REVIEW: Simple Minds - Opera House, Blackpool

Simple Minds

Simple Minds

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By rights I’m too young to be at a Simple Minds show. While I remember 1995’s She’s A River being a hit around the time I started making cassette recordings of the Top 40, the band were soon to disappear from the chart radar. But what do charts matter?

This performance proved Simple Minds are as much of a force-to-be-reckoned with as ever.

Founders Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill are the group’s constants in a career spanning over 30 years, but it’s the musicians’ professionalism and stagecraft, rather than their age, that stands out.

Kerr works the crowds with the energy of a man half his age, while Burchill’s earthy guitar is consistently inventive – faithful to original recordings but forward-thinking in a way that would give U2’s The Edge a run for his money.

The duo might just have found their most muscular, driving rhythm section yet, bass player Ged Grimes and long-standing drummer Mel Gaynor, while Andy Gillespie on keyboards adds contemporary electronica to authentic 80s synth licks.

The presence of a female vocalist helps recreate the depth of the stunning Live In The City Of Light.

They were promoting a recently released greatest hits CD, so the crowd expected the classics, and got them.

New track Broken Glass Park opened proceedings in an atmospheric swirl of lights, Kerr’s trademark charisma immediately to the fore.

Waterfront got the packed house on its feet, and things didn’t let up throughout a two-and-a-half hour set that ended with a string of hits.

Don’t You (Forget About Me), Promised You A Miracle and a euphoric Alive and Kicking have the front rows pogo-ing and chanting along, as young at heart as these electrifying, ageless anthems.

Which leads me to wonder… with a performance as vital and energetic as this, can you really be too young for Simple Minds?

Never!

MARK CHARLESWORTH