Simple Minds moved on up to Belfast’s Waterfront last night on their extensive UK Acoustic tour. Playing under a glittering chandelier Simple Minds had the usual ‘up for it’ Belfast crowd going from the start with an energetic ‘New Gold Dream’. Lead singer Jim Kerr weaved through the fans closest to the stage teasing them and playfully lifts a man’s cap from his head.
The seated Waterfront audience rose to their feet for a joyous Stand by Love and older classics from their back catalogue including Mandela Day, Glittering Prize and a superb Chelsea Girl from debut album Life in a Day. Jim Kerr might be in his 50’s but he has still got it as he tirelessly moved around every inch of the stage asking the crowd to – “Let me see your hands” as the Belfast fans rose to their feet again for a brilliant version of Waterfront.
I like the big bombastic sound of Simple Minds so I was intrigued how Simple Minds acoustic would translate to a live show; Jim Kerr said; “it’s not our natural environment.” A few songs in I realised it works very well. Simple Minds can still get a big sound out of acoustic guitars and wonderful percussion from Cherisse Osei – It’s MTV Unplugged on steroids. In between songs Jim Kerr stopped to banter with the crowd telling anecdotes explaining why they decided to go down the acoustic route – It was all about the money and chocolate Toblerone’s for guitarist Charlie Burchill apparently.
Jim Kerr introduced his old pal Gordy to take over the microphone to sing a cover of David Bowie’s Andy Warhol. He is followed by backing vocalist Sarah Brown to sing a fantastic version of Let the Day Begin from Simple Minds previous album Big Music while Jim Kerr takes a well-earned breather. Simple Minds briefly leave the stage but quickly return as Jim remarks “We were just warming up” as they launched into live staple Don’t You (Forget About Me) and everyone sings along with the “la-la-la-la las.”
Support act and fellow Scot KT Tunstall joined the band for Promised You a Miracle and a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s classic For What It’s Worth. Jim Kerr promises to return to Belfast only next time the band will bring their electric guitars and synthesisers as the band launched into a triumphant finale of Alive and Kicking. Surprisingly Simple Minds did not play their biggest hit the number one record Belfast Child in the city it was written about but that did not take away from such an epic occasion. Wonderful!