anecdote from Kerr about how on the plane ride over, a woman recognized him and said “Hey, you’re that guy from that band… Simply Red, right?” and the audience broke out in laughter. He then said that she claimed to have liked “Glittering Prize,” and he dedicated that to her. I also recall hearing “Promised You a Miracle,” “Hunter and the Hunted,” the exquisite “Someone Somewhere in Summertime,” and before their encore (yes, on top of two setlists, they did a three-song encore), they did the title track, “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).”
A real highlight (for me) was when they did “Love Song” off of the 1981 release (and my second favorite album of theirs), Sons and Fascination / Sister Feelings Call. That was the song I had truly been hoping to get to see live, and they delivered, and it was everything that I hoped for. Such a kick-ass tune! They also appropriately performed “The American” and when they came back out for the second set, they led into it with the instrumental track “Theme for Great Cities.” This was the moment of the show that truly gave the band members some time to shine, and I just have to say that Charlie Burchill is a vastly underrated guitarist! I am glad to see that he is still in the band, still “Alive & Kicking” (pun intended).
Of course, they definitely performed “Alive & Kicking” (during the encore), but also did a few other essentials off of the Once Upon a Time record, like “All the Things She Said” (and yes, all vocals that were originally provided by the incredible Robin Clark, were handled equally as superbly by Sarah Brown); and they also did their classic “Sanctify Yourself” (also during the encore).
I do remember (although I cannot remember the entire setlist) hearing a few other crucial ones performed like “Up on the Catwalk” and “Waterfront” from 1984’s Sparkle in the Rain, and various other ones like “See the Lights” (from Real Life), “She’s A River” (from Good News From the Next World), “Dolphins” (from Black and White) and a cover of “Dirty Old Town” originally by Ewan MacColl. Oh yes, and how can I forget, they definitely did their quintessential classic, “Don’t You Forget About Me” which, of course, everyone went wild for (even some of the elderly ushers at the venue were dancing around, which would be a first I have ever seen in the years I’ve been attending concerts that actually have ushers working the show).
Overall, it was a fantastic show, and I am very pleased I finally got to see them live, as this was a first for me, but sadly will probably be the last (I hope not). If you get a chance, go see them, as who knows if they will ever embark on a lengthy tour such as this again.
One more thing, since Jim Kerr is such a chatty old chap. He joked about knowing a “local girl” that he had just spoken with yesterday, that goes by the name of Chrissie Hynde (his ex-wife). He said she sends her regards then continued to jest a bit with quips like “I think she misses me a little bit… she still says I’m the best kisser!”
Remaining dates on this tour:
03-Nov: Toyota Music Factory Dallas (Irving), TX
04-Nov: Revention Music Center Houston, TX
06-Nov: Saenger Theatre New Orleans, LA
08-Nov: The Fillmore- Gleason Theater Miami, FL
09-Nov: Mahaffey Theater St. Petersburg, FL
11-Nov: Hard Rock Live Orlando, FL