I haven’t shared very much about the tour here in all honesty. Unlike with previous tours where I felt very much a part of things most of the time, with the Acoustic Tour and then – with a sticky moment in between – the Walk Between Worlds tour, I was in “the heart of the crowd”. Even to a lesser extent I felt very much a part of things during the Big Music Tour – even though I only went to two gigs in 2015 – it was the early days of my fandom and my enthusiasm was…infectious…and feeding my own hunger for more.
This blog started in 2015…starting its life on Tumblr and then moving here to be a fully fledged website in its own right, carrying the “Priptona Weird” URL. Rather cringingly it started as pretty much a visual Jim Kerr “drool wall”, thinly veiled as a “Simple Minds” blog.
After a time I wanted it more and more to move into more “serious” territory. Still have some FUN, of course – I have never been trying to compete with Simon’s Dream Giver Redux site, nor did I ever want to! I was a mere cub in no way equipped to compete with a roaring lion and I knew that. I always wanted to have my blog have SOME of me in it. Present it as MY Simple Minds world.
I had been happy with where I had taken it and where it was going in recent years. Diversifying somewhat to have more generalised musical input – gig reviews, new album release reviews, interviews – all of that side of things makes me “proud” (be careful using that word, kiddo!) – hmmm, okay…”gratified” (there we go, that’s better!) with the state the blog was in during 2020 and 2021 and the couple of years preceding the pandemic. The work I put into the Minds Music Monday posts celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call feels like the pinnacle of it all. Little did I know that as I was putting all of that together, Graham Thomson was writing Themes For Great Cities. I felt like all my work was a precursor to his amazing book.
This new year promised to be so great. The book I just mentioned was due for release in January and I felt I had scored myself a bit of a coup for this blog in being able to get hold of a copy of the book before its release date and review it here. I was delighted to also be given the opportunity to have a couple of copies of it to give away.
The release of Act Of Love was also a fantastic thing to happen early on this year.
I was counting down to Paris, the first gig of the recommencing of the tour – for me personally. In actual fact I think the tour WAS meant to recommence where it had stopped – in Copenhagen – but one last minute reschedule meant that Paris would not be until May and the new start of the tour with my personal run of gigs would be in Aberdeen.
Over the past six months, particularly within the past three months – more than ever before – I have felt on the outer. Being a “social butterfly” never really comes comfortably to me. I have spent many years sheltered and comfortable in my own company. Perhaps it is part of continued undiagnosed neurodiversity? Even when I do engage in social situations, I have ALWAYS felt inept. These recent weeks have felt no different. In fact, they have only compounded my feelings of awkwardness and ineptitude even further.
My retreat is here. This blog. Even within the online social network these days – a place I felt initially much safer in “socialising” in, I once again feel on the outer fringes. I’m not really having any involvement with any of the Simple Minds group pages. Just the odd thing that I may feel particularly vocal about or eager to express – like yesterday with sharing the review of Sarah’s album in Mojo magazine on SMOG. These days my interaction is an exception to the rule.
The work I did for this blog last year for the Sons/Sister 40th Anniversary I wanted to emulate for New Gold Dream. I was looking forward to that. But now it’s April and if I want to do something I know I should be starting NOW with the release of Promised You A Miracle as the first single release for the album. Minds Music Monday was put on hiatus for the tour – but frankly since I started my study, MMM has been neglected by and large.
The tour has been going since March 31st, and the band just played their first mainland European gig last night at the Ziggodome in Amsterdam. They continue with the arena leg of the tour through Europe until near the end of May. Paris is in 16 days time and I am frightened to fuck about it. I don’t travel well internationally at the best of times but just all the extra logistics involved in what really is such a short journey is positively freaking me out. I have so few gigs left to enjoy though I really don’t want to miss it. And…I have a meet and greet AGAIN. And one final chance of a NICE photo with Jim and Charlie. Don’t get me wrong…I love that one from Aberdeen. It has a personal significance to it for me that I really love – I just wish that Jim and Charlie had been framed in it better and not look like they are suffering from epic cases of jaundice! Lol. And I am ssoooo bummed that they lost the Newcastle photos and I couldn’t take advantage of going to another UK gig as compensation. So…a lot hinges on Paris.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I haven’t shared much of any of this tour so far here on this blog. I haven’t even shared all of my own photos from Newcastle as yet (rectified above). You know…the web is AWASH with stuff – especially on the SM group pages on Facebook. There’s plenty to see there. I feel little need in sharing any of it here. Which in turn is starting to make this blog feel…surplus to requirements. A combination of my continued concentrated attention to my studies as well as just feeling less and less part of it all.
So where does this blog go? It’s called “Priptona’s Simple Minds Space” after all! It’s not “Larelle Read” – my own actual personal blog has lain abandoned for YEARS – and it is rightfully the place I should be writing about my academic endeavours on but I guess I started talking about my academic pursuits here as a way of highlighting why things might be a bit “Minds light” on the blog at the moment.
Truly, I know the only person who cares about this blog is me…and even I’m worried that the enthusiasm is dying. At least for it to be the kind of thing it had been for the past, say, four years. A good blend of lots of Simple Minds stuff, with broader music based features, some fantastic posts (if I can blow my own trumpet for one nanosecond) and pretty darn good interviews – for a rank amatuer.
Again, where do we go from here? I don’t know. I really do hope I’m just feeling a dose of PGD (Post Gig Depression) and things will pick up again. Perhaps after Paris?
We’ll see. Until then, thanks for listening and reading and continuing to visit this old mishmash of crap that is “Priptona’s Blog”.
I went looking through some of the local papers I have access to online and this one for Tuesday’s gig at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena inside the Nottingham Post was succinctly full of praise.
The UK leg of the arena tour comes to an end tonight in Liverpool – followed then by just a single Dublin gig (I had booked to return to see them in Dublin – should have been flying over there today but decided to knock it on the head and wait for Paris), with the band then touring mainland Europe with arena shows until the end of May.
A couple of weeks downtime then. A run of festival dates then kick in for the guys begin in June, starting in Oslo at the OverOslo Festival on June 10th and 11th. They return to the UK a week later to headline an evening at the Nocturne Festival at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on June 18th. They remain busy in Europe through the course of the summer and return to the UK with four shows bringing the tour to its close in Belfast Custom House on August 9th, Audley End House in Saffron Walden, Essex on August 11th and finally a double header at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh for the Summer Sessions Festival in August 12th and 13th. The final show being a benefit concert for UNICEF for Children in Ukraine, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of New Gold Dream with the album being performed in its entirety.
I have Paris on May 6th, Blenheim Palace in June 18th and the two Edinburgh gigs left to come – and that will bring me up to a total of 31 gigs (counting Copenhagen as TWO gigs) in the past seven years. That ain’t a bad run! Considering in four of those seven years they either did very limited touring, or no touring at all, I’m pretty happy with that statistic.
The next lot of gigs to come are spaced out nicely and won’t impede upon my study too much, so it’s all good.
For the gigs I went to, I had a ball. They were amazing! And I wish I could have gone to others but it wasn’t possible this time. I am excited for the ones to come.
For those going to Liverpool tonight, I hope you all have the best time.
I might not have felt such anguish. I wasn’t even bothered about a photo. It was never for that. Oh, but it’s lovely! Obviously I’m not…but Jim and Charlie are – and Jim’s smiling! I know that’s not exactly a rare thing…but it was feeling that way for me, personally.
It all started very early. About two and a half years ago, in fact. These two gigs, Aberdeen and Glasgow, were originally scheduled to happen a few months apart. I can’t even remember the original dates now – but I think Glasgow was in April and Aberdeen was for August. Then the shit hit the proverbial in March 2020 and numerous reschedules saw the two gigs placed a day apart. Taking all logistical factors into account, the best option for Aberdeen seemed to be to drive – so the theory went!
We (me and the OH – the only driver in this relationship) set off at 10.15 am. I had arranged to get a Ultimate Fan Experience ticket from my friend, Thomas. Information sent out to Ultimate Fan/Soundcheck Experience ticket holders stated that registration for the VIP experiences would take place between 3.30pm and 4.25pm – ie: get your butt there by 4.25 AT THE LATEST!
The travelling started well. We got to Dundee in good time, arriving around 12.15. We stopped at an ASDA on the outskirts of the city. One with charging bays so we could top up the EV we hired. That was the theory! In practice…? Firstly, the charge points at the ASDA were not compatible with the connector to our EV. So I searched for another. There was one a mile away. Great! Nothing much lost in having to travel a mile along the road to the next one…. Except, that mile was done in crawling traffic and then I followed the Google Maps navigation to a T and it gave me the wrong entrance point for the garage where the charge point was. By the time we got into that garage, about 45 minutes had elapsed.
No worries! It’s a fast charge point. It’ll get us topped in no time at all! Except…it wasnae working. Fuck! Okay….where’s the next one? Camperdown Leisure centre. Okay! It’s only another mile away. The charge point was the wrong type. Then to Camperdown Country Park. Too slow! Then, FINALLY to one by a community centre in the east of the city. We sat there for…I can’t even remember how long….maybe an hour…possibly. FREEZING TO DEATH.
Anyway, we topped up enough to get us to Aberdeen. JUST enough. We spent the rest of the journey looking at the miles we had left to travel compared to the charge left in mileage on the car. And the time it would take to get to the P&J Live arena. If it all went okay from this point, I would get there about 4.15pm. Real touch and go shit.
We make it to the P&J car park with SEVEN MILES of charge left and we arrived at 4.12. I was BUSTING for the loo! I get to the VIP registration desk and get myself checked in. Then I head straight for the ladies. I find Thomas and his wife in the queue to go into the arena for the soundcheck. I’m relieved to have made it but am so worried that the OH will not find a fast charge point to charge the car up – especially with the limited range left. I left her in a complete state of panic about how critically low the car’s charge is. It’s all I can think about.
I want to be excited to be there but my worry for the OH and the car and her anxiety and my own stupid anxiety of being in front of Jim for the first time in over two years is just churning me up inside and making me want to wretch. Having made it to the meet and greet on time was no comfort. I felt guilty for my relief at making it, and guiltier still for putting my OH through this kind of crap. And on top of all that, if I got an “icy” vibe from Jim…? That would just make the day a hell.
The soundcheck was great. Very relaxed. There were some great questions asked and Jim had the rest of the band engage in the Q and A. I wish I could remember the question the lady asked that I liked the most – but I was in such a state at the point, I’m surprised I can remember any of it!
The soundcheck ends, and those on the soundcheck experience only leave the arena for those partaking in the meet and greet to stay behind. I was the penultimate turn. I nearly tripped over the step of the barrier on the way to being stood in front of Jim and Charlie. I said some gobbledegook of some kind – trying to form words, not really being able to look at either of them. And before I know it, I am being asked to face the camera for a couple of photos and are then given my marching orders.
Worry and stress all got the better of me. I was so low at that point…I probably misread things. I dunno. The day felt cold…
Our seat were side on to the stage. The P&J is a strange shaped arena. I’m not sure I like the arena set up much, in all honesty. Theatres and those approximately 3000-5000 capacity venues are what I like most.
The venue wasn’t to capacity. I’d say it was maybe three quarters full. The band sounded great! Security were having fun controlling some people in the crowd and a scene kicked off right by where we were seated to the degree where I Travel was completely interrupted for me.
Celebrate wasn’t though. And Jim did his sexy “she rag doll” delivery – which I liked (understatement!).
The audience in Aberdeen were otherwise quite subdued. The acoustics in the place was pretty good. It’s a strange rectangular shape.
As for the band themselves? Amazing. Like they had not had a two year enforced break from performing AT ALL. The only hiccup during the whole night was just at the start of the second verse of Belfast Child, Jim’s mic cut out on him. It took all of 60 seconds (quick as a flash!) for a guy to come running on stage with a replacement. They started the song again from scratch and it was perfect!
In the state I was in, I had tears rolling down my face for Hunter And The Hunted, and again for Someone Somewhere In Summertime.
I had the briefest of chats to GG (Olvier Gerard) afterwards and he gave me a setlist, which I was grateful to receive.
I left the arena with a heavy heart. A mix of relief, anxiety, dread and melancholy that I was worried that I wouldn’t get to shake for Glasgow.
The guesthouse we were staying at was only a couple of miles from the P&J. The OH was able to collect me from the underground car park she dropped me off at. We were at the guesthouse around 11.15pm and we were settled in bed just after midnight, hopeful of a restful sleep for an early setout the next morning.
The day started sunny in Aberdeen. I was only mildly hopeful that it was a sign. A sign that, if nothing else, the journey home would be smoother. We set off at 7.45am. We had a near to fully charged car (with a 3 mile critically low charge the night before – the OH finally found a working fast charge station and got the car back up to 95% capacity) – more than enough to get us to Dundee safely and with plenty of time on our side.
We were going to head straight to the chargepoint that worked out for us in Dundee the previous day. We got there just after 9am, but the charger was being used by someone else, so the search began again. This time I knew exactly what type of charger to look for and found another set of chargers just a couple of miles away from where we were. It had FIVE charge bays – and rapid ones too. We got there and were able to make 50% recharge in around an hour. It gave us more than enough charge and buffer in reserve to get us back to Glasgow.
We got home at around 12.30pm, drained but thankful to be home in plenty of time with an uneventful drive. Time for me to chill a bit. Have a coffee, a shower and just get myself prepped for the Hydro gig.
I didn’t want to turn up late again, so I had the OH drop me by the Hydro at at 3.45pm. I go in, get to the VIP registration desk and the lady serving me says “your question has been chosen for the Q and A today”. She hands me a piece of paper and says “Here’s your question. Erm, hang on…that’s your name, isn’t it?” – pointing to my name on the sheet. I had forgotten the ticket was booked in my OH’s name and so my name wasn’t matching up with the name on the VIP list. “Yes, that’s me. My partner booked the ticket for me.” “Oh, right. Okay, that’s great. If you could make sure that you stand by that popcorn kiosk just over there by 4.20pm so I can take all the people asking questions in together as a group, that will be great.”
Before she showed me the paper in my head I’m thinking “I’m going to get to ask Charlie a question, that’ll be fun!” as I had put questions in for both Jim and Charlie separately. And so…I just assumed it would be a question I had asked Charlie that got chosen, but when she showed me the paper, I saw it was my question for Jim that got picked. Oh, holy fucking shit!!!! After the embarrassing crap and that…vibe I thought I felt in Aberdeen the day before, I now had to have a microphone thrust in my face so I could ask Jim a question!!! OMFG!
Then the fun begins! I keep reading the question. Trying to implant it in my head so I wouldn’t have to open the page up and ask him – I’d just be ready. But with each read, the more it was galvanising the realisation that I would have to speak directly to him!
Two ladies were standing around the popcorn stand with me. After a while one of them asked “was your question picked too?” “Yes”, I said. “Are you nervous?”, she asks. I nod a yes. “Aaw, you’ll be fine! I bet you have a way better question to ask than me. Mine’s a silly one. I can’t even believe it got chosen! They mustn’t have had many to choose from.” I said, “Hey, they couldn’t have thought it that silly, otherwise it wouldn’t have been picked.” “Oh, no”, she said, “it’s really stupid.” But it wasn’t, it was a fab question!
I’m freaking out in the soundcheck. Again, worried how Jim will react when he sees me there – AGAIN! Pretty sure I’m a main contender for the “Stalker of the Decade” award or something. I’d be sick of the sight of me, that’s for sure! I know my question will be asked of me last which of course just ramps up all the anxiety and nausea. I try and wash it away so I can enjoy everything else, take in everyone else’s questions and take in the songs – watch Jim without being soooo obvious it hurts.
There’s a French lady that asks a question before me, and they took some time answering that. When the questions are more broad, Jim opens it up for the rest of the band to reply. So, I know it’s the penultimate question and as the band are giving their responses, my heart rate has jumped to 120+ BMP. It actually feels like it is going to break out of my chest. It’ll be my turn next. I see the lady with the mic extending the pole so it can reach me – that heightens my anxiety further. All through the soundcheck I am saying my question over and over. “Get the wording right! Don’t fluff it! Don’t stumble over your words. DON’T DO YOUR NERVOUS LAUGH!”
Here we go…crunch time! Mic in my face…I start with “Urm” – sssoooo professional! “Which line of a Simple Minds lyric are you most proud of having written?” I said it right, yes!! Here it comes! I know he’s gonna make a thing about me using the word “proud” – I know he will. But…how else do I ask this question? What other word can I use in its place?
BINGO! My brain is in meltdown right now so I can’t remember his exact words…but he said something about me choosing the word “proud”. I knew you would, Jim (as if he’s here. Lol) – I just knew you would!
Didn’t know how else to ask it. And I had so many other scenarios in my head of how the reply would go. I kind of expected a slightly evasive response – in a way hoping that maybe the question would be batted back to me with a “what’s YOUR favourite line?” He might have been too scared I’d say “semi-monde” lol, or “she rag doll” or …. I dunno. But had it come back to me, I was ready – because for the past couple of years it has been “when the other side of midnight calls, remind me I’m glad to be here”.
It didn’t come back to me – and in my daze I don’t remember how it all went (that…overwhelmed immediate mind blank I get when things mean far too much) but he mentioned misheard lyrics and spoke of a lady thanking him for writing her (then) 4 year old daughter’s favourite song. A song her daughter called the “Sadie Song”. “Why does she call it the Sadie Song”? “Because she thinks the words are Sadie One, Sadie Two, Sadie Three…” It was sweet. How could I not smile? My heart slowly melting away and my anxiety subsiding, just a little. Was I fully at ease? No! Was I enjoying it? In a weird sadistic sense, yes. Did it feel like a weight had lifted? Yes. Did Jim give a stellar performance? You betchya!
For the rest of the evening too. It was a truly stunning gig. This was my third Simple Minds “home crowd” gig – and this was the one that REALLY felt like it had that atmosphere to it. I didn’t feel the effect of that too much at the RCH in 2017 for the Acoustic tour – even taking into account that Jim’s dad was there and I saw other Kerr and Burchill relatives there and all that. And at Barras – the band – and Jim in particular seemed too nervous. It was the first show and the debut of a new album in full – I think the magnitude of it made it feel uncomfortable. That was my experience of the Walk Between Worlds Barras gig.
But last night? It was PROPERLY electric! A party atmosphere. Everyone was there for a whale of a time and the band were TOTALLY “on form”. From the get go – amazing! My only criticism is…I’m not sure the structure of the setlist flows right. Love Song and the Belfast Child seems a little…jarring in contrast, to me, anyway. Again, with She’s A River and then Dolphins.
I wasn’t sold on the setlist as a whole at Aberdeen. I was really saddened that due to how these past two years has panned out, any 40th anniversary nod to SAF/SFC has passed by and only Love Song and Theme For Great Cities remain. I’m gutted The American is off the setlist, but I understand why it is – it *is* meant to be a “hits” tour as Jim rightly points out three songs into the night by saying “We’ve just played three songs and none of them were ‘hits’!” It now being its anniversary year, it is right for New Gold Dream to have FIVE songs on the setlist. With four songs from Sparkle In The Rain and four from Once Upon A Time as well, it’s a setlist heavy with songs from the first 10 years of the band’s existence. If we discount Act Of Love as being entirely “new” – the most recent songs in the catalogue on the setlist are She’s A River (1995) and Dolphins (2005).
For me, I’m not sure whether I’d have a play about with the flow of it.
The things that work are – the placement of Book Of Brilliant Things – and its arrangement now. It has taken me a looooooong time to warm to this arrangement of BOBT – it is ssooo vastly different to the album version. But I love Sarah’s arrival on stage for the performance and I love that Jim is actually dueting with Sarah on it this time. It’s fuuuunnnky! It’s great.
The start of the second set is great. Theme then Waterfront is awesome. The stop-starts are Love Song then Belfast Child, then She’s A River then Dolphins.
The addition of Chelsea Girl last night in Glasgow was great. It could do with being there permanently for me. (Maybe have The American at the soundcheck – she hints for Newcastle or Paris *praying hands*)
The stage props, the big screens, the lighting – all PHENOMENAL! It’s an AMAZING set. A mind-blowing backdrop. Wow!
From a wash of Laurie Evans’s photos used at the start of the show with Act Of Love, to the showers of gold for Glittering Prize, to the wonderful “Badlands” landscape images for Hunter And The Hunted, to the video images for Belfast Child, the Clyde images for Waterfront, the Once Upon A Time style images for the song itself – it all is laid out to perfection. Spectacular.
The crowd were electric last night. They were really feeding the band. You could feel it. It was an amazing gig. Even without the personal added joy of the soundcheck and my question being answered, I would have LOVED this gig.
I loved this gig! And I am so looking forward to Leeds and Newcastle in the next few days and Paris in the next few weeks.
That’s what I’d say if I left a comment. I was crying too, but for different reasons. It’s beautiful when it’s like that. A shame it can’t always be that way…
I have to say that the Q and A was odd. We’ve been asked to submit questions via email before the shows and yet last night a member of the M&G team stood at one end of the group of fans at the soundcheck and they got to ask the questions…?? Weird that.
I dunno. I can’t even string two words together anyway, so why am I worried? We’ll see what happens this afternoon, I guess…
The day is here! By the time this post goes up on the blog we’ll be on the road to Aberdeen. The forecast is for sleet and as a precursor to it, I have been freezing cold ALL DAY (I scheduled this post last night – aka Monday night).
The more gigs I go to, the worse the anguish leading up to them gets. Why am I putting myself through this?!
The album signing, the meet and greets….they just make me want to boak (be physically sick for those not au fait in Glaswegian patter). The thought of Jim dreading seeing me….
Fingers crossed it will all be okay and I look at this and wonder what all the fuss was about. Pffft! 😂😂😂😂
I’m looking forward to hearing Act Of Love played live. I’ve avoided hearing it so far.
I feel like that woman that I met at Liverpool on the Acoustic Tour – her saying to me every few minutes for two hours, “I feel sick, I feel sick.”
I do feel sick…with anticipation and dread. The mere idea that this man is just not looking forward to seeing me just makes my heart want to implode inside my ribcage.
Put on your best performance, please, Jim? Let me go away with the delusion that the feeling is mutual – that you were happy to see me. That, perhaps, you even missed me…a little. Lol. Yeah…I know! What a dreamer!
In the meantime, I have study to do. And, Scott – worry not! I didn’t “cram” much. I embellished some. I am a part-time student with full-time hours at her disposal and this was a light week of study due to the previous week being given over to us working on our assignment. It was an approx. 7 hour study week, opposed to the usual 12/13 hour week – so that’s why I could get the week done in one day. It wasn’t coursework as such, either. It was about “Academic Integrity” so…all about our journey as students and mastering quoting other people’s work, in-text referencing, paraphrasing, plagiarism and all that side of it. It’s all good, Scobes – dinnae fash yersel.