#BGReviewer: Simple Minds

Oct 01, 2018

It was 1985, a momentous year, as it was the year of my high school graduation and that winter  a song came out that tapped into the collective romantic zeitgeist of all the teens of the 80s. So Simple Minds entered the consciousness of my generation and we were swept along with dreams of romantic detention periods and hoping there was a Judd Nelson or Molly Ringwald (though I was an Ally Sheedy guy) who we could join with in our revolt against authority. Strong dreams friends, strong dreams.

Flash forward 33 years and I find myself in the warm glow of nostalgia with my wife as we get to hear Simple Minds in their Walk Between Worlds concert at Budweiser Gardens here in London. Let me tell you friends, we were thrilled, as was the near capacity audience at the RBC Theatre, to relieve those 80s dreams. 

Simple Minds, since their founding in Glasgow 1977, has sold nearly 70 million albums and Saturday’s gig was a reminder of why this band is still going strong more than 40 years later. A little about the rest of the band, before we get to talking about its founders. Joining Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill was an outstanding group of musicians. Ged Grimes, bassist, kept a rock steady thumping bass that built upon the outstanding drumming of Cherisse Osei. Gordy Goudie covered keyboards and rhythm guitar and was the glue between the vocals and the band.  Sarah Brown’s backing vocals and solo turn in a great version of the classic Dirty Old Town were rich and full and brought depth to the work of the rest of the Band.

The ringing guitar work of Simple Minds co-founder Charlie Birchill never flagged for a minute and the musicianship of his playing is serious and demands our respect. He kept the crowd stomping along through solo and riffed for the entire double set of the concert. Charlie has seen the world and earned his stripes as a guitarist for us to respect.

Lead singer Jim Kerr’s voice has not lost any of its depth, range and warmth in more than 40 years of treading the stage. It was that warmth he showed to the crowd at Budweiser Gardens on Saturday. He did not just stand and sing but engaged and connected with the audience. Singing everything from The American, Waterfront, Up On The Catwalk, and the title track from their new album, Walk Between Worlds, Jim kept us with him the whole time and led the show brilliantly. 

Of course they played Don’t You Forget About Me. Of course the crowd leapt to its feet. Of course we sang along, recalling those halcyon days of the mid 80s, and of course the crowd roared their approval. But Simple Minds goes beyond that one hit, as special as it is. They played another song to close out and at the stomping of the crowd came out again to do an encore. And just like the crowd that demanded another song, Simple Minds came out again as they have since 1977, to sing new and old songs and thrill their fans as they did at Budweiser Gardens Saturday night.

Sean Quigley 

Photos by @BillWoodcock

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