16 Dec, 2009 Goodbye Graffiti Soul
It was a beautiful day in May as I recall. Some of us had taken a rather lengthy walk around the surrounding lake thus leaving only a few minutes to grab our things from the hotel before heading directly to the festival site where we were due to perform in around 40 minutes or so.
It was to be our first live date since the release of our Graffiti Soul album and we had chosen to debut things in a little back wood festival in Sweden. Hardly a pressurised situation, actually it was the perfect choice of setting to test run some new songs, or so I thought as we drove up through the happy crowd to the back stage area where the local band having finished their own set stood around with the Simple Minds cd’s hopeful of securing signatures.
A nice bunch, they were proud of their little festival and insisted that we would enjoy playing to the enthusiastic crowd awaiting. I had no doubt that this would be the case, but I was a tad apprehensive and the reason was that we had barely given ourselves time to rehearse upfront as unfortunately I had been on an extended promo tour throughout Europe preceding the album release. Resultantly it had eaten up much of the time that we had originally set aside for rehearsals.
In fact as soon as we had left Sweden we were due to turn up in Brussels for two whole weeks of advanced preparations that would see us more than ready for the rest of our summer tour. That arrangement however would be of little use to us for this first date where instead we would have to make do with “winging it.” (Meaning that we would be bluffing our way through a new set that was destined to come complete with the inevitable mistakes that occur when you have not performed in a while. Especially so when you are due to premier a few new songs.)
In the end we got by more than just fine, although that was possibly due to our infectious spirit, the type that has always secured good reactions from festival crowds. Certainly many howlers were made, including both Eddie and Charlie starting one song in different keys. That said, it was me who got the blame for that somehow and I have yet to understand how that could be so. But the point is that we made it! We survived the challenge and left the stage to a wall of noise from the audience. A positive noise!
Forward seven months almost and as I write from a snow covered airport in Bucharest, it is difficult to deny the feeling of satisfaction that surrounds us as we draw near to our final concert date of the tour. I hope that we have made a lot of people very happy, that is the main priority, as well as letting no one down of course. Our fans invest much in us, emotionally as much as financially, and it is to them we look when it comes to the gauge of how well we might have done.
Within that the signals so far would seem to be very good, the band have been playing with an energetic vibrancy that is sometimes out of this world, and in addition I don’t think we have ever come as close to choosing the perfect set lists as we are currently.
Sarah Brown deserves a special mention here for the way she has slotted in so neatly, bringing her sweet voice and star personality along with her and enabling us to produce a great all round show. Steve Pollard’s stage lighting hit new heights and JJ is fast earning the reputation of being a quite incredible front house sound engineer. All good then, except don’t forget the part played by the exceptionally enthusiastic audiences who come to see us!
The biggest joy perhaps is how evident it is for most of us to note that the band is in excellent shape and set up brilliantly to move forward into a future that will ensure much more music to come. God- and our fans – willing! And on that it is never too much to thank once again all of those who have come out to support us over and over as we have passed through these weeks, months and countless miles.
Graffiti Soul, both album and tour, have been wonderful to work with, and all in all it has been an experience that we are unlikely to forget.