odessy arena 6TH DECEMBER 2008
www.amuze.me - 7th December 2008 (UK)
The highly anticipated Simple Minds '30 Years
Live' tour climaxed last night in Belfast's
Odyssey arena. Although it wasn’t billed
as a double headliner tour having Deacon Blue
as the special guests made it a very special
night for all. In one of the first gigs I
have seen that the hall has been filled prior
to the support it promised to be a night to
It is not quite
30 years for Deacon Blue. The band haven’t
been around as long as Simple Minds having
been formed by Ricky Ross in 1985. Since then
Deacon Blue have racked up a string of hit
releases including 'Chocolate Girl' and 'Fergus
Sings the Blues'. We first saw the band live
in Belfast’s Ulster Hall in 1994 and
it was a gig that sticks in my mind for not
only the brilliant musical performance but
also the entertaining musings from lead singer
The band split
later that year but performed a number of
reunion gigs in the late 90s while Ricky's
solo career flourished. In 1999 the band officially
reformed, on what I think is fair to describe
as a part time basis releasing 'Homesick'
and 'Singles'. They quickly demonstrated their
performance was set to be better than ever,
and it was!
It is not often
the first band on stage can enthuse and whip
up an audience frenzy, generally they play
to half empty venues and barely gain the attention
of those who are there. Deacon Blue were a
very different affair, from the outset they
had the audience gripped. I actually got the
impression there were people around us had
bought tickets on the back of knowing Deacon
Blue were playing. No one was disappointed.
was spectacular, Deacon Blue didn’t
have the elaborate lighting rig of Simple
Minds but this band didn’t need it.
The audience were on their feet for the majority
of the performance and visibly erupted at
classics such as 'When will you (make my phone
ring)'. Ross described 'Fergus Sings the Blues'
and the second Scottish National Anthem and
he was as funny as ever complimenting the
Belfast crowd and then quipping 'If you believe
this sort of bullshit you are in for a great
night' Deacon Blue were flawless in my mind,
it was audible time travel it is over fourteen
years since I first heard the band live they
are every bit as good, if not better than
how I remember the Ulster Hall.
The set climaxed
with 'Dignity' and I wish they could have
played for longer. If the night had ended
here few would have been disappointed. Lets
hope Deacon Blue are back in Belfast soon
headlining their own show !!
There was now
a buzz of energy from the audience. Everyone
waited with anticipation of how Simple Minds
were ever going to match the performance of
their special guests. It was clear Simple
Minds were going to up the anti the second
they took to the stage with one of the most
spectacular light shows we have seen in the
Odyssey. Not the pyrotechnic explosions of
Nickelback but a well executed, visually stunning
were formed back in 1978 at a time when many
of audience, if they were born at all were
in primary school. That said Jim Kerr appeared
remarkably youthful. In fact the members of
both bands appear to have aged better than
I have! Kicking off with a brilliant performance
of 'Waterfront' the energy didn't ebb for
a second during the full set. Unlike other
bands of late there was a great level of audience
interaction. A local hotel received a bit
of a dig for not having Mars Bars in the mini
bar and Jim Kerr congratulated the brilliant
St George's Market proclaiming "I could
were treated to all the greats, Ghost Dancing
one of the first songs I ever played on guitar
was injected with an audience lead chorus
of Gloria. Charlie Burchill, (who I kind of
think looks a little like Jim Rockford ?)
was mesmerising on guitar. His remarkable
performance looked almost effortless. I have
always associated Charlie's style with that
of the Edge but a bit more of a rock edge
with breathtaking guitar solos not so often
seen with U2. The attractive red Gretsch that
appeared on stage was the envy of every guitarist
were just as loud in their reactions at the
end of each song as the band themselves. The
atmosphere was electric, and unlike some gigs,
not a single pint of beer thrown. The entire
event was quite an experience, it is hard
to think of a band who are going to match
the enjoyment of this double headline event.
the last night in the 30 Years live tour.
Simple Minds have had only two nights off
since 27th November and despite this they
still excelled on the last night of the tour.
Nearly four hours of solid music climaxed
with an encore featuring an obvious version
Belfast Child. Music has changed so much during
the 30 years spanning Simple Minds career
and in many ways bands of this standard are
becoming less common. Simple Minds and Deacon
Blue represent a golden era in music and the
gig was payed credit to this. I really don't
think anyone in the audience of even those
on stage for that matter really wanted the
night to end. I have a feeling I will be talking
about this show for many years to come!
SECC 4TH DECEMBER 2008
www.theskinny.co.uk - 15th December 2008 (UK)
The band is Glasgow's own Simple Minds. The
album they're playing live tonight is the
seminal New Gold Dream. The King is Creosote,
and he's in the crowd.
I was once a
huge Simple Minds fan. When I first heard
them on TOTP playing Promised You a Miracle,
I tittered "daft band name", but
after hearing Glittering Prize some months
later, I went straight out to buy New Gold
Dream on tape. I loved it, daft band tittered
or not. I bought all their 12" singles
that a dishwashing job could afford, and much
too excited to sleep I managed first in line
to buy Sparkle In The Rain on its day of release
('sokay tho' - I soon caught up on the Zs
during side two). Don't You Forget About Me
became our sixth year high school swansong,
In Trance As Mission got me off the accordion
and onto the electric bass and thus into my
first band, and Alive and Kicking brought
a welcome spark to my dark days in Pollock
Halls. By the time of their Ibrox show in
'86, however, I was equally keen to hear support
act Lloyd Cole. Once Upon a Time and the follow
up Street Fighting Years I was ruefully happy
to sell at a car boot sale in 1993 for a quid
each. We'd fallen out, the Minds and I.
This past year,
however, I've been digging out those early
Minds 12" singles to deejay with, and
in September there, with a customised hits
collection on my ipod, I was tramping across
the singing sands on the island of Eigg urging
all and sundry to look out beyond the white
horses to Rhum with Waterfront blasting from
my headphones into their ears. Reconciliatory
job done and we're wary friends again.
Waterfront that gallops off the starting blocks
and into the packed stalls of the SECC, and
lordy does it sound immense! I Travel, Love
Song and The American form a triple barrage
of authentic and instantly recognisable bassline
hooks, battering-ram drums and anthemic synths,
while New Gold Dream is played in its entirety
like it was recorded just last month. Jim
Kerr sings like he hasn't had a night off
in 30 years, Charlie Burchill hits some wild
jazz notes every 30 or so bars, and did someone
hit the transpose key? Who cares! They're
all grinning and we're all grinning, waving
arms, up on chairs and dancing in the aisles.
The older songs sound as fresh and urgent
as they did back in the day, and the newer
ones sound far better than I remember them.
It feels somewhat
churlish to deduct a star for Mel Gaynor's
cover of Chelsea Girl when Speed Your Love
to Me is what the set needed, but after two
hours of belting out 'hit hit hit hidits'
and 'la la-la-la las', I am back to being
a huge Simple Minds fan. Hoarse though.
SECC 4TH DECEMBER 2008
Pollock , The Scotsman - 6th December
This show couldn't have worked so well anywhere
else but Glasgow. Jim Kerr noted as much when
he recalled telling the band before this tour
even started that "Glasgow will be the
one", although he had to make deferential
noises about Edinburgh given that Simple Minds
have just announced a show at the Castle next
Touring in celebration
of their 30th year of live performance, the
band rolled through a definitive greatest-hits
set which also included a full, front-to-back
performance of their most critically acclaimed
album, 1982's New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).
Although only a third of the album (Someone,
Somewhere in Summertime, Promised You a Miracle
and Glittering Prize) will have felt familiar
to the casual fan, hearing it in its squalling,
vaguely post-punk entirety was a reminder
of just how important and credible a band
Simple Minds seemed at the time, and of how
their best work deserves to endure.
Of course, the
following years have brought highs and lows,
from the effortless stadium pop excellence
of Sanctify Yourself and Don't You (Forget
About Me), to the laboured pomposity of Belfast
Child and Ghost Dancing.
Far more than
a nostalgia trip, this felt like ten thousand
people celebrating music which has truly meant
something to them all their lives.
radio arena, newcastle 3rd DECEMBER 2008
Kidd, Evening Chronicle - 4th December
Being in the 40 to 50-year-old bracket is
not a bad age to be music wise!
Those of us
who benefit from this ‘experience’
remember the halcyon days of the 80s as if
it were just around the corner.
group Simple Minds returned to Newcastle last
night playing to a packed Arena of predominantly
40-plus-year-olds, everyone of whom stood
for the two-and-a-half hour set at this "30
years in the business" tour.
Wow, what a
night, and how refreshing to be among an audience
all of my own age rocking, singing, reminiscing!
Jim Kerr, the
Glaswegian lead singer, didn't need much effort
to connect with his audience as the band played
the whole of the seminal New Gold Dream album
along with their vast array of hits over the
With few words
he had us 'there' from the moment he opened
with Waterfront to the Celtic overtones of
Belfast Child (from 1989’s Street Fighting
Years) which announced the "end"
of the gig (the few who left the Arena early
thinking they could get a head start on the
car park missed a truly awesome return to
stage for the encore, including Sanctify Yourself).
What makes Simple
Minds such a creative and energetic force
all these years later? Well Jim Kerr’s
stage presence, the band’s connectivity
with the audience, the fabulously simple set
– lights, music and of course those
instrumental, long acoustic overtones encouraging
us all to relive our own Simple Minds journey!
Kerr may sing
Don’t You Forget About Me - but there’s
little fear of that. Simple Minds? More like
INTERNATIONAL ARENA 2ND DECEMBER 2008
Woolway, South Wales Echo - 4th December
If there was a value-for-money award in these
tight economic times then Simple Minds and
Deacon Blue should win it.
Two of the biggest
hitters of the '80s combined for a nostalgic
treat - and for the price of a single ticket
- with a superb evening of contrasts.
had a succession of chart hits at their disposal
but they also produced arguably one of the
decade's best and most under-rated albums
in Raintown; a must for anyone's CD collection.
that album's title track, Ricky Ross and Co's
understated Celtic soul provided an excellent
contrast to the powerful stadium-honed rock
of Simple Minds, their charms best illustrated
when the wonderful When Will You (Make My
Telephone Ring) segued beautifully into a
cover of Paul McCartney’s My Love.
With the feel-good
vibe already set headliners Simple Minds strode
on to the unmistakable bass-intro of Waterfront
which quickly got the crowd on their feet
and they stayed there for the entire two-hour
on keyboards and synthesizers, Charlie Burchill's
guitar struggled to cut through the mix initially,
but the situation was quickly resolved as
he competed with the powerful drumming of
Mel Gaynor, a loud and very prominent feature.
a stunning light show raged and silhouetted
against it at the front of the stage was the
charismatic Jim Kerr, a man in fine form.
combined for impressive versions of Promised
You A Miracle, Up On The Catwalk and crowd
favourite Don't You Forget About Me.
are celebrating 30 years in the business and
have a new album due in early 2009. On this
kind of form, producing a memorable evening,
it should be eagerly anticipated.
They are very
much Alive And Kicking.
out of 5)
arena 1st DECEMBER 2008
Dunn , The Star - 2nd December 2008
It's a fine line between nostalgia and validity
in a word obsessed with the next big thing.
Singer Jim Kerr
would argue his band are very attached to
the latter but it was for the former that
parts of a larger than expected crowd turned
out to catch the Scots' return in classic
formation, fuelled by their 30th anniversary
with the focus on New Gold Dream, arguably
their defining album.
The Minds almost
set that up for a fall by belting out some
of their biggest hits before it - the whopper
Waterfront opening a show that swiftly reeled
off Speed Your Love To Me and the heavily
dated by context Mandela Day before the pop
with wilfully stylistic twists and turns arrived.
With the bounding
brilliance of Love Song came a reference to
one of Kerr's earliest such gigs at West Street's
old Limit club.
further compounded the potency of that era
when the band was evolving from new wave to
embrace electro aspects marked by such songs
as Ghost Dancing and the U2 wannabe See The
of New Gold Dream remain crucially of their
time but somehow timeless the inexplicably
popular Belfast Child sounds dated (and still
terrible). To slip into that from the massive
Don't You Forget About Me confirmed nothing
if not SM's versatility.
WEMBLEY ARENA 29TH NOVEMBER 2008
Hurst , www.glasswerk.co.uk - 5th December
As the end track of the ‘Once Upon a
Time’ album suggests - ‘Come Along
Way.’ Listening to the wide spread of
music that is played tonight you’d be
inclined to agree. 31 years together, and
this the 30th anniversary of playing live
- Simple Minds have collected together a vast
array of easily identifiable tunes from the
very late 70s to present day. The majority
of the hits may come from the 80’s but
that should by no means play down the changes
the band went through in the years that followed.
Both singles played tonight from the ‘Good
News From the Next World’ album (Hypnotized
& She’s a River) are both instantly
recognizable and come with riffs that are
With Scot fellows
Deacon Blue serving up more than enough warmth
and vibe to get the crowd ready performing
some of their own identifiable tracks, Simple
Minds come to the stage full of vigor. Jim
Kerr and Charlie Burchill in particular soak
up the atmosphere instantly and for the first
few songs play to an adoring crowd (Not to
mention a large group of press in the pit
at the front). Kerr makes it perfectly clear
that he is not shy about posing, and is here
to entertain. Although there is a new album
- tonight is to service the past accomplishments.
And starting off in bombastic style with ‘Waterfront’
is an apt way to begin.
evening the band find time to visit the entire
‘New Gold Dream 81, 82, 83, 84”
album. Burchill excels himself throughout
the night and puts great emphasis on some
of the albums B-Sides. ‘Somebody Up
There Likes You,’ the instrumental number
from NGD is a pure highlight. But its moments
like these that define Burchill as what he
is, a truly great guitarist and showman.
himself very well for the first half of the
show, perhaps finding some of the lesser played
numbers harder to keep momentum with later
on. But when they reach the crescendo tune
‘Belfast Child’ he picks up again.
He comes back even stronger after the short
break to perform ‘She’s a River,’
‘Sanctified’ and finally ‘Alive
were beats maybe missed (The last two tunes
were the only stops off in the ‘Once
Upon a Time Album’ and the ‘Real
Life’ album didn’t get much of
a look in) the show still lasted two hours
and was brimmed with energy and even the odd
delight (Like when drummer Mel Gaynor took
over vocals on a song, giving Kerr a run for
his money). But with them all pushing 50,
it’s great to see that they can kick
many of today’s acts off a stage with
NEC 28TH NOVEMBER 2008
Rob Tanner, www.birminhammail.net
- 1st December 2008 (UK)
Simple Minds were one of the iconic and important
bands of the 1980s with such anthems as Alive
and Kicking, Don't You (Forget About Me) and
their only number one Belfast Child.
But they struggled
to recapture those heights during the 1990s
and after the turn of the Millennium.
from the ageing but enthusiastic crowd at
the NEC, they haven't been forgotten and from
the moment the unmistakable intro to 'Waterfront'
kicked off the show and lead singer Jim Kerr
bounced onto stage, memories of their sell-out
stadium tours came flooding back.
show was one of six special concerts designed
to celebrate the band's 30 years in music
ahead of the release of a new album in the
new year. It's difficult to understand why
Kerr and Co had not enjoyed the lengthy success
around the album Kerr believes was one of
their most important, New Gold Dream, hits
such as Promised You A Miracle, Someone and
Mandela Day delighted the crowd.
'Don't you forget
about me' Kerr crooned, and the Birmingham
crowd certainly hadn’t.
NEC 28TH NOVEMBER 2008
- 29th November 2008 (UK)
It may have been 30 years since they first
got together, but Simple Minds are still very
much Alive and Kicking.
rockers brought their 30th anniversary tour
to the West Midlands last night and whipped
the crowd into a frenzy from start to finish.
It was a trip
down memory lane for all things 80s and all
things north of the border as fellow Glaswegians,
Deacon Blue, provided a fantastic warm-up
to the main event, delivering such classics
as Real Gone Kid and Dignity.
When it was
time for Jim Kerr and Co to take centre stage,
the enthusiastic audience did not need telling
to get out of their seats.
The band opened
with Waterfront and then took the crowd on
a musical journey spanning the past three
all the tracks from their early 80s album
New Gold Dream as well as uptempo classics
Up on the Catwalk, Don't You (Forget About
Me) and All The Things She Said.
Kerr, who is
approaching his 50th birthday, gave a sterling
performance as he bounced across the stage
like a 20-something. And when he stood still,
for probably the first time all night, it
was to deliver an amazing heartfelt vocal
performance of Belfast Child.
the show with a track which can be interpreted
as a defiant statement from a band that has
been producing hits for 30 years and still
going strong - Alive and Kicking.
ARENA 27TH NOVEMBER 2008
The Guardian - 1st December 2008 (UK)
Simple Minds' fanbase divides into two camps:
the purists (including dance acts and Manic
Street Preachers) in awe of the electro-rock
the band pioneered between 1979-82, and those
who down five pints of lager and wobble around
during Alive and Kicking. After being ignored
in recent years, the purists are getting their
reward on this 30th anniversary tour. Following
the opener, Waterfront, the arena is turned
into an underground club with 1981's pulsating
Love Song, then, from 1979, Factory and Chelsea
Girl, their rarely heard debut single.
At least purists
and wobblers alike can agree that 1982's New
Gold Dream album is a shimmering masterpiece,
as tonight it is performed in its entirety
for the first time. Someone, Somewhere in
Summertime is a waltz through a mythical August
haze. Promised You a Miracle and Glittering
Prize are showcases of early-1980s optimism
("everything is possible"), now
with a wistful edge. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
in some ways invented rave, while a terrific
Big Sleep is all minimal electronic pulses
and cries of: "We were only young."
Even frontman Jim Kerr, so often a stadium
ham, seems humbled, as if trying to figure
out how these electroscapes, which reflected
Europe's rebirth after totalitarianism, somehow
gave way to Sanctify Yourself, their 1986
And yet, once
the album is over, the magic fades, as happened
in their career. As fists begin to pump the
air for Don't You (Forget About Me), the wobblers
Minds rock on after 30 great years
- 21st July 2008 (UK)
Simple Minds head out on the road later this
year to celebrate their 30th anniversary,
including a gig at Birmingham’s NEC
But while singer
Jim Kerr can look back on massive gigs in
front of tens of thousands of fans, it’s
some of the smaller venues from the early
days that stick in his mind.
Aid, the Mandela concert, they stand out but
sometimes the best ones were the backwoods
of wherever, where you just got a feeling
that ‘This is happening’,”
he says with his Glaswegian burr.
playing JB’s in Dudley in 1979. I remember
the first time coming to the Odeon in Birmingham,
supporting Magazine, and thinking ‘It’s
a huge venue’, and then the Wolverhampton
The early years
were notable for an experimental, electronic
style, with Kerr referencing influences such
as Lou Reed, Roxy Music and Peter Gabriel.
we still have our roots tied to that,”
He also mentions
the influence of “Boy”. At first
I’m confused and think he is referring
to the 1980 debut album from U2.
In fact it’s
the only time during our conversation that
his Scottish accent wrong-foots me... he is
actually referring to one “David Boy”,
creator of 70s classics such as The Jean Jeanie,
Ziggy Stardust and Life on Mars!
appearance at Birmingham NEC on Friday, November
28, will see them performing their breakthrough
album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) in its
entirety, as well as a collection of their
greatest hits and some rarely-played earlier
New Gold Dream,
which Kerr has described as the band’s
most creative album, featured the hit singles
Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize and
Someone, Somewhere in Summertime.
The group went
on to score a string of top 20 hits, including
Don’t You (Forget About Me), Alive And
Kicking, She’s A River and their only
UK number one, Belfast Child.
With 15 studio
albums (including five number ones) under
their belts, and a new one on the way, it’s
a good time for Simple Minds to look back
at an extensive body of work.
Kerr says: “We’ll
be taking a trip through everything, something
from every period. It’s always a tricky
one keeping the different types of fans happy
and including the obvious ones and the ones
they’re expecting to hear.”
When asked about
Simple Minds’ place in music history,
he replies: “It’s a wee bit overwhelming.
We’re just happy to have made music
for 30 years, I’m really delighted with
and foremost we’ve always seen ourselves
as a live band. Crucial to a great live performance
“Great live bands have that added energy,
not just jumping around, but something more.”