Let’s make one thing clear – this was not a conventional gig. You wouldn’t expect a band who have sold more than sixty million albums worldwide to play a two-and-a-half hour long show at a four thousand capacity venue on a cold and rainy Tuesday night, for a start. You wouldn’t expect to see a fifty-three year old man bouncing around the stage, effortlessly engaging the capacity crowd with the vigour of a man half his age. You DEFINITELY wouldn’t expect eighties legends Simple Minds to be tearing the roof off Plymouth’s Pavilions with their collection of timeless pop classics – but hey, Simple Minds have always done things their way.
The eighties legends played in Plymouth for the first time in over a decade as part of their Greatest Hits tour, and what a collection of hits they’ve had – from Alive and Kicking to the anthemic Don’t You (Forget About Me), there really is something for everyone in the Simple Minds back catalogue. Frontman Jim Kerr is still every ounce as charismatic as he was ‘back in the day’ – within the first few bars of opening number and new single Broken Glass Park he’s got every single audience member out of their seats and clapping along. The intimate environment allows Kerr’s vocal talents to really shine; you’ll occasionally hear of eighties legends who have lost the ability to, you know, sing in tune, but we’re delighted to report that Kerr’s vocals remain as strong as they’ve ever been. He interacts with the crowd tremendously, making periodic quips about the length of the set (‘I hope you brought a packed lunch!’) and joking around with the front row.
The band power through a selection of hits old and new before closing Set One of the show with the epic I Travel. A short interval follows, during which more than one audience member was heard to comment upon the quality of the gig thus far. It feels like no time at all has passed before Kerr and co. are back on the stage and partying like it’s 1989. Tracks like The American and Blood Diamonds are made to sound effortless by the pop pioneers – guitarist and founding member Charlie Burchill looks effortlessly cool, with a golden Les Paul strapped firmly to his chest and his hair tamed into a familiar slicked-back ‘do.
The band close the gig with Alive and Kicking, which has even the most uptight of dragged-along partners on their feet and dancing to the sound of the synths. A flash of purple lighting, a final slap of a bass and a wave to the crowd later and it’s all over. They came, they rocked and they left everyone smiling – we won’t be forgetting about Simple Minds.