Music review: Simple Minds

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds PIC: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jim Kerr of Simple Minds PIC: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Even in unplugged mode, as they were for the first time on this Acoustic Live tour, Simple Minds couldn’t resist going big. This was to be no “bongos on the beach” affair; instead drummer Cherisse Osei opened proceedings with a drum solo on a pretty comprehensive standing kit, guitarists Charlie Burchill, Gordon Goudie and Ged Grimes rendered New Gold Dream as a powerful, rhythmic raga and Jim Kerr went walkabout in the crowd before declaring he was “knackered already”.

Simple Minds ****

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

This was how to get an excited, vociferous home crowd involved from the off, even if the band couldn’t quite sustain that pace. The moody Mandela Day and See the Lights were gentler, while still allowing Burchill to shred on semi-acoustic.

Kerr confessed to nerves about this new, unplugged format, but while the epic power of their music was inevitably compromised, the spirit of the band remained intact and new perspectives emerged. Divested of its electrified bombast, Someone Somewhere In Summertime sounded wistful, Waterfront was doused in proggy reverb, while a radically stripped-back Speed Your Love To Me became a romantic lullaby.

Their mid-80s pomp period was well represented, with the audience exhibiting admirable stamina on Don’t You (Forget About Me)’s “la la-la la la” refrain, and equivalent levels of enthusiasm for surprise special guest star Steve Harley’s stomping Make Me Smile.

They even brought their own bespoke chandelier as set dressing. Kerr reckoned it would look good dangling from the Finnieston Crane. Now that would be a glittering prize...