Hackney Empire Review – November 10th, 2016

Oh, I’m sure I can be objective enough for this! Lol

On a personal level, this had been my first Minds gig in over a year, and only my third in total…so to say it was highly anticipated is an understatement! On my mind constantly was the health of my pet cat, Chrissy, who had taken very ill in the days leading up to the gig. I contemplated not going at all, she was so ill. My partner, Em, was due to come with me, but she stayed behind to care for Chrissy. It had been such a long wait to see them again. The guilt of going will ALWAYS be there. No matter what.

I hope the guys felt the love in the room. The wall of sound us fans produced as they made the stage was deafening to me. And it continued right through Cherisse’s solo that started New Gold Dream. We were all so loud, I could barely hear it. But I could hear it enough to be blown away by it! Cherisse is an absolutely amazing new addition to the Minds family.

As a consequence of the crowd being so…UP FOR IT…I was also having trouble hearing Jim to begin with. But once we all settled, it was amazing.
I’ve never been disappointed at a Minds gig so far. Three out of three is a pretty good hit rate!

The theatre was BEAUTIFUL! What a stunning venue. I don’ think they could have picked a better venue to debut the acoustic set in the UK.
I had a very clear view of the stage. The person in front of me, the beautiful Regina Naaijer (whom I got to meet and talk to before and after the show) stood (danced!) in the aisle, so my view standing by my seat was clear.

I was trying very hard not to just ogle Jim all night. Lol. I was in this crazy little world where I SSOO wanted him to look at me…so I could get a sense he saw me, acknowledged I was in the crowd and was happy to see me…but then I would see his eyes looking my way but they would appear to fall on the couple in the front row in front of me, and I would think he didn’t want to acknowledge me, or look at me. So then I didn’t want to appear like I cared, so whenever his eyes drifted towards the couple and had a chance of finding me, I would look elsewhere. Lol. I know! It was like “Please look at me, Jim. It’s me, Larelle. I’m here to see you. Oh, doughnut, schmonut! I knew you wouldn’t be able to meet me for that. But I’m here. Just let me know you’ve seen me. That you’re happy I’m here!” And then I would get all self-conscious and not want to look pleading…as I imagined my face to sometimes look.

Watching the gig on playback, I’m not sure he would have been able to see me. The lights never really fell on me much…and despite only being in the third row, I looked farther back from the stage view than I felt from my seat.
Anyway…back to the review itself.

Acoustically…I mean, in the aural sense…it was SPOT ON. The sound was rich, vibrant…but had room to breathe. The volume was perfect. Loud enough…but not overly so. Jim could be a little lost in the mix sometimes…but that didn’t come across on the telly. Us as a crowd are toned down on the telly, compared to being in amongst it.

Highlights for me?

New Gold Dream – Cherisse’s solo at the top of song. Wow!

Glittering Prize
– it’s just beautiful and tender, and every time Jim sings that “catch me in a dream” line, my heart melts thinking “Oh, how I wish I could! Every night.”.

Andy Warhol
– wow! That was a lot of fun…I love that intro! I really let me hair down with that one! Lol. And Catherine…ahem, I mean The Anchoress! was fabulous. That suit! Wow!

Speed Your Love To Me
– OMG! It was SSOO beautiful!! I had heard a snippet of it from the Zermatt gig back in April, and I didn’t really think it worked. But they have either worked on it, refined it…or what I heard was a shitty, poor quality snippet. Either way…I stand very much corrected on my opinion. It was probably the biggest highlight of the night for me.

Make Me Smile
– well, what a way to end the show! Having Steve Harley himself up on stage. Awesome!

Everything just worked. The setlist flowed well. Jim fluffed on the lines of Chelsea Girl! Lol. But, just so I could be reminded he is only human after all…he had to stuff up. God (I) love him! Actual aural acoustics were spot on. The venue was perfect. My view was perfect! It was magical!

Only one photo from me…in which you see the lovely Lawrence Lowe and friend (I met you as well, and your name escapes me. I am so sorry, lovely man!) chatting 🙂
I didn’t go round the back to try and meet the band. I just assumed Jim would be whisked away and the opportunity to meet him would not avail itself, so I didn’t try. Of course, hours later, when I look at my phone, I see several fans snapped with him out back. But there you go. Whatever is meant to be will happen eventually (I keep telling myself!). I met some beautiful people both before and after.

It was such a special night. And it all came down with a crash when I got home. I lost my baby girl! My cat Chrissy died as I was making my way to the gig. I have never experienced such a bittersweet day in all my life. The pure joy of the gig! Seeing a band that just over 2 years ago I liked, but didn’t really have this kind of affection for…nor did I expect to fall for them quite so hard. I adore them with a passion that…even as a die-hard Bowie fan of over 30 years, I did not expect to feel. I love this band so, so much! They…David still, although he is no longer with us, and my birds are my whole universe!

As are Em (my partner of nearly 20 years) and Chrissy. Chrissy died at 5pm on Thursday afternoon. The vet put her down as she had suffered brain damage from her treatment the previous day. Em had to deal with that alone, while I was on my way to Hackney. I called her for an update on Chrissy shortly after and Em kept what had happened from me. I had spent the night believing although Chris was of course still very ill, was safe and waiting at home for me. It wasn’t until I was home and in the door did Em tell me. The strength it took her to keep it from me all night astounds me. Overwhelms me. I cry every time I think of it. (Crying again now.)

Thank you Simple Minds, for being the ever continuing joy, comfort and solace you have become in my life. I am immensely grateful I finally delved fully into that back catalogue and am the fan I am today. And thank you for the most beautiful gig on Thursday night.

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