Rock G.P.A.: Simple Minds [part 25]

simple-minds-live-96

Shoulder pads ahoy! Simple Minds ca. 1986 in all of their glory.

In 1986, Simple Minds had broken almost completely with their past as they parlayed a fluke hit single into an attempt to see how big they could take this. Material earlier than “New Gold Dream” was treated like an embarrassing family member with an extra chromosome who had been kept locked up in the basement. The band, no slouches to extensive touring, worked that action like the fiends that they were. They played on Saturday Night Live when Madonna hosted. Over a one year period ending at the end of 1986, the band had given 150 shows. Here’s the list:

  1. Huston Civic Centre, Poughkeepsie, USA
  2. Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, USA
  3. Radio City Music Hall, New York, USA
  4. Constitution Hall, Washington, USA
  5. Civic Centre, Providence, USA
  6. Wang Performing Arts Centre, Boston, USA
  7. Maurice Richard Arena, Montreal, Canada
  8. Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada
  9. State College Ice Arena, Buffalo, USA
  10. Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, USA
  11. Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, USA
  12. Oriental Theatre, Milwaukee, USA
  13. Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, USA
  14. Queen Elizabeth Hall, Vancouver, Canada
  15. Paramount Theatre, Seattle, USA
  16. Arlene Schnitzer Hall, Portland, USA
  17. Henry J Kaiser Auditorium, Oakland, USA
  18. Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, USA
  19. Ahoy Sportpalies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  20. Ahoy Sportpalies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  21. Ahoy Sportpalies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  22. Palais Des Sports, Lyon, France
  23. Parc Des Expositions, Avignon, France
  24. Palais Des Sports, Toulon, France
  25. La Patinoire Meriadec, Bordeaux, France
  26. Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
  27. Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
  28. Brielpoort, Deinze, Belgium
  29. Brielpoort, Deinze, Belgium
  30. Parc Des Expositions, Caen, France
  31. Parc De Penfield, Brest, France
  32. Halle De La Beaujoire, Nantes, France
  33. Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany
  34. Philipshalle, Dusseldorf, Germany
  35. Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany
  36. Stadthalle, Heidelberg, Germany
  37. Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany
  38. Deutschelandhalle, Berlin, Germany
  39. Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg, Germany
  40. Drammenshalle, Drammen, Norway
  41. Scandanavium, Goteborg, Sweden
  42. Johanneshov Isstadion, Stockholm, Sweden
  43. Valbyhallen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  44. Valbyhallen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  45. Eilendriedehalle, Hannover, Germany
  46. Sporthalle, Stuttgard-Boblingen, Germany
  47. Hallenstadion, Zurich, Switzerland
  48. Palasport, Bologna, Italy
  49. Palasport, Reggio-Emilia, Italy
  50. Palasport, Padova, Italy
  51. Palasport, Padova, Italy
  52. Palasport, Padova, Italy
  53. Palaeur, Rome, Italy
  54. Palaeur, Rome, Italy
  55. Palasport Nuevo, Modena, Italy
  56. Palais Des Sports, Nice, France
  57. Parc Des Expositions, Grenoble, France
  58. Halle De Rhenus, Strasbourg, France
  59. Bercy, Paris, France
  60. Bercy, Paris, France
  61. NEC, Birmingham, UK
  62. NEC, Birmingham, UK
  63. SECC, Glasgow, UK
  64. SECC, Glasgow, UK
  65. SECC, Glasgow, UK
  66. Wembley Arena, London, UK
  67. Wembley Arena, London, UK
  68. James Knight Centre, Miami, USA
  69. Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, USA
  70. Gaillard Auditorium, Charleston, USA
  71. Fox Theatre, Atlanta, USA
  72. Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, USA
  73. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
  74. Cajundome, Lafayette, USA
  75. Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, USA
  76. Southern Star Amphitheatre, Houston, USA
  77. Palmer Auditorium, Austin, USA
  78. Majestic Theatre, San Antonio, USA
  79. Bronco Bowl, Dallas, USA
  80. Pan-Am Centre, Las Cruces, USA
  81. McKale Arena, Tuscon, USA
  82. Mesa Amphitheatre, Phoenix, USA
  83. Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, USA
  84. Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, USA
  85. Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, USA
  86. Open Air Theatre, San Diego, USA
  87. Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, USA
  88. UC Events Centre, Santa Barbara, USA
  89. Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, USA
  90. Greek Theatre, Berkeley, USA
  91. Recreation Hall, Davis, USA
  92. Public National Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada
  93. Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Canada
  94. Saddledome, Calgary, Canada
  95. Arena, Winnipeg, Canada
  96. Memorial Hall, Kansas City, USA
  97. Fox Theatre, St. Louis, USA
  98. Memorial Coliseum, Columbus, USA
  99. Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, USA
  100. Welsh Auditorium, Grand Rapids, USA
  101. Civic Centre, Ottawa, Canada
  102. Forum, Montreal, Canada
  103. Civic Centre, Portland, USA
  104. Fieldhouse, Troy, USA
  105. Memorial Coliseum, Rochester, USA
  106. Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, USA
  107. Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, USA
  108. Radio City Music Hall, New York, USA
  109. Radio City Music Hall, New York, USA
  110. Radio City Music Hall, New York, USA
  111. Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, UK
  112. Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, UK
  113. Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  114. Nuremburgring, Nurnburg, Germany
  115. National Bowl, Milton Keynes, UK
  116. National Bowl, Milton Keynes, UK
  117. 22nd June 1986
  118. Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland
  119. Torhout-Werchter, Torhout, Belgium
  120. Torhout-Werchter, Werchter, Belgium
  121. Piazza Grande, Locarno, Switzerland
  122. Piazza Della Riforma, Lugano, Switzerland
  123. Stadio San Siro, Milan, Italy
  124. Les Arenes De Frejus, Frejus, France
  125. Les Arenes De Nime, Nimes, France
  126. Le Zenith, Paris, France
  127. Le Zenith, Paris, France
  128. Estadio UD Levante, Valencia, Spain
  129. Koseinekin Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
  130. Koseinekin Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
  131. Koseinekin Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan
  132. Shi Kokaido, Nagoya, Japan
  133. Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan
  134. Entertainment Centre, Perth, Australia
  135. Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
  136. Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
  137. Entertainment Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  138. Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
  139. National Indoor Arena, Canberra, Australia
  140. Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  141. Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
  142. Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
  143. Entertainment Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  144. Entertainment Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  145. Entertainment Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  146. Town Hall Auditorium, Christchurch, New Zealand
  147. Town Hall Auditorium, Christchurch, New Zealand
  148. Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand
  149. Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand
  150. Western Springs Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand

It bears mentioning that I saw one of these shows.

The fateful ticket...

The fateful ticket…

I’ll digress here and mention that at this point it was finally possible for me to see the group live. It’s a fine kettle of fish, when after liking a group for five years in the wilderness, you finally get to see them when they’ve just released their big, bad sellout album. I had a friend who had seen Simple Minds in Los Angeles in 1981, at the height of his admiration of the band, but things like that didn’t happen at all in backwater Florida where I lived. My friend Tom and I thought we’d go to the show anyway since this would in all probability be the first and last time we ever got to see the group. And after all, we imagined that they couldn’t ignore their entire previous and excellent repertoire in any case.

Tom’s van had been going through some hard times. The previous week we went to Daytona Beach to see The Bangles with several friends  and a flat tire nearly did that excursion in. Those that took the trip will never forget the experience, suffice to say. I could invoke Scooby Doo here… but I won’t. That is a story for another post. Let me see if I can remember the motley crew that made the trip. Tom who was the driver/owner of the van, myself, my friend Jayne, who was also a pre-fame Simple Minds fan, and someone from where I worked who wanted to go with us.  There might have been one more person – five seems about right, but I can’t remember the possible fifth member of our motley crew.

We arrived in Tampa and immediately went to Vinyl Fever to shop for records; back when a truly great record store was a wonderful thing. I had mentioned to my friend Elisa, who was living in Tampa, that we’d try to make it by for a quick visit to her apartment but with the excitement of record shopping in a fantastic store I had only been in once before cutting into time, we had to go straight to downtown where we promptly got lost trying to find the venue. To make matters worse, Tom hadn’t really replaced his tire from the week before. He just patched it up at the service station that the two helpful [but scary] guys took Tom off with while the rest of us waited in Cassadega, Florida on a Friday night. Wondering if we’d ever see Tom again.

Tom had wanted to stop at a service station and fill up the tire, which he was convinced had a slow leak, but a scary fact of life in the big city is that there are no service stations open after 5 pm in depressing downtown Tampa. Thus Tom was unable to boost the leaking tire’s air level prior to the show. This, in retrospect, was a crucial detail. I can’t call it an error simply because there were no gas stations downtown. We ate perfunctory foodstuffs and made our way to the Curtis Hixon Hall. The opening act was The Call, a thoroughly mediocre outfit who were also friends with Peter Gabriel, who inexplicably liked them to no real effect on their modest career. After the allotted 45 minutes, the headliners came on and the show was a bit sad to say the least.

kerr-long-hair-+-beretJim Kerr looked his usual jerky self wearing an appalling outfit [as seen in this post] and acting as stiff as ever in concert. Derek Forbes wasn’t there so I really had to ask myself why I was. The setlist never once touched past New Gold Dream material save for the encore medley where they blended “Sun City” with “Dance To The Music” and their own “Love Song” for a few miserable bars. Robin Clark was a nice presence and that was about as good as it got. Put bluntly, Simple Minds were bloated dinosaurs. An embarrassment to the band they once were. They were entering the American market at the sports arena level and it was a hideous thing to behold. I don’t really have any memories of the show itself, only a lingering [to this day] sense of profound disappointment. I knew what I was getting into by going to the show and I have no one to blame but myself.

As our presence was perfunctory, so was the show. After the show we ran into some college students we knew who no longer had a ride home. Could they come with us? Why not. We had a van. And it had a flat tire. It was NOT leaving the lot and we were stuck in downtown [ghost town] Tampa on a Friday night. What were our options? Well, for starters, Tom was definitely NOT a triple A member!

I eventually called Elisa, the only person anyone knew in Tampa and we pleaded with her to come to the parking lot with a can of fix-a-flat but she was less than happy with us. As it turns out, she made a big pot of chili in anticipation of the visit that never happened. Gulp! Well, we ran out of time due to getting lost in Tampa and [yes] spending time at Vinyl Fever, but I never realized that dinner had entered into it until the fateful phone call. After about 30 minutes of cajoling, Elisa finally ventured out to save our bacon. Little did she know that she was begrudgingly aiding the owner of the van who would be her second husband in 15 years.

The can of fix-a-flat worked fine. It got us home and we carried our extra travelers with ease. Since the two extra lived near the local University, it was no hardship whatsoever. Jayne had parked her car there and the other 1-2 people from my work also lived on/near campus. By the time Tom dropped me off at my parent’s home, the last such duty for him that night, it was something like 3:00 a.m. and never before had I endured such hardship for such a lackluster program of entertainment. The group I had traveled so far to see after so many years of fandom were a disappointing bunch of old has-beens – middle aged far before their time. As I suspected, that was it for Simple Minds. I might never get a chance to see them again, but after this show I couldn’t have cared less.

Their career in America as superstars was effectively over by the end of the tour. Along the way, the decision had been made to issue a live album from this long world tour and this put the headstone on their career in the States, since to Joe Sixpack, they were effectively a new band. Their eighth album functioned as a debut for America, for all intents and purposes. Zero interest domestically for that bright idea. On the face of it, knocking out a quickie souvenir double live album would have been, in theory at the very least, a fast and cheap followup to a successful album and tour… except that it took over a year after the tour to get the thing in the shops!

Next: …The great dissipation of inertia begins 

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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18 Responses to Rock G.P.A.: Simple Minds [part 25]

  1. Echorich says:

    To be honest I am sure I saw SM on one of the Radio City Music Hall dates in ’86, but I may have just blocked it out.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I completely understand. You have my deepest sympathies. On the other hand, it makes the last show you saw that much more amazing, eh?

      Like

    • mroktober says:

      If you were at the one where someone ran onstage during “Sun City”, I was there too and it was my friend who did that and as a result we had to wait over an hour after the show for him to be released from detainment. On another note I also came on board with DYFAM so I had nothing to compare it to and as a result I quite liked OUAT. I have since listened to the older material and like it also, so perhaps I am the rare one who likes both phases of SM. A final note for The Monk – I also saw The Bangles in ’86. It seems we were mirroring each other – you in FL and me in NY.

      Like

      • postpunkmonk says:

        mroktober – Welcome to the comments! Does your screen name perchance take its origins in a certain Duran Duran B-side. I guess the Simple Minds and The Bangles were within a week of one another in many markets. So your friend was “detained?” Sounds ghastly.

        Like

        • mroktober says:

          Well spotted with the screen name which is an amalgamation of the Duran Duran song and a homage to my favorite baseball player as a youngster, Reggie Jackson. IIRC during that same period in ’86 (29 years ago- unbelievable) I also caught Depeche Mode on the Black Celebration tour. And yes, my friend’s detainment was quite unpleasant as he described it he had to strip to his underwear while threatened with arrest if anyone in the audience complained of being stepped on while he fled the security guards by running through the crowd on the backs of the chairs, which was quite a feat in itself. The joys of being 17!
          PS enjoying this series (and others) and your writing style

          Like

  2. This series is like reading Tolkien. There’s a lot of setup, then the boring middle part, then the triumphant return just when all seems lost! Also, this is approaching Tolkien-esque word counts! :)

    Shall we call it the Sim(ple Minds)arillion? :)

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Like I indicated, this series is why I wanted to start PPM in the first place! I had to wait all of these years since I was holding back for their next album! It’s been two months and we’ve still got a long road ahead of us. I hope that I haven’t bored the non-fans too badly.

      Like

      • Brian Ware says:

        Not at all Mr. Monk! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this as well and it’s everything I hoped it would be. As a member of the Scooby gang on that wild ride to the Bangles Daytona show, I had a good chuckle with this post.

        Like

      • Echorich says:

        Monk, this has to be done! The greatness of Simple Minds is that they (as we will see) saw the errors of their musical path and worked to regain that spark, that magic that made them Simple Minds. A critical assessment of their success is required.

        Like

    • tim says:

      It’s been interesting reading this series because Simple Minds never showed up on my radar until “the hit album” which always turned me off largely due to having an amateur U2 vibe to it. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that there was maybe a bit of Blur vs. Oasis going on here. To date I’ve never really taken the plunge. A blogger by the name of Dreamtime did some great mixes, pretty much anything he touched was gold, and I downloaded the lot off his site before he folded up shop so I have a bunch of the tracks that Monk & co hold in such esteem and yet to this date I still….dunno. I think it’s because I first was aware of them concurrent to the S.S. NeWave hitting an iceberg that I just can’t muster the jump to exploring them further.

      I’m going to stay away from TLOTR comments further, I’ve had my foot in that pile of doodoo on another comment thread for about a week now.

      Like

      • postpunkmonk says:

        tim – I appreciate the LOTR avoidance. This Tolkien-hater thanks you from the bottom of his heart. I often think that had I first encountered Simple Minds during act 2 [mid 80s], never would have bothered with any other phase of their career. But then, I could say that about most of the bands I’m passionate about. That I first heard them in 1981 was a gift, I guess. In two years I had all of their early albums, and they really, really worked for me.

        Like

        • tim says:

          You’re in good company. My stepping in it elsewhere resulted from calling LOTR a turgid pile of wordbarf and for unfavorably comparing Mr. Tolkein to Stephen King.

          Like

          • postpunkmonk says:

            tim – Tolkien/Stephen King. Looooooooong does not equal good [except for this blog]! I dislike them equally, but I’ve only actually read Tolkien, so my disdain there has proper critical authority. How I hate the Fantasy genre! Anyone as popular as Stephen King is automatically suspect with me. Thought I once did find a Dark Tower volume [in the shrink wrap] at a yard sale, which I parlayed into several hundred dollars better spent on, uh, food during financial hardships. So thanks to Stephen King for that much!

            Like

            • tim says:

              We had a 1st edition Dark Tower at the library I used to work at. It was before a mass market reprint and it had a waiting list a mile long. I agree with you that long (or in this case big books) doesn’t equal good.

              LOTR reminds me of Salieri’s critique in Mozart – it has too many notes.
              Had to bring it back to music…

              Like

  3. zoo says:

    As a post script to your story about the trek to Tampa, Curtis Hixon Hall was torn down in 1993. I had to look it up, as I have lived in Tampa since 1994 and never heard of the place. I suppose demolition was the only way to get rid of the stink of the SM show from ’86.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – Yeah, that was the only show I ever saw there. Not optimal, but it was a heck of a good site for the Tampa record shows I used to hit in the early 90s. Nice – big -record shows. We drove 90 miles to see Simple Minds and we didn’t even get that lousy t-shirt! Actually, I didn’t wear T-shirts from 1980-1990 for some reason. I spent all of my cash at Vinyl Fever, so I passed on the [boring] Anton Corbijn-filled tourbook. I only got the badge at the merch table.

      Like

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