The much delayed 40 Years of Hits tour by Simple Minds finally arrived in Brighton last night. As the name suggested, we knew that we were about to hear the best of the band’s fruitful career. The band didn’t need a support act on this occasion; they decided to entertain us with a two-hour show divided into two sets.
Simple Minds appeared on stage at 8 pm sharp, encouraged by the standing ovations, the journey was about to begin. They opened with “Act of Love”, followed by “I Travel”, which transformed the venue into a huge dance floor; it didn’t make much difference that it was a seated show. People were tapping their feet and waving their hands in the rhythm of this 80s number. Just when we thought it couldn’t get better than “Glittering Prize” and “Promised You a Miracle”, they played “Book of Brilliant Things”, for which the mesmerising Sarah Brown joined Jim.
“Up On the Catwalk” and “Love Song” were another two numbers that stirred up the crowd before they played one of my favourite Simple Minds songs, “Belfast Child”. The song’s message is as relevant today as on the day it was written, and Jim knows it all too well. Although he noted that they didn’t play it often, I believe that they definitely should, as its performance was probably the highest moment of the entire show. Jim delivered the song with such sensibility and emotion that it almost brought me to tears.
His vocal performance throughout the show was spot on, and his voice defies time; he sounds as fresh and inspired as he sounded back in the 80s and 90s, and this was the perfect opportunity to remind us of what a brilliant singer he is. Charlie Burchill’s guitar sounded like magic, too; his recognisable style is such an integral part of the Simple Minds sound that one can not mistake it for any other. We could only watch him in awe as he played some of the most magnificent solos.
The second set started with the phenomenal 80s instrumental “Theme For Great Cities”, followed by the powerful beats of “Waterfront”. As Jim said, they were just warming up, and indeed, they saved their biggest hits for the second set, including “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. By the time they played “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)”, people were dancing in every corner of the venue like it was a disco. Although the tour had practically just started, the band was so well-rehearsed, and we could tell that they were finally eager to play for their loving fans. They put on such an exceptional show, both musically and visually.
Although they didn’t need crazy stage gimmicks, they were supported by the video wall and the light show, making the performance even more enjoyable. Jim still has the wits and moves that came naturally to him; he owned the stage and had a great commandment of the crowd. I was impressed that he still had the same energy and stamina as decades ago; his voice was flawless, but his charisma and charm were very much present.
We must not forget Cherisse Osei, who was hitting those drums with precision and glamour; rarely do we see a female drummer, and she is a worthy successor to Mel Gaynor. Last but not least, there were Ged Grimes on bass guitar, Berenice Scott on keyboards and Gordy Goudie on acoustic and electric rhythm guitar, who delivered a top-notch performance.
As expected, the band took a short break and returned for the encore, for which they saved an acoustic version of “Speed Your Love to Me”, “Alive and Kicking”, and “Sanctify Yourself”. After this performance, we were indeed alive and kicking. We could only wish them to continue, but we had to let the band rest for the next stop on what will undoubtedly become a memorable tour.
Set 1: 1. Act of Love, 2. I Travel 3. Celebrate, 4. Glittering Prize, 5. Promised You a Miracle, 6. Book of Brilliant Trees, 7. Up On the Catwalk, 8. Hunter and the Hunted, 9. Love Song, 10. Belfast Child, 11. The Walls Came Down (The Call cover)
Set 2: 12. Theme For Great Cities, 13. Waterfront, 14. She’s a River, 15. Dolphins, 16. Once Upon a Time, 17. Someone Somewhere in Summertime, 18. See the Lights, 19. All the Things She Said, 20. Don’t You (Forget About Me), 21. Let It All Come Down, 22. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Encore: 23. Speed Your Love to Me, 24. Alive and Kicking, 25. Sanctify Yourself
INTERVIEW: Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr on new single ‘Act of Love’, the band’s very first performance & more. Listen here.