Review: Simple Minds – Pretenders – KT Tunstall: Colchester Castle Park – August 26th, 2018

I have to prefix this by saying…rather sadly now, this is my last Simple Minds gig for the foreseeable future. There are some Grandslams left, of course…Swindon, Ardingly and Taunton next weekend, and Inverness and Dundee the following weekend…then off they go to Mexico, the USA and Canada.

Exciting times ahead for the band. But for me personally, a comedown…and the dreaded PGS (post gig syndrome) will soon kick in.

And so now I have to somehow, objectively review this final (for me) Grandslam gig.

Let’s start with the weather. Earlier in the week, it appeared as if it was going to be fine. Colchester would be blessed with the good sunny day, while the rest looked decidedly iffy. By midweek that forecast began to change until by Friday, it was going to rain fairly constantly all day, until around the time SM would hit the stage.

Unfortunately on this occasion, the weatherman got it fairly spot on. We left the house with it raining, and it continued on through the drive to Colchester. Still a constant peter down when we arrived there. Steadily falling through the afternoon.

This was a very, very special gig for me. I had a meet and greet. The chance of a lifetime. Originally meant for Enfield – the gig that should have been happening today, but had to be cancelled due to transport and security reasons – I had to reschedule the gig. My two options were Newark or Colchester. Newark was further away, not by much, but the fewer miles travelled, the better.

As it transpired, Newark had been a dry day. Certainly better weather than what was forecast for Colchester. Yesterday morning I started to rue my decision for going for Colchester. I just had to pray the weatherman got it wrong. He didn’t…so I just had to suck up my fate and deal with it.



I wanted to watch KT, but the weather was just gross. She’s so great and I love her set…but I was wearing this heavy coat and I was SOPPING! It really was raining at a constant flow when KT was on. Not the torrential downpour it could have been, but heavy enough.

Some people took to staying in the portaloos at the back of the park to watch KTs set in the “dry”. Lol. That was a weird kind of specialised commitment. Lol

I decided that once I had seen KTs set, I would buy a plastic poncho from the merch stall – change out of my grossly damp coat. Change into the PVC jacket I had in my backpack, put the poncho on and would hopefully stay dry through Pretenders set. That was the plan and hope, anyway.

The rain was levelling off by the time Pretenders set started. I missed the very start of the set, executing my plan in the portaloo (wardrobe change). Only just missed their arrival on stage and the very top of the song Alone. Chrissie was in ever defiant and triumphant top form. About the fourth song in, I hear the familiar rattle of Martin Chambers’ drum and then that opening guitar riff to Message Of Love, and I want to scream the park down. I was sssooo so happy! After being so gutted it was not on the setlist at Maidstone, I was so worried that if it was on it at my only other chance to see Pretenders at Grandslam, I’d be at the meet and greet and miss the song! But it was early in the set and I was in heaven…and it was the most amazing version.



I didn’t get to see the full Pretenders set, but saw quite a bit of the same set as last time, Kid, Hymn To Her, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I’ll Stand By You, Back On The Chain Gang…that was the cue to get to the merch stall, ready for the meet and greet.

The rain was dying out…and I was dry, to a degree. I just hoped for the opportunity to dry out some more while waiting for the band for the m&g. We were escorted over to a Premier Inn just across from the park. “Are we meeting the band here?” we all started to wonder. As it turned out, yes! We were.

We were seated in the front reception area. There was a a bar to the side. We were offered our choice of drink. I just had a coffee. I was still okay. It was all feeling fine. My hair was kind of drying out. It wasn’t looking QUITE as shambolic as I feared.

And, then we were lead into a private area of the hotel…and down a corridor. I saw Sara Battini down the end of the hall…and it started to hit home. Then Charlie’s head pops around the door and I see the sign on the door “Simple Minds DRESSING ROOM” – and…panic stations! Thankfully NOT to the point of hyperventilating or anything silly like that. But, I must have looked…affected, shall we say…as both (of the six of us doing the meet and greet) my only female companion and the lady coordinating us through the meeting itself were looking at me with concerned faces, saying “are you alright?” Lol. Oh, geez! NOT embarrassing at all! My female cohort (I think her name was Sally, from memory – her FIRST SIMPLE MINDS GIG AND SHE WAS ON A MEET AND GREET! BAPTISM OF FIRE!) went in to meet them first. The butterflies and everything were just coming along then…and I could hear Jim talking and I am just getting more nervous. All logic and rationality is leaving me.

Then it’s my turn. And…god, it really is just a blur. I have met all these people before…except Cherisse. I met Ged back in Feb…and I was so excited, I HUGGED HIM! Lol. This time I could barely shake his hand or even look him in the eye. I could barely look at any of them. And I wanted to say to Cherisse how lovely it was, at last, to meet her. But…I couldn’t say boo. I could just about muster a hello to all of them.

The line starts with Charlie. He’s always so super smiley and chipper, and he was so lovely! Sarah cupped my hands with hers. Poor Gordy! He must have seen me and thought “shit, it’s the crazy selfie woman, again!” Lol. Then I gets to Jim and, I could have been stepping into the Grand Canyon. I can’t bring myself to look at him. I can barely say hello to him, have the vocal strength to utter his name. And he’s like “yeah, we know Larelle” and I just want to die. I really just want the ground to swallow me up in all honesty.

And I am then rendered too much in a stupor to articulate what I wanted to say to Cherisse. I must have looked like a beetroot or something by this time. My blurred memory sees Cherisse looking at me with some concern and a furrowed brow. What a mess! And if Ged remembered me from Feb and Manchester…he must have wondered what happened to that super gregarious woman that pretty much ran up to him and hugged him. Lol

I’m then told to pose with the band for my photo op. Jim parts a way for me between him and Gordy (and I think for a brief second some logical thought happened “AT LAST! I MAY JUST GET A DECENT SHOT WITH GORDY, YAY!”)




I don’t even recall the feeling of Jim’s arm around me. No recollection AT ALL. BUT, I do remember tentatively placing my left arm around his waist. I really didn’t know what to do with it. Didn’t want to leave it dangling. What if I accidentally touched his bum…or worse?! “Nope, best to just…put my arm around him. OH, SHIT! I’M TOUCHING JIM!” Lol. Geez I’m a div!

He then does his usual thing…and said something…a quip…to fluster me, unnerve me (as if I wasn’t flustered enough already!), get a rise out of me. He does it EVERY TIME…and I never have a come back. This time was no exception…and a little part of me wanted to throttle him…but all the rest of me melted like candle wax…

And then there was the gig. And with it being my “last hurrah” until…maybe sometime next year? Who knows? I brought a camera to have my meet and greet photos taken on…but, I forgot to hand it over…so…might as well make the most of having it on me, I thought! I filmed several songs and took tons of pics. I was just snapping away…point and shot…hoping that in 25 crap pics, there’d be maybe two or three goodies.

I got some great footage, and not so great. But, it’s all a memento.
They were AMAZING. They always are. I can’t remember experiencing a shit gig. My own experience of Aix wasn’t great…but it wasn’t down to the band’s performance being disappointing. Far from it!

The set list was pretty much unchanging from Leeds and Maidstone. Of course, Leeds included Hunter And The Hunted, where it wasn’t at Maidstone…and Once Upon A Time was performed at Maidstone but was omitted at Leeds (with Hunter And The Hunted in its place). Last night there was no Let The Day Begin. The only omission.

They just make you forget your cares, the rain, how cold and drenched you feel (though I didn’t feel too bad considering the consistent downpour through the afternoon and into the early evening)…all other of life’s woes. Always uplifting and positive and powerful. Never do I feel bored or wishing I wasn’t there (Aix being a rare exception…for personal reasons).


As long as they continue to tour and play, I will be there (x3).

I’ll add pics and videos in separate posts as to not to clutter this one up too much.

All three Grandslam gigs I have enjoyed immensely. All three acts are exceptional. KT Tunstall is just a one woman powerhouse. The term “legend” gets overused…but not in the case of Chrissie Hynde. Never. And, yep…I still have the green-eyed envy…because she is out of this world…(and she got to shag Jim!….among…other things – WHO SAID THAT?! TSK TSK!)

And…Simple Minds are just my be all and end all. I really dunno what I was doing before 2014. “Coasting”? Some could argue I am STILL “coasting”…but I finally feel like I’m LIVING. DOING. BEING.

But there is still more living to do. More to do! More to be! More to live!

3 thoughts on “Review: Simple Minds – Pretenders – KT Tunstall: Colchester Castle Park – August 26th, 2018

  1. Saw them in Inverness on Saturday night. My life was made complete when they played ‘Hunter’.
    I was waiting for the Herbie Hancock keyboard solo bit when Charlie did some sort of guitar solo instead WTF???
    For me, that is the bit that makes that song…but obliterated with some noodling by Charlie.
    What a kick in the balls.
    Bring back Mick!

    • I kind of get your point. But it still works for me. Still an amazing song…and actually hearing it the second time at Colchester, I think the guitar solo works just as well. Mick is great, but not even HE played that keyboard solo like the Herbster did. Neither did Andy Gillespie. I don’t ever see Mick coming back. I really don’t think he is interested.
      I know there are fans who think a dedicated keyboard player is needed. And I feel the Americans won’t be happy to see a band without a keyboard player there dedicated to the spot on stage. It may be to the band’s detriment if they are considering going across the pond without one.
      Will Andy go with them? We’ll see!

  2. Cool. This was my first Simple Minds gig since something like 1988/1989. My wife and I prepared for the weather so I was nice and warm and dry in my big snow boarding coat (comfort won over style that day). We both thought it was a terrific afternoon/evening too and I definitely won’t leave it as long before seeing SM next time.

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