Simple Minds @ Birmingham O2 Academy – Saturday 11th April 2015


Review and photos by Rich Ward

Simple Minds have embarked upon a tour that reads like an early 80s schedule. Rather than a five or six date tour taking in the huge arenas of the major cities of the UK they have opted on a gruelling 29 date tour, which interestingly bypasses the capital completely and makes tonight’s show at the Academy the second largest on the tour.

Eschewing the need for a support allows the band to play two sets with a short interval giving fans a real bang for their buck. And most people have got the message as Jim Kerr leads the band onto stage to an already packed house for an early 8.00 start.

Simple Minds
Simple Minds

They open with ‘Let The Day Begin’; a cover of the late 80s track by The Call which features on their new album. Live, this works so much better bringing out all the vibrancy in the song that wasn’t evident with the questionable production on new album Big Music. Another new one in ‘Blindfolded’ keeps the pace moving up and receives a good reaction, but it’s not until ‘Glittering Prize’ kicks in that the crowd really make some noise. After another couple of classics, there’s an acoustic medley of ‘The American’ and ‘Home’ which features Catherine Davies upfront alongside Kerr. The momentum is maintained to the end of the first set with the downstairs dancing from front to back and singing all the words back to the stage throughout.

The second set kicks off with Sarah Brown taking over vocal duties for ‘White Hot Day’ / ‘Book Of Brilliant Things’. Cutting quite a striking figure in a zebra print dress, and her hair almost as big as her voice; it’s a stunning performance that sends shivers down the spine. This is also helped by an excellent sound in the Academy tonight, and along with a great lighting it’s refreshing to see that bands such as Simple Minds still take such care in the detail to put on a show that is as captivating visually as it is sonically.

Simple Minds
Simple Minds

While the second half contains a number of obvious classics, it’s new track ‘Midnight Walking’ and the less obvious ‘Let It All Come Down’ that stand out for me, and in particular it’s Charlie Burchill’s guitar playing on the latter; his slide work as the song reached its conclusion was nothing short of magnificent.

As the band comes back out for the encore, Jim Kerr seems genuinely humble when he announces ‘we’d like to play some more songs for you, is that ok?’ This was never going to receive anything but a rapturous response, and in return we were treated to ‘Liason’, a curve ball in the cover of The Doors’ ‘Riders On The Storm’ and an obligatory sing a long of ‘Alive And Kicking’ uniting band and audience as one in  a fitting end to a superb show.

Set one:
1. Let The Day Begin
2. Blindfolded
3. Glittering Prize
4. I Travel
5. New Gold Dream
6. American / Home medley
7. Real Life
8. Honest Town
9. Love Song
10. Rivers Of Ice
11. Dolphins
12. Waterfront
13. Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Set Two:
14. White Hot Day
15. Book Of Brilliant Things
16. East At Easter
17. Once Upon A Time
18. All The Things She Said
19. Let There Be Love
20. Let It All Come Down
21. Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime
22. Midnight Walking
23. Big Music
24. Sanctify Yourself

25. Liason
26. Riders On The Storm
27. Alive And Kicking

See more of Rich’s photos from the show here


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