Almost one year ago to the day was, not only my last Simple Minds concert to date, but the last concertI I went to full stop.
I had 13 other Simple Minds gigs to come – Paris, Bordeaux, Leeds, Dublin, Glasgow, Blenheim Palace, Taormina, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Aberdeen – then off to the holy grail gigs in Melbourne, Sydney and Bimbadgen.
To have 13 to come couldn’t have ended up more unlucky.
Added to that all other gigs I had racked up, including Crowded House, Primal Scream, Jimmy Webb, John Grant, Warm Digits and probably others I have forgotten about. Plus ones I have added to the list since lockdown, including Scritti Politti and Field Music.
Happy One Year Of Covid Pandemic anniversary! Yay!
Here’s a Love Song for you (recorded by yours truly in Copenhagen last year)…
Most fans are talking about dates and wanting news…or if they’re not, they’re going on about how they miss how the band “really were”… “back then” when they (the fans, that is) were teens. Some are reminiscing about Street Fighting Years, which is all well and good too. We are all looking for ways to occupy ourselves in these uncertain times.
But…the thing I miss…the thing I crave? JIM INTERACTING WITH US!
Maybe there is a cycle or a pattern that…because I am a relative “babe” in terms of Simple Minds fandom, I have yet to see, witness or experience? We’ve pretty much had an online presence and rapport (I say ‘we’ve’ to imply SM fans in general) with the band for 20 years now.
And I fully appreciate that this makes me sound like one of those “when the band were REALLY good” hark-back-to-days-gone-by types. But it just used to feel – until very recently – that he actually LIKED to interact with us. It didn’t come across as a burden or an obligation, or part of the “keep ‘em sweet” machinations of management or some such. He appeared genuinely keen to interact.
Perhaps we have bored him? Or we no longer serve a purpose?
He did give full warning of his intentions in that “my lips are sealed” post on SMO back in June last year. Well, not so much of intent to stop as such, but it was a telling thing that it was all about the social interactivity and his posting on social media.
And what about these posts that I’ve published so regularly over the years. Why do it? What is the point, if any, outside of promoting, and informing the ongoing actions of SM? And will I continue to do so as frequently in future? I’m not sure what the answer to all of that is?
Jim Kerr on Simple Minds Official Facebook page, June 21st, 2019
I dunno. I have nothing else to say. The posts are there…you know. They still happen. But not as much as before. But…the thing that remains missing, the thing that is gone is him responding to us. Replying with retorts and quips and fun little things. And sometimes with a nice meaty reply, responding to a question someone had asked, etc. And he’d give a wonderfully detailed response sometimes. And those would be amazing.
That was one thing I was really looking forward to with the Soundcheck in Copenhagen. There was meant to be a Q and A as well in which you could put forward questions. And yes! I put a question forward and if you know me at all, you’ll be able to guess it (and no, it was NOT “Jim, will you marry/shag me”! Lol. For I already know the definitive answer to that one!). Again, I am not overly upset or downhearted about that. I am just so thankful for seeing those two shows.
Am I upset about missing other shows this year? To a degree. But I understand the circumstances. I appreciate what’s going on and I think it is right that we should curb the mass gatherings for now to try and stem the rate of infection around the world.
But the thing I miss…the one thing I miss and long for above all else right now is…feeling like I…we…could talk to Jim. And already in the safest way possible…online…no passing on any germs. That…rapport…there was a reciprocation that was implied and felt. And because it is gone it feels like he just…hates me. And so I keep questioning it. “What the hell did I do to upset him?” I just end up projecting it all inwardly. Like it’s all my fault that all this interactivity seems to have died down and gone away.
Just been trying to keep myself entertained while being bailed up at home. Been doing bits every day.
Jim. Charlie. Now Ged. I’d like to think I have good enough photos to make a piece for every member of the band, but think I’ll struggle for Berenice and Cherisse. They’re just too far back from the front of the stage. And the two times Berenice performed Speed Your Love To Me – I just wanted to enjoy the performance and kept my phone firmly in my handbag.
I’ll see what I can come up with in the next few days.
After show two I hung around the stage to see if a setlist might be on offer. After about 10 minutes I decided to give up. But before leaving the venue I thought “I’ll go over to GG and say goodnight.”
“How was it?”, he asked. “Amazing!”, I said. “Did you get to see both shows?” “Yes.”
“Ah!”, he says “wait”, and opens a drawer and hands me a setlist “I put this aside for you.” How lovely was that?!
Thank you, GG! You are a gentleman ❤️
But that wasn’t the only lovely thing to happen! Just before that…as the show ended, Charlie was handing out plectrums and although I was near, I missed out. After he walked off stage, there was a tap on my shoulder. A lady behind me handed me one. She showed me that she had two of them and offered one to me. So, so lovely! I thanked her profusely.
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!)
Tonight the tour kicks off in Stavanger, Norway. For me personally, I still have a wait on my hands until Copenhagen. There is 11 more days to go. This is when the wait gets excruciating until it’s my turn…
And it usually escalates manifold as a tour is about to start. This feeling that I am utterly and truly “persona non grata”. That Jim can’t stand me, barely tolerates me and is actually dreading seeing me in the crowd.
And I wonder why I am going to such lengths to show my love and appreciation. To be there for 13 gigs (potentially…tickets for 13 shows are booked, anyway).
Of course it’s the music and the live experience too! But more than anything it’s…just wanting to see him and be near him. Absolute hand on heart honesty. If I didn’t adore him so much, I’d probably only be going to four gigs at most.
Then I get reassured by friends who are fellow fans. “He loves you!”. Nah, he’s just a good actor. He won’t be a shit to me unless I really, really deserve it (2018 and my “real fans” dummy-spit, anyone?). So then I feel that inwardly he just…dreads and abhors the sight of me…or maybe even worse still, pities me. Finds me ridiculous (in a truly pathetic way). Well, let’s be honest, I am.
I just wish it never mattered. That I didn’t care. That…it would just stop playing on my mind and be literally the only thing I can think about at the moment.
Copenhagen is less than two weeks away and I am starting to feel all that gut-churning stuff again. Why do I put myself through this? It’s insane!
This photo appears in the latest Classic Pop magazine. A big old feature of SM is inside with Jim and Charlie on the cover.
In this photo Jim’s face seems to epitomise that feeling I have of what he thinks “You really are the most pathetic creature. You poor, sad cow.”