Well tonight was a momentous night for myself as this was my 200th time of watching them play live in just over 31 years. The ironic part was it only took me just nine years to see the first hundred shows. How apt then was that this tour was called 5×5 which meant they played five tracks from each of the first five albums. What came to my mind was if they were starting out now they would have been dropped by the label after the first album.
Like me the crowd I have to say was made up mainly of 40+ somethings waiting expectantly to hear songs they never thought that would be heard again live. This gig wasn’t for the hits fans though we did hear a few Top 40 tunes during the night. There was no support tonight just two and half hours of Simple Minds blasting out through the speakers. The lights went down at 8pm and the familiar intro of ‘I Travel‘ could be heard and so began this musical journey through their catalogue now being name checked by many young bands of today. Without time for breath it was followed by ‘Thirty Frames A Second‘ and ‘Today I Died‘, all still sounded as fresh as they did over thirty years ago.
‘Calling Your Name‘ and ‘Scar‘ from Real To Real Cacophony sounded extraordinary good tonight creating wonderful soundscapes. You could tell those who hadn’t heard these early records as they looked slightly misplaced. Let’s not detract from the fact the band were tight this evening even though at times the sound did sound slightly distorted. The debut single ‘Life In A Day‘ was next up a song I first heard them play supporting Magazine. This was quickly followed by New Gold Dream’s most underrated song ‘The Hunter And The Hunted‘ which had this hot crowd singing in esctasy.
‘Premonition‘ came of age it seemed as Ged’s bass lines were sublime. The punky sounding ‘Wasteland‘ was played with that great ethic that the band first developed from. The unmistakable synth sound of ‘Love Song‘ whipped up the crowd into hand clap raptures. A big bonus was Charlie playing the violin on ‘Pleasantly Disturbed‘ I certainly wasn’t. It turned into a real anthem tonight. The first half of the set was rounded off with the early tours finale song ‘Room‘. It still could end any night for me seeing them play.
It was just ten minutes later and they were back on stage at this majestic venue recommencing with ‘The American‘ that was performed with great vigor. The sound in the second half of the show certainly sounded alot crisper than earlier which was great when hearing songs like ‘In Trance As Mission‘. By contrast the next song ‘70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall‘ was probably the weakest in the set. Jim and the boys then soon rattled through ‘Celebrate‘, ‘Changeling‘ and ‘Factory‘. These were such an awesome triple helping of energy.
The drums of Mel never sounded better than on ‘This Fear Of Gods‘, especially when the chorus kicked in. The second half was concluded with two hits singles ‘Promised You A Miracle‘ which is still a tame song compared to ‘Someone Somewhere In Summertime‘ that immersed my senses back into the music. The crowd was now totally in tandem with Jim’s hands and vocals. They then disappeared back into the darkness.
The band re-emerged without Jim to launch into ‘Theme For Great Cities‘ great credit has to given to Andy’s keyboard playing and arrangements. It’s was as if Michael had never left. No sooner had the instrumental come to a close that the singer was again fronting the band with a blistering rendition of ‘Someone‘. This was then complimented by fellow album song ‘Chelsea Girl‘, it was about now that my voice was shot. But the band was having none of this as ‘Glittering Prize‘ was echoed around the building. But as all good things must come to a close then it was fitting that my favourite track ‘New Gold Dream‘ ended proceedings and my voice.
In reflection if you missed these shows then you did truly miss something quite special. Most of those who attended the gig left were sporting drenched sweaty bodies which then disappeared outside into the streets of London. I was lucky enough to be invited to go to the after show party. There I mingled with some old friends that included Joe Donnelly (The Silencers) and the band. I did see James Dean Bradfield but didn’t really know what to say to him. It was nice though to shake hands with two legends; John Leckie and Steve Hillage who had produced between them four of these five albums.
Please note the links to these live recordings are recorded by fans and are not official. I have tried to link a recording of this show where possible. If not from a version filmed at another concert on this tour. The Roundhouse show was incidentally recorded as was the Amsterdam one for a possible DVD release in the future. One last thing what was the deliberate mistake at show tonight? Think about it and answer in a comment please!