Paris Review – Part Two: ‘Song Please!’

Picking up where I left off from yesterday…

I didn’t really say too much about the actual soundcheck. And I can only remember two of the songs that were performed – Hypnotised (seemed pretty apt for me! Lol) and The Walls Came Down (which Jim said will be on the new album coming out). It all sounded great to me…as soundchecks go. Jim always feels the need to prefix it all with an apology of it sounding echoey and stuff. 

After that kind of engagement I always feel…a whole mix of emotions. I don’t even know anymore what the overriding feeling is? Relief? Joy? Overwhelmed? Emotionally shattered? I can feel both overwhelmed to be there and simultaneously feel as though I have no place…no right to be there. Happy…I think. Happy and grateful. Ever so grateful. 

I WAS PARCHED! 

It was 6pm and so we decided to try and grab something to eat and drink. We were able to do a little cheat (shh!) – I felt a little guilty for this, but hey – why not? The only thing that couldn’t be altered with the whole Paris show was the seats we had – which was fine. I had bought the best seats I could get as soon as Paris was on sale anyway, so it wasn’t like we were going to be stuck waaaaay at the back. The VIP treatment continues for the punters with actual VIP tickets and because we’d been in there for the experience, we were given little cards to be fast tracked through the queue when coming back to the venue for the gig itself. We really shouldn’t have got those as we were in standard seats – but I was sssooo thankful we got given them all the same. It meant we didn’t really have to get back to the venue TOO early and it would give us time to get a bit of a recharge.

We found an Italian place just back over the bridge, five minutes away from La Seine Musicale. It was teeming with people but there still seemed to be space and seats available. We were about to walk off just to check the few places a little further down the way when I could hear Don’t You (Forget About Me) being played through their sound system. Very canny ploy of theirs because it got Birdy and I to stop and rethink. Then a waiter stopped and looked at us like…are ya coming in or what? In we went! Birdy had a G&T and I had a non-alcoholic Bora Bora mixer, consisting mostly of pineapple and grenadine. We shared bruschetta. The Simple Minds music continued while we dined in Cafe Seguin – Alive And Kicking, Promised You A Miracle, New Gold Dream, all tunes I remember overhearing while there.

With a little time left we decided to take our VIP merch bags back to the hotel. The location of the hotel could not have been better. The only thing I didn’t like was crossing the couple of intersections we needed to cross when walking to/back from the hotel. French traffic is sssooo bad – and pedestrians don’t feel very high on your average French driver’s concerns. The crossings are marked on the road, and doubled up with red/green men – but even with a marked crossing and a green man you still have to check and double check that no one is wanting to bomb around the corner and knock you down. French roads, and Parisian roads in particular, scare the crap out of me!

We made it back to the hotel and then back to the venue in one piece. We were back at La Seine Musicale at 7.30pm and got fast tracked through to our seats. Birdy was convinced we were seated over to the side several rows back, whereas I thought we were going to be the same number of the rows back, but right bang in the front central block. I was right. Those front blocks of seats weren’t incrementally elevated though – they were all flat which meant not the clearest view of the stage but geez – I was more than happy enough where I was. 

We arrived when Roxy’s Love Is The Drug was playing. There is a song in the pre-show playlist that I HAVE to find out who it is by! I should have recorded a bit of it, but I didn’t think to do so. Damn! It’s bugging me! I like the song but have no idea who it’s by.


As the time gets towards 8pm, I find myself listening out for the opening piano chords to So May We Start? That’s when it all kicks in for me – SHOWTIME! That song instils such a buzz within me now. 

On Friday night it started…about 90 seconds later the band started walking out onto the stage. The crowd erupts. Full cacophonous joy by the time Jim appears and everyone is up off their seats – OMG! Act Of Love is SUCH a fantastic opening song! Those three songs just hit you like a freight train! Act Of Love, I Travel and Celebrate…just the most fantastic opening trio. I feel like a sicko for every time only recording Celebrate but I just want to get every conceivable different way Jim can deliver the “she rag doll / keeps him warm” line. He didn’t disappoint in Paris. “She’s just keeping him warm.” Is that all she’s doing? Really? That’s rather unfortunate for her if so….(She’s doing much more than that in my mind, that’s for sure! Lucky ‘doll’!)



There wasn’t much of a pit stop after that. A bit of banter from Jim, if memory serves me correct. Then on to Glittering Prize followed by, for me, the best version of Promised You A Miracle I’ve experienced in a while (Jim got the words right!!!! AMAZEBALLS! I’ve got over the one bugbear I had left of him saying ‘belief is the only thing’ rather than ‘belief is a beauty thing’ – but verses all in order and word perfect. AMEN!). I adored it!

I fall more and more in love with this particular arrangement of Book Of Brilliant Things with each performance of it. I can’t tell you how much I didn’t take to that whole ‘five to one/one to five’ line when I was first a SM diehard. But now….it’s just a perfect thing. It’s a rocking gospel. Sarah just SLAYS it every time. And her and Jim performing on it together is PERFECT! And I now love the ‘five to one/one to five’ line – because I think the thing that killed it for me was the words that followed; ‘dynamite and swings’…never liked that…but I loooooove the ‘with all the love she brings’ line. It’s just…sublime now. It’s incredible. I feel like I can take on the world after each performance of it. 

Hunter And The Hunted was, as ever, grand. Also loved how wonderfully soulful Mandela Day sounded on Friday night. Best performance of that song I’ve ever experienced also. Belfast Child also was exemplary.


I was thankful for the break in the set I tell ya, because I was knucking fackered! Lol. Equally I didn’t want it to stop. 

Soon after, the gang were back out on stage, minus Jim and Sarah, for a fab version of Theme For Great Cities. I took some footage of the lights hitting the crowd but the filming went a bit skewed. I’ll have to see if I can fix up the aspect ratio before posting. 

Dolphins I love…but I still don’t know where it should be in the set…wherever it is placed it just…I don’t know. Belfast Child is in a great place within the set, so is Speed Your Love To Me – but Dolphins? I am still finding it a little jarring. We get hyped up again from the start of the second set and the playing of Theme For Great Cities to then be brought down by Dolphins. We’re brought back up again with Waterfront so that’s grand. I guess Dolphins is now kind of in the best place it can be. It cannae OPEN the second set…so…

The rest of the set is faultless. I managed to make myself completely hoarse singing along – by the time we got to New Gold Dream my voice was all but gone. After all the ‘la la la la’s of DYFAM, I could barely conjure up the remaining la’s for New Gold Dream. Lol

Jim – bless you! I think you tried to sing the lines in Sanctify Yourself correctly. It seemed as though you made an attempt to, but ‘it wisnae happening’ so you went to your fallback position of … some lines out of order (and repeated) are better than no lines at all (girly!)

I’m not sure when it happened but towards the end…probably with a bit of time to pause during Let It All Come Down or Speed Your Love To Me, the realisation hit me that this would be my last arena gig on this tour and all I could think about was wishing I could do this forever and ever. 

Lemme see yer hauns

People ask me – those outside the fandom mostly – why do I go to so many shows on a tour? ‘Aren’t they all the same’? Not really. In some ways, yes…but it isn’t really down to the performance of the band as such, and what you get from observing them – it’s what you get from being there, the taking part. Being surrounded by like minds (no pun intended)…and the way the music makes you feel personally. It’s a life-affirming thing and I wish to god I could go to EVERY SINGLE GIG, EVERY NIGHT – because there is no other feeling like it. Nothing else compares. That’s what it is! That’s what has me going to gig after gig – that…injection! It’s incredibly uplifting. I never really appreciated that until this band – until Jim would talk about it in those terms – not as a performer but as a member of the crowd. As a music lover. As a concert-goer. I realise with the more gigs I go to, the more the live music experience is not just about seeing a musical performance. 

At the end of it, I felt like I had probably seen the BEST Simple Minds concert I have ever been to. Was it their actual best performance? Certainly particular songs, for me, were performed to their best on Friday night. Was it the best sound? It was great. I would say it was second best to Glasgow. I still can’t believe I’m saying the Hydro had the best sound – but it truly did! Olivier Gerard works magic! 

Sadly I missed out on the only other souvenir I’d have liked. Speaking of GG, as I just did, I was hoping for a setlist but I was beaten to it. Doesn’t matter. I have enough. And it is always lovely to catch up with GG. To extend words of thanks to him. He’s a lovely man.

I was PARCHED! I think Birdy wanted to wet her whistle also. We met up with Marc Lichtenstein and Christophe Remacle afterwards and headed round to Seguin Sound for some refreshments. And those two reprobates were there (see Part One). Thanks once again for the wonderful, kind things you both said to me. It was a pleasure to meet the both of you. I hope I’ll have the pleasure of bumping into either of you again at future gigs. It was also a pleasure to meet both Marc and Christophe.

Looking just like the hagged old fat bag of shit I feel like. But from a distance it (meaning me) looks okay.

Back at the hotel, I had my earplugs, yay! But I hardly slept a wink anyway. But it didn’t matter half as much this time. I was too overjoyed to care. I had minimal sleep. Could have done with knowing check out was at midday, rather than the 10am I thought it was! Oh, well.

The day was cooler on Saturday. We had time after check-out to go and have some lunch then get a taxi to the airport for the flight home. We decided on Cafe Seguin again. Birdy had a Sicilian salad, and I had a vegetarian risotto. It was absolutely beautiful! Cafe creme is my jam! I want to live in Paris just for cafe creme! The French do the best coffee I have EVER tasted – and it’s consistently good, no matter where you go. 

There’s not much else to say but…Thank you! To the best band in the entire universe! I’m coming up to 8 years as a ‘diehard’ Simple Minds fan (in the best fashion – stealing Jim’s birthday as my fan anniversary date) – and it’s been such a rollercoaster. But the ups happen way, way, WAY more than the downs. I will be counting down to Blenheim Palace – June 18th – I will be there, I will be there, I will be there!

Next gigs to come? Jimmy Webb in Edinburgh on June 3rd, followed by Crowded House at the Hydro on June 10th.

What Does Bob Know About Art Anyway?

“You don’t learn how to be an artist by going to school. It’s something you’re born with. It’s about observing the world – but laying down your own truth.” 

The quote above was at the end of Jim’s post today, credited to Bob Lefsetz. Before I continue on about Lefsetz I want to say that I could clearly see what Jim was trying to achieve with his post but by heck did he go about it the wrong way!

I believe it was Jim’s response to a ‘fan’ on SMOG having a bitch about Berenice’s ‘inability’ (in their eyes) to play the keyboard parts to Simple Minds songs correctly or fluently. The criticism was harsh and quite frankly unjust. All a guise for another “please can we have Mick, Derek and Mel back” endless fucking moan. I’m not going to get onto that topic – been there, done that…sssoooo fucking over it it hurts! 

Rightfully Jim highlighted that by listing her talents, Berenice is a more than capable musician and musical artist. Her parents are musicians, her brother, etc. She’s worked with countless others and produces work used on scores for television series, and collaborates with Glenn Gregory on the project Afterhere, among other things. If I listed all her work and credentials, this part of the post would go on for some time.

What brought it all crashing down for me (Jim’s post) and got my hackles up was the fucking Lefsetz quote! To me, it instantly sabotaged the whole reason why Jim was highlighting Berenice in the post in the first place. 

Let’s break this down. I believe someone can have a natural aptitude for something – especially when it is something that’s creative. Those that have it can find their development of their creativity ‘easier’ – ie: less strenuous, less methodical, less complex (perhaps), less developmentally difficult to achieve than those with seemingly no natural aptitude for the creative arts. But to say we’re ‘born with it’? Like an elusive “ta daaa” – just magicked up to you from…God…? No! It just isn’t true. 

I AM GOING TO LEARN HOW TO ARGUE THIS POINT IF IT KILLS ME! I want to put my counter argument across effectively and coherently, so the outcome is that Jim reconsiders ever quoting Bob fucking Lefsetz ever again! 

I feel let down on Berenice’s behalf with that quote because it takes away the hours of learning. The hours and hours of artistic development that has happened to get her where she is now. It takes away Jim’s counter argument to Mr Bring-back-Mick-Derek-Mel that Berenice has a rightful place in the band right now as the keyboard player as she is more than qualified to be there. 

Bob Lefsetz – a man who studied Art History at Middlebury College in Vermont (Wikipedia, 2022), really should know better from that education of his that artist development is LEARNED and you are NOT ‘born with it’.

You can develop art without schooling, yes, granted. But you are not born with these skills. Much like you’re not born already walking, talking, being able to use a toilet, knowing how to feed yourself, or cook, do mathematical equations, or write words down on a page, or draw a cat. 

My last week of study was REALLY hard. What I write here on my blog comes (mostly) naturally to me. It’s lovely when people tell me that I write well and I have a good way of expressing myself but I want to build on that. That is why I am doing this diploma at the OU. I want to progress. I want to GROW. I want to develop artistically. Because TRUE artists DEVELOP – THEY ARE NOT BORN WITH IT – THEY LEARN IT AND MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

What I was learning with my study this week – none of that comes naturally to me and it never has: creating characters, scenes, imagery, developing plots, etc, etc. I ended the study week feeling that it was something, with time, that I could develop and possibly end up having some grasp of and maybe even be good at…with a lot of practice. 

I was ssooo scared of this week of study. Scared and, to be honest, somewhat cynical. Because we have this wonderful, romantic notion that writers just spew forth their work. That it’s already all just there on their heads and they write it down. NO! The most incredible thing I learned this week was just what an incredibly hard graft it can be for some writers to get a novel produced. The many, many hours it takes, especially with redrafting and editing.

Towards the end of the week of study we were invited to (as we are during every week of coursework) take some optional further study. I generally always work through some if not all of the optional further study each week as I have the luxury of time on my side that a lot of my fellow students don’t. This week there were some audio clips to listen to with writers talking about the creative writing process and how they go about character development, genre of writing, narrative and structure (plot and story arcs), and lastly about redrafting and editing. One of the writers speaking was Tim Pears and he spoke about there being two types of writer; those who were good at redrafting and editing their own work, and those that needed help from an editor. Initially he felt that he fell under the first category and that he was quite adept at editing his own work. After a time he realised this was NOT the case and produced much better work with an editor helping him. Before we listened to the final audio clip, we were asked to think about how long we would think the writing of a novel would take on average. I thought I read somewhere some time back that it took about four months. For a first draft at least anyway. Some tweaks, etc…maybe six months, possibly eight. Published within a year, right? Well…Tim Pears said it would take him EIGHT MONTHS to get a first draft together and the redrafting and editing would take another TWO YEARS!!!!!

Lastly, I just want to mention Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hours rule’, playing Devil’s advocate as I do so because Gladwell’s theory has by and large been debunked, but – the fundamental piece of it is  – that it takes MANY HOURS of practice to develop skills is the key. Okay, we can also bring in the thing about giving chimps typewriters and after X amount of time they’ll produce the works of Shakespeare, ya da ya da – but the point of it all is – NO ONE IS BORN WITH IT!

If you’re born with it, why would you need to practice? Why would you have to hone your craft? Why would you produce some great work and some not-so-great work? 

And Bob Lefsetz can kiss my ass! (What is it they say about opinions and arseholes? 🤔😜)

And…I should reference this all properly, get my referencing skills honed…but this is for my blog and I cannae be arsed. Having said that, the Wiki reference to Lefsetz’s schooling is a clickable link.

Scotland – Two Gigs In Antitheses (For A Girl From The Antipodes)

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!

Jim and Charlie at Aberdeen meet and greet. (Meet and greetin’ in my case.)

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 view from the room in Aberdeen.

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. 

VIP goody bag – Aberdeen – meet and greet goody bags have gold labeled envelopes with a signed poster – soundcheck posters are unsigned in a silver labeled envelope.

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!

Obviously couldn’t video my own question being answered. Well, I guess I could have but it would have been fucking weird!

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. 

Thanks for reading!

I was sat way back, but recorded Celebrate anyway.

Simple Minds -Vega, Copenhagen: 7pm & 10pm – 10/03/2020

With the escalating cases of Covid-19 and the Danish government advising the curbing of public gatherings of 1000+ people, it was looking unlikely that the Simple Minds gig in Copenhagen was going to go ahead.

It was a concern to travel already. Both of us were well but who knows what others were like and if they were travelling responsibly? We contemplated not travelling at all if the SM gigs were in doubt.

We decided … why not? We may not get to travel for some time after this. Neither of us had ever been to Copenhagen. And it had been a VERY long time since we’d been overseas together (last time was a trip back to Oz in 2002 – the year I had whooping cough!)

To get round the restrictions on public gatherings, it was touted that the Minds do two shows. It would be amazing if they did, but I didn’t hold my hopes up. Two 25 song sets in one night? They’d all be frigging knackered to fuck!

Then there was official word. Yes – Simple Minds would perform TWO SHOWS IN ONE NIGHT for the Danes in Copenhagen. One show at 7pm and one at 10pm. To achieve this, the soundcheck and VIP fan experiences were called off. Damn!

As it happened, I had two tickets for the show. I originally bought myself a regular standing ticket. But then a couple of days later decided to upgrade and go to a soundcheck experience for the gig.

Email notifications came in from Ticketmaster Denmark. The first showing a refund for the soundcheck experience. The second, the issue of a replacement standard ticket. I still had two tickets. But BOTH had been allocated the 7pm show! What to do…

Come gig day, the weather was yuck. I booked a hotel not far from the venue, just a 10 minute walk away. I decided to head on down around lunchtime to see what was what. Maybe talk to a member of staff to see if there was a way to use one of the tickets I had to get into the second gig. There wasn’t really any venue staff around. There was band crew around though. I saw Del and asked if he was going to be singing the night. Charlie’s guitar tech (Mike?) was wandering about. And I saw GG (the FOH soundman). We had a hug, “no kisses!” he said. Lol. And a brief chat. He’s such a lovely man.

There wasn’t any sign of the band so best thought it would be good to go back to the hotel. I mean, if I AM going to chance getting in for both gigs, I better stay off my feet! We’d been out looking around the city the previous day and had walked MILES!

I was going to chance it. There was nothing on these tickets to say they were time specific. And if I could show a completely separate unused ticket for the other show, why would I not be able able to get in?

I got back down to the venue about 6.15pm. Those who had begun to lineup outside had already been let in. After dropping my jacket into the cloakroom, I went through with my first ticket. There was already a pretty full barrier of fans at the front. No room left in front of Jim. But there was a space left at the far end of Charlie’s (the left) side. I had a fairly clear view of everything but after a while realised I couldn’t see Berenice at all from that angle. Never mind. Hopefully I’ll get in a different position if I get through the next time.

Hearing all the mixtape of music that gets played before the show starts always heightens my anticipation of what’s about to happen. A wry smile spread across my face as they started to play Pop Muzik. But you know it’s all just about to kick off when they start playing Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker’s version of Gloria.

It was obvious from song one we were going to have something a little different go on. An altered set(s) to accommodate the two shows. I was expecting a trimming of songs. There had to be. There is no way they could perform 50 songs in one night!!

The set started with Theme For Great Cities. An absolutely stonking version! And it was a chance for (the usual shy and retiring) Gordy Goudie to strut his stuff at centre stage. Then as we near the end of the track, Jim and Sarah arrive on stage to much cheering and we plough straight on into Waterfront and She’s A River.

A minute or two to catch his breath, Jim is on one of his little stand up routines. Lol. (I’m taking the pish! He’s beautiful. He could stand on that stage, literally just saying, “blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah” and I’d be transfixed. Lol) talking about when SM started out how they’d never believe they’d play in places like Copenhagen, and that there’s no way it would be happening 40 years later. But to then be doing TWO SHOWS IN ONE NIGHT?! No way! And more incredible still, that as Scots, they’d do two shows in one night and only get paid FOR ONE?! Lol And on we go to Let There Be Love.

Then my favourite part of the set…a block of early 80’s gems – I Travel, Love Song, Glittering Prize, and The American….before things calmed for a spine-tingling Belfast Child.

The reigns go to Sarah as Jim takes a short break and she performs Book Of Brilliant Things. In all honesty, this song has been a bane for such a long time with me. I LOOOOOOOOVE the studio version on Sparkle In The Rain but it became a completely reworked song a couple of years later, and never went back to its original state. It has taken me a really, REALLY long time to….accept the change in the song. Sarah’s performance of it on Tuesday night, both times – and even BETTER on the second performance were just incredible. You just cannot not (oxymoron I know!) be swept up in her selling of the song. She’s just brilliant. And so emotive and so uplifting. She turns it into a gospel song. Jim said a long time ago, in an interview with Billy Sloan, that the song is like a child’s ode. Well…not now. It is the modern day’s Mahalia Jackson’s gospel delivery. Hallelujah! Amazing!

Then after that, Jim returns for the beautiful Someone, Somewhere In Summertime. And can I dream on the footage that I shared via FB Live that at one point he was singing to me?! Pffft! Of course not! As if he would!

A lovely version of See The Lights follows. Every time he sings the line “I’m too proud to cry”, I’m thinking “I’m not, Jim! I bloody love you to the moon and back and you make me cry buckets.”

In show one, it’s Dolphins that follows (after the Banging On The Door intro) and it’s always gorgeous. In show two, it was the ever-sensual and ephemeral Hunter And The Hunted. Some say Someone Somewhere In Summertime is the ultimate Simple Minds song, others say Speed Your Love To Me. Others again say Waterfront. But for a multitude of things….even though I always have Boys From Brazil and Wonderful In Young Life as my top personal faves…for the overall summing of a song that embodies everything that Simple Minds is, was, ever will be – it has to be Hunter And The Hunted! The ambiguity of the lyrics, that somehow manage to be sexy, sensual, romantic, mystical, haunting, eerie and menacing all at the same time. That thing Jim described as “romance mixed with the poison of real life”. Hunter And The Hunted is the epitome of that. Musically funky, sensual and haunting too. The song has everything. I was in heaven once again hearing it live. Ecstasy.

And the ecstasy continued as “the siren” wailed in for New Gold Dream. Some Simple Minds songs just never, ever, ever get old (the one performed before it – that shall remain nameless does get a bit old for me…but I still dutifully sing-along to the 8 minutes of “la la las” that ensue) and NGD is one of them. It’s a call-to-arms for me. We have one life…let’s make the most of it! Eureka!

Then we are at quite possibly the highlight of the night for me…both times…(though…HATH…BOBT…both amazing…Belfast Child too…HE DID IT TWICE! Hats off to you, Sir Kerr!) Berenice Scott and Sarah Brown performing Speed Your Love To Me. Berenice…a voice so wonderfully suited to it. Just…fragile and tender and beautiful. Wow!

Mainstay encores of Alive And Kicking and Sanctify Yourself and…that was it. Two of the most amazing Simple Minds shows I’ve seen yet.

Second show I was almost dead centre stage, in front of Jim…nowhere else in the world I want to be. In my dreams during the shows I believed I had him poke his tongue out at me and give me a wink…but I’m just a silly dreamer, and I’m sure it was meant for some stunning size 6 brunette behind me.

Everyone else was on top form. I had quite a bit of interaction with Charlie during show one. And Cherisse saw me and smiled and nodded and I gave her a wave at show two. She’s always so wonderful to me. They all played so amazing. And at the end of show two, you’d have never believed that’d just performed 36 songs over 4 hours! Incredible!

It was the most amazing night. And one I felt was rare enough for me to have my phone out for longer than I normally would. I was at two shows to be fair – exceptional circumstances, and I was as close to Jim as I was ever going to be while he was performing on stage…so I snapped away. NOT ALL NIGHT – as someone accused me but for around 20 minutes across both gigs. I filmed two songs from show one to Facebook Live – and filmed two more on video from shows two. Took hardly any photos from show one. But snapped away some more for show two. I could explain further as to why…but I don’t have to justify myself to anyone. Suffice it to say, it was kosher. And if Jim had been pissed off about it, I’m sure he’d have let me know!

And so, here is a smorgasbord of photos from Tuesday night. ENJOY! (And some video too!)

Simple Minds 40 Years Tour Program

Wow! It is looking GORGEOUS! And…I’m no expert (but by now I pretty much SHOULD be…) but I am certain some of Virginia’s photos have been used in it – she did tell me she was approached and was hoping some would be used.

VIOLA! (Well, I am awaiting confirmation, but I think I know her stuff well enough these days to detect it.)
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Oh, but there are lovely images from Laurie Evans and Richard Coward in there besides.

The book looks STUNNING! (Just like the main man featured inside. OMG…Jim Kerr, you are sssooo frigging beautiful!)

Kerr’s Got Another Babe…

Well, well, well….maybe he DOES listen to fans after all? Those who make a loud enough fuss, kicking and screaming that the dynamic of Simple Minds was fundamentally broken without a full-time keyboard player in the fold.

Enter Berenice Scott!

And…we are now back to full contingency.

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