Simple Minds at Academy, STILL GOING STRONG.
THERE was a chorus of adulation from the Academy crowd as a sprightly, denim-clad Jim Kerr walked on stage.

It has, after all, been 30 years since Simple Minds first inspired a generation with brilliant songwriting and musicianship. And, while the group may have shied away from climbing to the dizzying heights of one-time contemporaries U2, they are still as relevant as they ever were. A two-hour set brimming with old and new tracks proved that. Opening track, Sleeping Girl, was thrust on the crowd by Kerr, guitarist Charlie Burchill, long-time drummer Mel Gaynor and bassist Eddie Duffy, with determined energy.

Clearly, those looking forward to an evening drenched in 80s nostalgia were in for a big surprise. This was more than a trip down memory lane.

The backbone of the set was provided by classic tracks: early Simple Minds fans being treated to gems such as Love Song, East At Easter, Up On The Catwalk, See The Lights and Don’t You Forget About Me. A deafening roar exploded as Kerr began calling card, Waterfront. More impressive, however, was that songs from the recent Black & White 050505 album provoked the crowd just as much.

And while the soaring electro surge of title track A Life Shot In Black & White echoed vintage Simple Minds, Dolphins enveloped the room with a more experimental edge. Kerr simply grinned.

The crowd grinned back, acknowledging what is something of a spiritual time in the careers of the Glaswegian veterans. It was necessary, then, to end with Alive & Kicking. And while not wanting to play on such an obvious pun, that is exactly what Simple Minds still are.

By Belinda Hanks.