When the band that released this reviewer’s favourite song of all time Don’t You Forget About Me comes to Cardiff, I question why I’d left it this long – most of my life – to see Simple Minds live. Don’t get me wrong: I knew the Glaswegian band would put on a performance. Lucky enough as I was to interview Jim Kerr for Buzz ahead of this tour, he, Charlie Burchill and the rest of the band were up for it more than ever – like most touring bands, they’ve not been able to do just that these last few years.
And a blast it was, if deceptively formal. We were told to arrive and be seated before 8pm, and that the group would be on stage promptly at that time; there would be no support act. None was needed! Accordingly, everyone was in their seats until the group kicked into life, whereupon they continued to stand for the entirety of the night.
Simple Minds’ set, allowing for a 15-minute interval, spanned around two and a half hours. Kerr had the audience in the palm of his hand, with the band treating us to extended versions of some songs. As for my favourite number? As the frontman pointed out to us, Don’t You Forget About Me may not have been written by them, but they did add “the best fucking bit” – its “la, la la la la, la la la, la…” refrain. The audience loved this, especially when Kerr had everyone in attendance doing that particular lyrical excerpt in French, Italian, Japanese, and Welsh. Turns out it’s the same no matter which language you sing it in.
All of which added to the atmosphere, making this gig feel more like a homecoming party for family members – 6,000 of them, to be exact. With a repertoire of hits as long as my arm, the Simple Minds setlist unfurled to the point that I was blindsided by their last song of the evening, Alive And Kicking – one of their biggest releases, after all. And having waited 37 years to see this band in the flesh, I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner…
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Thurs 14 Apr
words CARL MARSH photos JONATHAN HERRON
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