46664 Concert Articles & Reviews

Life In A Day
Real To Real Cacophony
Empires & Dance
Sons & Fascination
New Gold Dream
Sparkle In The Rain
Once Upon A Time
Live In The City Of Light
Hollywood Rock Festival
Nelson Mandela Concert
Street Fighting Years
Themes (Volumes 1-4)
Real Life
Glittering Prize 81/92
Good News The Next World
Neon Lights
The Best Of Simple Minds
Early Gold
Alive & Kicking Tour 2003
Summer Tour 2004
Silver Box
Black & White 050505
46664 Concert
30 Years Live Tour
Graffiti Soul


Scots super group simple minds were the first act to agree to play a concert in 1988 to free Nelson Mandela. A string of big-name bands had refused as it was a controversial issue but after the minds signed up, dozens of others joined them. On Friday the band starred in the former South African president's 90th birthday party at Hyde Park. Today singer Jim Kerr writes about his relationship with Mandela.

'Sunday Mail' - 29th June 2008 (UK)

I FIRST became aware of Nelson Mandela after hearing the song Free Nelson Mandela written by The Specials' Jerry Dammer - that really focused it for me.

So it's a classic case of when people say "Does music matter?", it does.

In this case, it got the message home. As a band, we were starting to tour the world and examine more of what was going on.

In the early days, we had a following in South Africa in Cape Town and Johannesburg but we couldn't play there - so we wanted to find out why.

If I can describe the mood of Jerry...he's a low-key guy.Hecame up to our manager's office in Edinburgh with members of Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

He had a defeated look about him. He had tried to get a couple of big-name acts to play a concert for Mandela - who was still incarcerated in Robben Island - and they hadn't been willing to take part.

This was just a couple of years after Live Aid. Jerry had hit a wall. He'd gone to see Madonna play at Wembley and began asking merchandisers, roadies and production staff who'd be a good act to get on board for a Mandela show. Time and time again he was told - Simple Minds.

We listened to what he had to say and it only took us minutes to throw our hat into the ring. At that time Mandela was a political hot potato and some people regarded him as a terrorist. They said: 'Why are you trying to free him?' We didn't have any worries about that.

We'd been used to having it a wee bit rough because the previous year we had campaigned for Amnesty International.

Their creed was they only supported non-violent protests. But I was convinced - as many other people were - that in South Africa the ANC had tried a non-violent approach for years and had got nowhere.

In fact, their leaders were getting locked up. It wasn't the Live Aid thing where there was no argument against famine and starving children with swollen bellies.

We got it in the neck from Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who called us 'pure scum'. That was par for the course.

It's interesting to now think of Mandela the man...because for almost three decades he was a myth. He was incarcerated.

You'd barely even seen a picture of him.
And the only one published was from years previously. So it was really interesting to see the flesh-and-blood Mandela.

When I saw him being released, head held high - that symbolic march where he seemed unbowed - it was amazing.

Watching him through the years, it's been very hard to detect any bitterness.

He's had incredible dignity.

We wrote the song Mandela Day for that Wembley Stadium show in 1988. Last week we were rehearsing it with the Soweto Gospel Choir - to perform on Friday - and hearing their voices was amazing.

Guitarist Charlie Burchill and I looked at each other and thought...this is just perfect. It struck me how at the time it was written we were anticipating Mandela one day being free. We felt there was a real momentum which couldn't be stopped.

I vividly remember Mandela appearing at Wembley in the concert which was staged after he'd left Robben Island.

There was an incredible excitement when he appeared in one of the stadium's stands. It was clear the times had changed.

Now, if I walk for 20 minutes from my hotel in London to Trafalgar Square, there's a statue of him. So much for somebody who was seen as a terrorist.

Mandela has had incredible impact as a political leader, a peacemaker and a figurehead. He's also everybody's favourite grandpappy...from Naomi Campbell to The Spice Girls. The music at the concert reflects that, judging by the diversity of acts who took part.

Last week I met members of his family and they said: 'You're the guy who sings that song.' It was a very humbling moment.



46664 concert, hyde park, london PREVIEW



Simple Minds have been added to the line up for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert. Frontman Jim Kerr says the band are honoured to be part of the event in London’s Hyde Park on June 27 - 20 years after they took part in the Free Nelson Mandela concert in the same city.

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years after opposing apartheid in South Africa. After his release in 1990, he successfully campaigned against apartheid and became the country’s President.

Kerr told Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper: “For us, it’s really, really special because it’s 20 years to the day when we took part in a concert at Wembley Stadium.

“It was in very different circumstances. Mandela was very much a mysterious man imprisoned on Robben Island. I will never forget how good he made us feel on his release in 1990, when he told a room full of different artists that when no voice was allowed, he would somehow always hear the voice of the artists.”

The line-up for the spectacular concert also includes Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Annie Lennox, Queen, Razorlight, Sugababes and possibly Eminem.

The event will raise money for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign, which raises awareness about AIDS in Africa and across the globe.

The campaign is named after Mandela’s prison number from the time he spent in jail on Robben Island. In keeping with the theme, 46,664 tickets will go on sale on Friday (09.05.08).



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