I saw on the official Simple Minds website this morning that the band was now booking shows for the year end wrapup season and wouldn’t you know, the opening act they are doing four arena dates with are none other than Ultravox. There was a time that I would have been flabbergasted that the once mighty Ultravox would have been reduced to an opening act status, but after their last album, that’s about where they can do the least damage. If anything, having 45 minutes to play would moderate the amount of poor material possible to include in their set off of their last album. Why, I’d even attend one of these gigs if they were being held driving distance away from where I live. I can’t say much more than that. Here are the dates:
Simple Minds/Ultravox ‘Greatest Hits +’ Arena Tour 2013
27 November 2013 | Glasgow | Hydro
28 November 2013 | Manchester | Arena
29 November 2013 | Birmingham | NIA
30 November 2013 | London | O2
This got me musing on a thread that is now gaining critical mass. Namely, the pairing up of long-favorite bands in “combo packs” with two great bands that taste great together. I first noticed this in 2008 when Simple Minds [again!] did a tour with none other than the recently re-activated OMD as the opening act. At the time, I felt that this show was likely to cross the pond, as it was, since both acts had 4-5 US hits each. Touring separately might be dicey, but the 80s bundle could have worked out financially. I felt that it would have been a commercial tour that not just I, but many others would have eaten up, given half the chance. It made a crazy kind of sense in that both acts gained entry to the upper reaches of the US charts via a mid-80s sellout soundtrack hit from a John Hughes teen film. Alas, the tour only ever played in the UK that summer.
OMD/JOHN FOXX + THE MATHS ‘English Electric’ UK tour 2013
28 April 2013 | Margate | Winter Gardens
29 April 2013 | Birmingham | Symphony Hall
1 May 2013 | Nottingham | Royal Centre
2 May 2013 | Ipswich | Regent Theatre
3 May 2013 | London | Roundhouse
5 May 2013 | Bristol | Colston Hall
6 May 2013 | Oxford | New Theatre
8 May 2013 | Sheffield | City Hall
9 May 2013 | Leeds | Academy
10 May 2013 | Manchester | Academy
12 May 2013 | Glasgow | Royal Concert Hall
13 May 2013 | Gateshead | Sage
14 May 2013 | Liverpool | Empire
I’ve writhed/written earlier about the imminent OMD/John Foxx + The Maths UK tour. The OMD forum is rife with pained Americans desperately wanting the tour to cross the pinned, but it’s not to be. It look like OMD have settled on some sort of one-man Erasure to pull opening act honors in The States. That’s just as well. I can imagine that seeing a Maths show truncated to 35 minutes after all of these years might count as some sort of torture to me! It’s not just that John Foxx has been my favorite artist, but it’s the caliber of work he’s doing right now. Frankly, it is best of breed work that not only blows away the efforts of the competition [OMD – middle-upper echelon with caveats, Simple Minds – middle echelon, Ultravox – lowest eschelon] but I find it stands as a career best. Name another 66 year old you can confidently state that about.
The next tour I guess we’ll see is John Foxx + The Maths opening up for Simple Minds. Goodness knows that Jim Kerr is a fan of Foxx, but did you know that Foxx was a fan of Simple Minds? With the mutual appreciation society established, don’t think it may never happen. Kerr’s head has been in a good space in the last several years and he’s trying to trim the sails of the SS Simple Minds to the best of his ability. But if they do, Kerr will have to watch his back. Foxx is a heavyweight contender. In this matrix of band teamups there’s also the possibility of an OMD/Ultravox pairing. I can’t think of a reason not to. But the last possibility is so remote we might as well stop here. There is no way in hell we’ll ever see John Foxx + The Maths on a bill with Ultravox!!
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