07 Feb, 2006 Simple but effective
Simple but effective.
Simple Minds returned to the Toon last night to make their Carling Academy debut. He promised you a miracle back in 1982, and for some it may seem something of a miracle that Jim Kerr is still fronting 80s icons Simple Minds.
After all, he’s made enough dosh over the years to sit back, put his feet up and enjoy the trappings of success – the Glittering Prize? But that’s not the case with 46-year-old Kerr who still relishes getting on stage in front of an audience and becoming a rocker again. Just as much as the fans who have stayed with him over the years enjoy watching him do it. Packed Carling Academy stepped back in time for much of last night to reminisce of days gone by, when the Minds were one of the biggest acts in the world.
The majority of the audience were 35-plus, but that didn’t stop a fair number of them forgetting their age and jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow. The last time I saw Simple Minds was back in the early 1990s when they played Gateshead Stadium. This is a much, much smaller venue, and just as well, as Kerr’s voice simply isn’t as strong as it used to be.
Several times during the gig you struggled to hear his recognisable tones, and now and again you thought the vocal chords may even give up. But the consummate professional, he persevered and at times the magic of old returned as thought it had never left. Kerr, give him his due, was on stage for just under two hours, showing terrific stamina – though the beads of sweat were evident from just minutes into the concert. A great workout, though!
The gig mixed plenty of new material with a smattering of the old stuff. Waterfront was the first number to really get the crowd going, but Someone Somewhere In Summertime, Up On The Catwalk, See The Lights and Love Song were equally well received.
Now and then the gig lost momentum when the pace slowed down with some of the newer material, and it took a good two minutes for the fans to get behind the anthemic Don’t You Forget About Me.
That said, the night ended on a high – after two, lengthy, encores – to the strains of Alive & Kicking. Something that Jim Kerr and the band obviously are very much still.
Entertainment Editor, Gordon Barr.
The Evening Chronicle.