Review: Simple Minds, Glasgow Barrowland

Simple Minds during their homecoming gig at the Barrowland. Picture: Wattie Cheung

Simple Minds during their homecoming gig at the Barrowland. Picture: Wattie Cheung


BACK in 1983, Simple Minds filmed a video for their new single Waterfront in Barrowland, and helped give the ballroom a new lease of life as a gig venue.

Almost 30 years later, they returned to their spiritual home of sorts to celebrate the music they made before commercial success beckoned.

The deal was tantalising: two sets, encompassing five tracks from each of their first five albums, which showcased the audacity, even risk-taking, and eclectic development of the formative Minds as well as pointing to the stadium rockers they would become.

They kicked off their non-chronological nostalgia trip with the twisted disco of I Travel, a hi-octane blast they could not sustain as they trawled the dark, brooding fringes of their catalogue, including the sinister command of Celebrate and unsettling krautrock throb of This Fear Of Gods. In contrast, the shiny new-wave pop of Life In A Day and Chelsea Girl sounded bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with Jim Kerr in vigorous voice.

Curiously, it was the hits they rolled out in the second set that had dated the most. Promised You A Miracle sounded tinny and disposable next to the potent likes of Love Song.

Glittering Prize and The American walked the fine line between anthemic and bombastic, though the climactic New Gold Dream felt mighty. Overall, though, this was a virile and dynamic celebration of a band at a point when they were ready to take on the world.

Rating: ****




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