[…continued from last post]
The familiar bass rondo that heralded “The Hunter + The Hunted” brought forth a shot of recognition from the crowd. This was one of the best deep cuts on “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84]” and though it also made the last set list I had seen the band with in 2013, this evening it was really taking off and fulfilling its boundless promise in the best way possible! The dreamy Romanticism of the lyric found a perfect foundation in the band’s rendition which skirted the edge between lush and powerful in a way that most cannot follow. This was the third peak of the evening thus far for me.
Next was a curveball I would not have anticipated. They pulled “Stand By Love” out of their hat. The band’s stab at a “Pinball Wizard” [albeit with a soul stomp added to it] was one of the more agreeable tracks from “Real Life” and this marked the second time that I had heard a song from that album this evening, and none of these were even my favorite “See The Lights.” While I would not say no to an electro arrangement of this tune, Goudie’s acoustic strumming really had an appropriate berth here.
Then they took the bus further down the folkie road with their cover of “Dirty Old Town,” by Ewen MacColl. This divisive number I know to be alienating to Echorich and a few other Simple Minds fans I encounter online. I bear it on the album because vocalist Sarah Brown sings it so profoundly well. I tend to ignore Kerr’s verses and wait for her to sing again. In concert this evening, Kerr wisely sat the song out, only adding his dulcet tones to the chorus. And with Sarah carrying the whole song it simply sounded fantastic. Kerr says she sings it like Mahalia Jackson and I can’t argue with that statement! With that song, the first set ended.
After a 10-15 minute break the band, minus Kerr, strode onstage and laid into another peak experience; “Theme For Great Cities,” our second track from “Sister Feelings Call” this evening! Needless to say, Goudie stuck to the synths [good boy] and left the fret mangling to Burchill and the rhythms hammered onward courtesy of Ossei and Grimes;
who anchored the whole thing with his bass. Wow. The track is always a stormer and this evening was no different. They’ve played it the last three times I’ve seen them and its bulletproof. There’s no way I could ever get tired or jaded hearing its magnificence.
It was in 1995 when I chanced to hear a song on the radio that let me know that it was okay to listen to Simple Minds again. “She’s a River” would not be mistaken for an “Empires + Dance” outtake, but it was an undeniably successful, if mainstream, vision for the band who had flailed away for a decade by that point without impressing me much. I went right out and got the “Good News From The Next World” album, and hairstyles notwithstanding, it made me want to see the band live from that point onward. I didn’t think that would ever happen following the 1986 debacle I’d witnessed. It took me seven years before I saw the band in 2002, but they’ve played “She’s A River” each time I’ve seen them since then and it remains a fixture in their set that reminds me how the band have honed their direction from that point onward to the point where they are touring this year on an album with no missteps to these ears at all.
We finally got another track from said album when the title track was the next song played. I loved Charlie’s insistent riff which seemed to be channeling his fiery playing on the cover of “Needle + The Damage Done” that had recorded in 2001. Next came Burchill once again taking the lead with the distinctively funky [it really is] intro to the wondrous “Someone, Somewhere [In Summertime]” as on the band’s 12″ version of the song. It was another song from “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84]” rendered brilliantly by this band and there’s nothing quite as exciting as that solo setting the fans up for something luxurious. That was followed by the always dignified beauty of the band’s final US Top 40 hit from 1991, “See The Lights.” It’s always the best song the band had made in a decade to me and I appreciate its direct honesty and subtlety. Two factors largely missing from this band during that period.