Rock veterans Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill are on top form in this live double-album release from Simple Minds. Live albums and decent live albums at that can be challenging to pull off. ‘Live in the City of Angels’ – 25 tracks recorded at the Orpheum Theatre in LA last October is a solid offering from the Glaswegians.
At this stage in their careers, I don’t think the band is going to bring in many new fans with this release, but with the ardent following that Simple Minds possess, I’m sure they would be completely fine with that. The gratitude flowing from the stage to their audience is very evident throughout this performance. Kerr reinforces this when introducing the 1981 track, ‘Love Song’, “There’s a lot of people here tonight that go way, way back with Simple Minds. This one’s for you.”
The setlist contains a sprinkling of tracks from across four decades, albeit with one or two questionable choices in there such as a cover of The Pogues ‘Dirty Old Town’, originally featured as a bonus track on the 2018 ‘Walk Between Worlds‘ album. However, the energy in the performance from founding members, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill is undeniable. This is evident right from the opener with Burchill’s soaring guitar and Kerr’s easy swagger on the ‘The Signal and the Noise’.
Great to see five tracks featured from the seminal ‘New Gold Dream’ album, including ‘Glittering Prize’ – the lone track on the album recorded at The Fillmore, Miami Beach during their record-breaking 2018 US tour. To be honest, I was disappointed not to see ‘Belfast Child’ nor any of the tracks from the ‘Street Fighting Years’ album for that matter included in the set. ‘Book of Brilliant Things’, another stand-out song from the 1987 ‘Live in the City of Light’ album, does not feature either, although it does appear as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the album.
Playing live is where Simple Minds made their mark on music and where they are most at ease. ‘Someone, Somewhere in Summertime’ in my opinion is the song that epitomizes this fact more than any other. An ever-present, fan-favorite on any Simple Minds set, it has a magical yearning about it, with Burchill and his sublime guitar chords, the chief architect. The version on this album does not disappoint. A flurry of encore tracks from the 1985 album ‘Once Upon a Time’ completes the performance.
Not a lot of surprises in this release, but an energetic snapshot from a very memorable American tour. With a major UK & European tour booked for 2020 and a new studio album earmarked for 2021, Kerr and Burchill clearly have plenty left in the tank, aiming to clock up a few more miles on the road, doing what they and their fans love best.