Up and running, finally we got off a more than good start to our current European Graffiti Soul tour that began last Tuesday in Vienna.

As a band that enjoys playing live more than anything else, it will go without saying that we are delighted to be back out and doing what most people believe we do best.

Two major talking points so far concern firstly the new set list that rather sprawlingly features tracks from throughout our entire career – including songs that have not been played live for as long as 28 years.

Obviously this revelation, mixed with the knowledge that as promised we are also featuring an increasing amount of tracks from our latest and greatest Graffiti Soul album, is particularly positive news to our hardcore admirer’s and in particular by those who go way past the extra mile when it comes to supporting Simple Minds. Oh, and in case anybody is still wondering, we don’t stop at that as we also still manage to fit in a bundle of classics from our substantial enough catalogue.

With that being so and running at over two hours, including anything between 22 and possibly 25 songs depending. What we are now doing on a nightly basis within this Graffiti Soul Tour is surely getting close to the perfect set. Then again the perfect set does not really exist. Or does it?


Additionally there has been much excitement over the news that along with our partners of choice, Concert On Line, we have now embarked on a service to record and make available each and every night’s performance. Without doubt fans have been asking for this for the longest time and considering our hard earned reputation as a decent live band, I can understand the strength of demand. It is a great compliment in fact.

So finally, satisfied that we eventually found the right company to work with, that live service is now in operation. This means that minutes after the last cymbal of the evening has been thrashed, you can either at the merchandise stall at the venue, buy a nicely packaged and tour branded USB stick containing a recording of the show that you just witnessed. Or alternately no matter where you are in the world, you can go on line and download the songs from that show and then have the stick packaged and sent directly to you.


The only downside to the launch of the live recording, was that we were a little late in pulling it all together and therefore had no time prior to Vienna to make any kind of fanfare announcement. One that would have been appropriate as well, given how happy we as a band are with the quality of the product – as well as the entire back up service offered.

Now that we are rolling smoothly however, will be soon sending out a thorough enough mail to the entire database letting everyone know about exactly what is available.

That said, through having not been announced prior, it was quite something to see the thrill caused by the surprise factor. Particularly on the first night when fans were wide eyed with enthusiasm that we had this operation set up and working. Talk about Xmas morning! Evidently the relevant chat rooms soon lit up with the good news and the early reactions to the recordings – and the inherent quality – have bordered on quasi ecstatic.

It is obviously too early to say how much of a success this will be all in all. But in order to secure that it will continue beyond this tour – and we sincerely hope that it does – I don’t mind detailing that we would need about 10% of the audience capacity to buy one each night on this tour. In achieving that, Concert On Line who are without doubt the best around at providing this facility, would probably be encouraged enough to continue working with Simple Minds into the future and beyond.


As for the sticks and the contents within, well given the abundant capacity there is so much potential to expand beyond merely the inclusion of songs from that night’s set, that incidentally we intend to vary by three or four songs each night. Trying to never play the same set twice is the order of the day in otherwords.

Already in fact we are also wherever possible including soundcheck songs that might not feature in that evening’s set. The checks are often were we play rarities that rarely get a look in during a show.

For example the USB stick from Ancona featured a fine recording of Light Travels, played for the first time outside of a rehearsal room but not on the actual night. Road testing, we held it back to debut in Rome the following night, where incidentally we made a total pigs ear!

But that is also the point of live recordings, you get to witness the spontaneity as well as the warts and all that you never get in a normal studio album, wherein by the nature much of the work gets controlled, polished, and fixed sometimes to the extent that with the benefit of hindsight is to the detriment as things can get lost along the way in the desire to perfect.

For instance in the live recordings you would hopefully get to hear moments of brilliance that only great live bands are capable of. As well of course as the fluffed lines, bum notes, and rough edges that after all go to make it what it is – ‘a live recording.’

Hopefully over the next weeks the UBS sticks will contain plenty of the former to mesmerize, and only a smattering of the later, well just to keep you amused. Like last night for example, when I was praising the audience etc, telling them how much we had enjoyed playing in Pordenonne. When in fact we were in Padova! Ah well! They let me off with it and all because the band played a belter. If you don’t believe me you can go right now on line and check for yourself.

Admittedly the price of it all is not cheap, but considering that in some cases there will be 2.5 hours of music, the price does then does seem more than reasonable. More so again, when as planned we get round to including poster artwork, interviews and much more information.

And on the subject of cost. Should the facility take off successfully we are looking into donating a decent percentage of whatever profits to a Simple Minds affiliated charity. The Mandela charity comes to mind, as does for obvious reasons perhaps a children’s hospital ward in Glasgow – it is the city that gave birth to Simple Minds after all.

Nothing but nothing would make me happier were we able to do this in particular. It would make us feel a lot more comfortable in promoting the sticks in a requisite hard  – nosed fashion. It would also give more incentive to give even more of ourselves each night in knowing that when we stepped on stage, things much more important than us stood to benefit  – even if just a little. A little every single night might add up to rather a lot over the years after all.  Who knows?

In any case whatever money we see through the sales of the sticks is guaranteed to be spent on further enhancing the production quality of the live show. That is where it will go into. Benefiting everyone who comes to see us, it could also perhaps help us in future to tour some places that due to limited budgets we have narrowly and frustratingly missed visiting recently.

All in all then, along with buying a concert ticket, album, or whatever official concert merchandise, there is no better way of supporting Simple Minds than taking a shot with these live recordings. And on that note I thank one of our fans that posted a message online encouraging fans to ‘SUPPORT SIMPLE MINDS’ by buying a stick and not swapping files. According to Olivier, (I think!) Simple Minds fans have been for years demanding that live concert recordings from the band were made available.

Now that they are here, he reckons everybody should if possible react positively, behave responsibly, and in doing so insure that this great service is maintained.


I have every faith that you all agree and will do the best you can..

Thanks very much!

Jim Kerr


Thanks to  Giuseppe Gilberti who attended a recent show and said:
“Lights go down…. themes from great cities starts… it felt like being crashed into 1989 gigs…… then surprising Sanctify and Moscow made the great difference with all the other gigs I’ve attended during the last two decades.
What a night…. what a show… the GRAFFITI thing seems to be the best one so far…. and even If you do need more dates to get really fit into it, this is definitively what real fans want to be listening to: mistakes, fake starts make the artist closer to the people..
During the years live shows have always become a part of a bizzarre show business way of telling: here we are, we’ve a new cd out please buy it. But Simple Minds play each night to their own audience with commercial purpose but with great passion, dedication and meditation with utmost respect to the audience…..
I’m getting married next 28th of november Jim…. PADOVA was my last gig as a “single”….. but she’s at her second one out of my 65… so it’s a bit encouraging on the couple live future.
Gone back to work man…. I’m just leaving for Den Haag, where tomorrow I will be presenting my greatest child abuse invetsigation in front of EUROPOL expert meeting…. Operation GRAFFITI.”