Minds Music Monday – Good News: Live – RCH, 1995

It is with some level of trepidation that I explore live output from Simple Minds in 1995. Mostly just to do with my silly hang up about Jim’s style of singing during that period.

But with yet ANOTHER new upload from Art&Talk (YouTuber of eternal mystery…), I felt almost duty bound to take the plunge and listen to the gig uploaded. That namely – a gig from the Good News From The Next World tour of them at the Royal Concert Hall on September 10th, 1995.

We start things off with a pretty stellar version of She’s A River. Full version, and so new still (although already several months old) that Jim ACTUALLY REMEMBERS the words! 😱😱😱😘😜

Then into a bit of a curveball for the period and into Up On The Catwalk. Quite enjoyed that too.

From early on you get a real feel for the atmosphere of the gig. You can also sense how much live production techniques have refined and changed over the past 15 years (up to 1995) as everything sounds pretty crystal clear – from Jim’s breathlessness to the crowd going apeshit when he asks of them “everything okay?” – the only thing that gets lost in the mix at times is the crowd singing along, which isn’t an entirely bad thing IMHO.

See The Lights was also great. But then, for me, the highlight. The jaw-drop moment. The one that almost had me throwing myself out of bed and doing cartwheels on the bedroom floor – The American. But not just ANY OLD VERSION of the song but one in which Jim actually SANG THE BV LINES! The “across a curved earth, Nassau club days, in collective fame, the eventful work-outs” – I nearly wet myself with excitement! I mean…he NEVER sang those lines live that I have ever been aware of – before or since! In the early days he’d do the “here comes the flag, I’m walking in the black” lines and also do “hand shake, this world, here comes the flag” lines – but never those BV lines!

I wanted to be able to up jump back in time, crawl through some kind of wormhole and just kiss him all over and shag his brains out! Lol – fuck! Goddamn!!!

I’d sell my fucking eyeballs off if he sang those lines again. I’d even be happy with the “hand shake, this world, here comes the flag” lines these days!

I think this will now – singularly – be my favourite live version of The American … EVER! And if you told me that THAT was going to happen from listening to this gig, I’d have never believed you!

I grinned like a Cheshire cat through the whole song. In actual fact, I was mostly like THIS through it (and grinning like a loon when I allowed myself to close my mouth a little. Lol)

But after the joy of The American came the mixed bag of Big Sleep. Great that Jim (again!) was great with the lyrics (he was on a roll at this gig) – but he was veering into the singing style that grates on me a little too much with this version. But! Having said that it wasn’t the complete turn off from some versions of it I have heard. Also…it was short. Literally half the length the song usually is – particularly live. I suppose that was probably a good thing.

Back on the up again with a cracking version of Great Leap Forward. A decent enough version of SSIS (not sure Mark Schulman quite had the feel of the drumming on that right, but perhaps I am being pernickety?) sandwiched between a pretty cracking Hypnotised.

Let There Be Love from that period had us ‘coming’ “like an ocean” twice! Lol (Don’t mind if I do, Jim. Fucking Tsunami, I reckon, if you ever … erm … “came” near me like that! Lol – Noah would need the ark! And then some …😂😂😂😂)

Belfast Child? Did it work at that point, played like that? Hmmm, jury’s out. I liked the line change “peace is raging through the Emerald Isle” of the time. It still took a few more years to get there from that point – but it did get there in the end.

Back to Jim being the “blues crooner” during the medley of Roadhouse Blues and into Waterfront. I can’t be too dismissive of him for that. Given the choice between Jims Morrison and Kerr and which one has the more sex appeal for me – THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING CONTEST – sorry Mr Morrison. I appreciate the sex appeal you exuded, I do…but, you are not the Jim for me (though I am pretty sure I’d have had a hard time saying no to you had I ever found myself in your presence).

The crowd interaction, Jim talking to the punters…still extolling lovingly of Glasgow.

We then go into Love Song and as much as I am enjoying this gig, sleep is starting to take hold of me. I start to fall into a dwam and Love Song and it’s slight medley into Glory begin to elude me as I fall deeper in. I barely hear the beginnings of Alive And Kicking and am almost fully asleep by the time the song ends. The rapturous applause by the crowd is what rouses me back from my ever deepening dwam.

I am fully awake once more for the encore which begins with And The Band Played On. Everything performed from the Good News album gets a solid thumbs up from me.

And…knowing that we were into the encore and with it yet to make an appearance, I was dreading the inevitable appearance of Don’t You (Forget About Me). And…there she blows! Penultimate song of the night! Never as bad a thing to endure when you’re in amongst the crowd and you let yourself get caught up in the sing-a-long, nostalgia-trip-fest – but other than that, I derive very little enjoyment from it these days. God, I’d have LOVED the 5×5 Live Tour (and I bet they bloody LOVED having a tour that the song didn’t have to be part of since 1985!) – a whole tour in which you NEVER had to endure DYFAM – what a dream! I know! It sounds like I hate the song. I don’t! What I hate is how overplayed it is! What I hate is knowing I’ll have to hear it at every single Simple Minds gig I ever attend for all the rest of my days. What I hate is…pretending that I really enjoy hearing it at every damned gig and feeling implored to sing “la la las” for five fucking minutes while Jim takes a few minutes break from singing.

Final song is…the final song I ever heard being performed live… Sanctify Yourself. Again…upon reflection – I’d have LOVED 5×5 Live because with no DYFAM also comes no Alive And Kicking and no Sanctify Yourself. I’d have to double check it, but I am pretty sure these three songs have either been the final three songs or within the final five songs (in a slightly altered and reversed order) of the set at EVERY SM gig I’ve been to – and that’s 22 of them (23 if you count that I actually attended both shows at Copenhagen).

I’m sorry to say it, but I stopped listening. Tiredness was taking over and my patience was wearing thin so…I switched off.

BUT! I really enjoyed the gig, and apart from most likely skipping the final two tracks (if I had been there, I might have pissed off home a bit early, at least I could catch the 75 back home before everyone else needing it piled on 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻), I’d definitely listen to it again. And…THE AMERICAN! THE AMERICAN was fab!

So….

For MMM this week, enjoy the Good News from 1995!

Quality Is Key

There’s been a recent newcomer on YouTube, uploading SM bootlegs. Some I really enjoyed as they were of a fairly decent quality – others …. not so great.

The most recent upload I was really excited to see was another from the tail end of 1982 – my all time favourite period for listening to them live.

I started to tune in last night but I quickly stopped, disappointed that the quality of the audio just WASN’T there.

They had shared the upload on one of the SM fan group pages with a cheeky “Art & Talk who???” comment. Lol

Well, if you’re going to be full of bravado about it, then honestly, A&T has nothing to fear because A&T uploads QUALITY!

I’ll even delve into periods of the band I am not so enamoured with because I know the sound quality of the bootleg will be “to a standard”. It is why I listened to the Glastonbury set a few nights ago. As much as I love the Good News From The Next World album, and as great as the band was live at the time, there is an element of Jim’s singing voice at that period that grates on me. I don’t really know what it is – I just don’t like the way he sounds at that point. It’s mostly to do with word annunciations and nuances in pronunciations of words – kind of “American mid-west crooner” kind of style. Or more … over-emphasised “blues man”. It just sounds false and kind of protracted and laboured. It wasn’t so pronounced at the Glastonbury gig so I did enjoy it but other gigs from the time, his voice just gets on my tits and I have to stop listening (sorry, Jim!).

So, yes, the quality of A&T’s uploads means I *will* listen to things I normally wouldn’t. Not always. Some I still haven’t dabbled in – but I’ll get around to it.

Of course there are some points in the history of the band’s bootlegs in which it will be nigh on impossible to have quality recordings. Unless they actually had made recordings for radio, etc, and they were professionally recorded, there is going to be little quality around.

And still, for my own level of interest in wanting to listen to bootlegs – quality is key. It is why I shied away from dabbling into bootlegs for so long. One) the general poor quality of recordings, and two) I wasn’t overly into live music when I first got into the band. That has changed massively since being a SM fan and now I really enjoy the live music experience. And I actually find the bootleg experience to be a much better (and truer) representation of what it is like being at a gig than a more professionally recorded thing with full production techniques and “in studio ‘enhancements’” and overdubs made to them.

I want to hear the crowd! Yes, I hate having some bloke being a pub singer right next to me and wailing over the top so I end up hearing much more of them than I do of Jim! But I’d prefer that than to no crowd noise at all and Jim’s voice sounding perfectly audible … almost as if he had gone and recorded his voice in a studio 🤨🤔🤔

If you’re going to give me a live album – make it LIVE. Don’t fiddle with it! Give me the imperfections and the crowd noise.

Still, one wonders exactly HOW MUCH is *live* at the gigs these days. Well, not much at the moment in good old Covid World.

But I digress.

Bootlegs – they need to be of a certain standard. They can still have the crowd and the punters talking and singing and you can hear the cheers and the screams and that makes you feel a part of it. And the band still sounds full and strong, and you can hear Jim’s patter between songs and he always sounds amazing and emotive, sometimes even breathless, and on the VERY ODD occasion, off key – but it all adds to the magic.

So, you provide the quality and I’ll keep on listening – capiche?!

Great Leap Forward – The Reason Behind The Tale Of “Embrace The Suck”

So…I get the message behind the phrase itself. I understand it. There’s a time and place, of course. I would like to hope that in the current climate that Sir Kerr is FAR FROM suggesting anyone that has suffered adversely from this current pandemic should just…”embrace the suck”. I’d like to believe he has far more empathy than that.

He linked to Great Leap Forward with the post and I just found myself looking up the lyrics. There are many lyrics I know off by heart, and there are some I am just not that familiar with. Great Leap Forward is one such case. Reading them over…I’m not quite sure what the song’s message actually is. Which, as usual, makes me feel like a dumb fuck.

I miss a time when I could just ask Jim and hope for a reply. But…I see little point now. All that wonderfulness is gone. TELL ME TO “EMBRACE THE SUCK”, JIM. Just you tell me! I’m sorry I lament about it so much, but it was a wonderful period of being a fan for me…that you would respond and interact. And I supposedly wasn’t even around for “the good old days”, when you and Charlie supposedly hung around fan forums and spoke to fans all the time! Must have been fab.

Anyway…the lyrics. The song. I mean, I like the sound of it. I really like Good News From The Next World. Usually a big part of why I love a song is because of its lyrics and meaning, or at least MY interpretation of the lyrics provides a story and meaning. Great Leap Forward leaves me perplexed. I’m not sure what to take from it.

“I jumped up like Apollo,
Crash landed on my feet,
The sun shot like a laser through my brain.
A little death had woken up,
And put a curse on me,
But I knew that I’d be coming back again.
Inspiration, across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation.
All I got to do was move ahead.
It’s a blue sky,
It’s a while cloud,
It’s a flame.
It’s a blue sky,
White cloud,
Burning flame.

I shot back to the mirror,
There was nothing left to see,
But a phantom with his heartbeat deep inside.
I could feel the dust of ages,
They were blowing back at me,
But I knew that I was born to get it right.

Everybody take the great leap forward,
Everybody knows the mysteries at hand,
If you’ve been praying all those sweet days for this,
Don’t you know there is a whole different plan?
Sometimes I hear the madman calling,
He talks about some dark eternal place.
I’ve been waiting all my lifetime for this moment,
And now I’ve got to find some other ways.

One touch ignites this eagle,
One kiss for heaven’s view,
I need the flame so I can feel alive.
You can tell my little brother,
No requiem for me,
I knew that I was born to make this flight.

Inspiration across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation,
All I got to do was move ahead.”

Is it about death and reincarnation? No, it can’t be that. “All I got to do is move ahead.” That’s not talk of death. “A poverty of expectation”…is that another term for apathy? Complacency? Or lack of drive…ambition?

I wish I felt I could ask him. Even if I felt like a dumb fuck for doing so. He gets my juices flowing and stimulates my brain. I love him for that!

I’m grappling to connect “embrace the suck” to Great Leap Forward, it has to be said.

P.S. It’s a crappy old Prip piece without even a “Priptona” mark – with a copyright image (that’s why there’s no Prip logo on it). Must make an updated version! (Embrace that I suck.)

And These!

Had never seen these, either. I like certain aspects of his look during the Good News From Next World period.

Embed from Getty Images

L’amour Jim

It’s a bit late for Kerrsday Thursday, but what the heck.

Fuck he’s sexy! Yeah, all the hankering was cast aside for a month while I was distracted by “having a life” in Oz.

Back to the hankering and drooling. Lol

Minds Music Monday – Criminal World

There’s always a bone of contention in the fandom about Good News From The Next World…well, I suppose that whole “wilderness” period for Simple Minds fans that seems to go anywhere from 1992 to 2005…depending upon your taste.

The “low” period, for my personal taste, happens much earlier. My personal “wilderness” period is when they are, seemingly, at the height of their power…from 1987 til 1992.

At least they have never, ever been afraid to experiment and try things. The mark of great artistry, surely?

Look at Bowie as a prime example of trying just about every genre of music.

It can be a scary process for an artist, I’m sure. You need to have cojones the size of watermelons – but, if you have that much needed self-belief in what you’re doing, you must have faith that the vast majority of your fanbase will see it too. And if not…if you lose some, you’ll gain others. The “swings and roundabouts” of life.

I’ve always been a fan of Good News since first listen. And Criminal World is my favourite track from the album. Sure, I love Hypnotised too…and She’s A River…though I got quickly fatigued with it. It’s weird how some songs just end up feeling overplayed and a weariness creeps in, where others you just never, ever tire of them (for me…Boys From Brazil, Wonderful In Young Life, New Gold Dream, Love Song, The American, Hunter And The Hunted…among others all fit that bill).

I kind of wish, due to being a Johnny Come Lately that other songs from Good News would get a live airing….but we’re at a point now that if any songs from it get an airing, it is most likely only going to be the singles from the album.

Jim continues to promise diversity in the set lists…but is it diverse enough, still? Again…it just has me mourning missing the 5×5 Live tour. What a complete stroke of genius that was. No one would be more pleased than me if there was a “hey, for all you Johnny Come Lately’s – here’s another 5×5 tour!” In my eternal dreams. I would sell my kidneys…MYSELF (lol) to be at every gig possible. But…it isnae gonna happen.

Anyway, this has turned into a bit of a diatribe…so…anyways…Criminal World. Enjoy!

New Acquisitions – Inc. Glittering Prize Laser Disc!!!

OH MY GOOD LORD! On the rarity scale of Simple Minds memorabilia…fewer things could be more highly prized (a GLITTERING PRIZE indeed!) than the Glittering Prize compilation on laser disc. Just…wow! Was almost as much as a house mortgage…but hey ho! 

The Good News From The Next World vinyl is STILL shrink wrapped and unplayed! 

And the Graffiti Soul vinyl is in excellent condition. 

It really was a big spend out…but the last I will be making for some time. I am sssooo happy with my goodies 🙂