A great retrospective of the summer’s Grandslam tour. I wish I could have gone to more in retrospect, having gone through most of July wondering if I should be going to any at all. But the three I went to were incredibly special for all varying reasons. And they will each of them retain wonderful memories. Meeting beautiful friends, hearing songs live at gigs for the first time. Having a meet and greet experience. All such amazing things. I’ll be forever “singing memories” with this band.
Local Dundee newspaper The Courier and Advertiser showcased the gig finale in their opening pages with a glowing review. As if it would be any other way?!
Oh, I wish I could have been there! I pray it is not too long a wait until my next lot of gigs! “Normality” beckons for the next few months. On a personal scale, things will get busy and potentially VERY different. And, I still have several non SM gigs left for this year. With two already booked for next year, and two yet to be booked.
Anyway! The local review!
UPDATE: And more from other local paper the Evening Telegraph.
Local newspaper the Somerset County Gazette have posted a fabulous slideshow of photos from Sunday night’s Grandslam at Taunton Race Course. Not just of the music acts either, but of the punters in the crowd. I know several fans who went on Sunday, and it’s great seeing them all having such a fab time.
Just click on the image of Jim (one in the set) to be taken to the site to view the slideshow.
Hunter And The Hunted and The American have been posted on the main review thread. Following is Promised You A Miracle and a Alive And Kicking/Sanctify Yourself/End of gig “Dad Dance” mega clip.
There’ll be snippets of Let There Be Love and All The Things She Said added shortly…
I have to prefix this by saying…rather sadly now, this is my last Simple Minds gig for the foreseeable future. There are some Grandslams left, of course…Swindon, Ardingly and Taunton next weekend, and Inverness and Dundee the following weekend…then off they go to Mexico, the USA and Canada.
Exciting times ahead for the band. But for me personally, a comedown…and the dreaded PGS (post gig syndrome) will soon kick in.
And so now I have to somehow, objectively review this final (for me) Grandslam gig.
Let’s start with the weather. Earlier in the week, it appeared as if it was going to be fine. Colchester would be blessed with the good sunny day, while the rest looked decidedly iffy. By midweek that forecast began to change until by Friday, it was going to rain fairly constantly all day, until around the time SM would hit the stage.
Unfortunately on this occasion, the weatherman got it fairly spot on. We left the house with it raining, and it continued on through the drive to Colchester. Still a constant peter down when we arrived there. Steadily falling through the afternoon.
This was a very, very special gig for me. I had a meet and greet. The chance of a lifetime. Originally meant for Enfield – the gig that should have been happening today, but had to be cancelled due to transport and security reasons – I had to reschedule the gig. My two options were Newark or Colchester. Newark was further away, not by much, but the fewer miles travelled, the better.
As it transpired, Newark had been a dry day. Certainly better weather than what was forecast for Colchester. Yesterday morning I started to rue my decision for going for Colchester. I just had to pray the weatherman got it wrong. He didn’t…so I just had to suck up my fate and deal with it.
I wanted to watch KT, but the weather was just gross. She’s so great and I love her set…but I was wearing this heavy coat and I was SOPPING! It really was raining at a constant flow when KT was on. Not the torrential downpour it could have been, but heavy enough.
Some people took to staying in the portaloos at the back of the park to watch KTs set in the “dry”. Lol. That was a weird kind of specialised commitment. Lol
I decided that once I had seen KTs set, I would buy a plastic poncho from the merch stall – change out of my grossly damp coat. Change into the PVC jacket I had in my backpack, put the poncho on and would hopefully stay dry through Pretenders set. That was the plan and hope, anyway.
The rain was levelling off by the time Pretenders set started. I missed the very start of the set, executing my plan in the portaloo (wardrobe change). Only just missed their arrival on stage and the very top of the song Alone. Chrissie was in ever defiant and triumphant top form. About the fourth song in, I hear the familiar rattle of Martin Chambers’ drum and then that opening guitar riff to Message Of Love, and I want to scream the park down. I was sssooo so happy! After being so gutted it was not on the setlist at Maidstone, I was so worried that if it was on it at my only other chance to see Pretenders at Grandslam, I’d be at the meet and greet and miss the song! But it was early in the set and I was in heaven…and it was the most amazing version.
I didn’t get to see the full Pretenders set, but saw quite a bit of the same set as last time, Kid, Hymn To Her, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I’ll Stand By You, Back On The Chain Gang…that was the cue to get to the merch stall, ready for the meet and greet.
The rain was dying out…and I was dry, to a degree. I just hoped for the opportunity to dry out some more while waiting for the band for the m&g. We were escorted over to a Premier Inn just across from the park. “Are we meeting the band here?” we all started to wonder. As it turned out, yes! We were.
We were seated in the front reception area. There was a a bar to the side. We were offered our choice of drink. I just had a coffee. I was still okay. It was all feeling fine. My hair was kind of drying out. It wasn’t looking QUITE as shambolic as I feared.
And, then we were lead into a private area of the hotel…and down a corridor. I saw Sara Battini down the end of the hall…and it started to hit home. Then Charlie’s head pops around the door and I see the sign on the door “Simple Minds DRESSING ROOM” – and…panic stations! Thankfully NOT to the point of hyperventilating or anything silly like that. But, I must have looked…affected, shall we say…as both (of the six of us doing the meet and greet) my only female companion and the lady coordinating us through the meeting itself were looking at me with concerned faces, saying “are you alright?” Lol. Oh, geez! NOT embarrassing at all! My female cohort (I think her name was Sally, from memory – her FIRST SIMPLE MINDS GIG AND SHE WAS ON A MEET AND GREET! BAPTISM OF FIRE!) went in to meet them first. The butterflies and everything were just coming along then…and I could hear Jim talking and I am just getting more nervous. All logic and rationality is leaving me.
Then it’s my turn. And…god, it really is just a blur. I have met all these people before…except Cherisse. I met Ged back in Feb…and I was so excited, I HUGGED HIM! Lol. This time I could barely shake his hand or even look him in the eye. I could barely look at any of them. And I wanted to say to Cherisse how lovely it was, at last, to meet her. But…I couldn’t say boo. I could just about muster a hello to all of them.
The line starts with Charlie. He’s always so super smiley and chipper, and he was so lovely! Sarah cupped my hands with hers. Poor Gordy! He must have seen me and thought “shit, it’s the crazy selfie woman, again!” Lol. Then I gets to Jim and, I could have been stepping into the Grand Canyon. I can’t bring myself to look at him. I can barely say hello to him, have the vocal strength to utter his name. And he’s like “yeah, we know Larelle” and I just want to die. I really just want the ground to swallow me up in all honesty.
And I am then rendered too much in a stupor to articulate what I wanted to say to Cherisse. I must have looked like a beetroot or something by this time. My blurred memory sees Cherisse looking at me with some concern and a furrowed brow. What a mess! And if Ged remembered me from Feb and Manchester…he must have wondered what happened to that super gregarious woman that pretty much ran up to him and hugged him. Lol
I’m then told to pose with the band for my photo op. Jim parts a way for me between him and Gordy (and I think for a brief second some logical thought happened “AT LAST! I MAY JUST GET A DECENT SHOT WITH GORDY, YAY!”)
I don’t even recall the feeling of Jim’s arm around me. No recollection AT ALL. BUT, I do remember tentatively placing my left arm around his waist. I really didn’t know what to do with it. Didn’t want to leave it dangling. What if I accidentally touched his bum…or worse?! “Nope, best to just…put my arm around him. OH, SHIT! I’M TOUCHING JIM!” Lol. Geez I’m a div!
He then does his usual thing…and said something…a quip…to fluster me, unnerve me (as if I wasn’t flustered enough already!), get a rise out of me. He does it EVERY TIME…and I never have a come back. This time was no exception…and a little part of me wanted to throttle him…but all the rest of me melted like candle wax…
And then there was the gig. And with it being my “last hurrah” until…maybe sometime next year? Who knows? I brought a camera to have my meet and greet photos taken on…but, I forgot to hand it over…so…might as well make the most of having it on me, I thought! I filmed several songs and took tons of pics. I was just snapping away…point and shot…hoping that in 25 crap pics, there’d be maybe two or three goodies.
I got some great footage, and not so great. But, it’s all a memento.
They were AMAZING. They always are. I can’t remember experiencing a shit gig. My own experience of Aix wasn’t great…but it wasn’t down to the band’s performance being disappointing. Far from it!
The set list was pretty much unchanging from Leeds and Maidstone. Of course, Leeds included Hunter And The Hunted, where it wasn’t at Maidstone…and Once Upon A Time was performed at Maidstone but was omitted at Leeds (with Hunter And The Hunted in its place). Last night there was no Let The Day Begin. The only omission.
They just make you forget your cares, the rain, how cold and drenched you feel (though I didn’t feel too bad considering the consistent downpour through the afternoon and into the early evening)…all other of life’s woes. Always uplifting and positive and powerful. Never do I feel bored or wishing I wasn’t there (Aix being a rare exception…for personal reasons).
As long as they continue to tour and play, I will be there (x3).
I’ll add pics and videos in separate posts as to not to clutter this one up too much.
All three Grandslam gigs I have enjoyed immensely. All three acts are exceptional. KT Tunstall is just a one woman powerhouse. The term “legend” gets overused…but not in the case of Chrissie Hynde. Never. And, yep…I still have the green-eyed envy…because she is out of this world…(and she got to shag Jim!….among…other things – WHO SAID THAT?! TSK TSK!)
And…Simple Minds are just my be all and end all. I really dunno what I was doing before 2014. “Coasting”? Some could argue I am STILL “coasting”…but I finally feel like I’m LIVING. DOING. BEING.
But there is still more living to do. More to do! More to be! More to live!
A great location for an outdoor venue…right in the heart of the city centre. It was one of the main reasons I chose to go to Leeds when tossing up which of these Grandslam gigs to go to back in the early spring. Leeds would be fairly cheap and hassle free for me to get to, no matter what mode of public transport I decided on and with the venue being right in the heart of the city, there was little chance of me getting lost or facing worry when leaving the venue post-gig. And…to be honest…at the time of booking the gigs, I didn’t have much interest in seeing Pretenders…so I saw them being off the bill at Leeds as a bonus (silly me!).
I changed accommodation with less than a week to go. I had booked in to the Discovery Inn right in the centre, but my single room was costing me £65 – on the steep side for a single room…but, yes, the location was handy. I kept an eye on booking.com (booking.com is my friend! The convenience of being able to book ahead without making payment up front is…a bloody god send – SERIOUSLY!) for something cheaper and not too far out of the city centre around a week leading up to the gig. I didn’t like my chances much, but I was hopeful. Anyway, this one place appeared during the middle of last week and I thought I’d snap it up before I was billed for the Discovery Inn stay.
I basically just spent the night as a lodger in this person’s house. It was all set up really well. They use a Keysafe lock for the keys to the property. You let yourself in and use the amenities of the house (living room, kitchen, bathroom) and the bedroom you’re in is locked with its own key. It was a fab alternative, I must say! A hotel is great…but there were bonuses to this place. A little further out of the city meant it was a very quiet location…I’m not sure the Discovery Inn would have been so quiet – the heart of Leeds on a Saturday night? No!!
Money was the main factor in the change. This new place was costing me all of £25 to stay at…and although just that little further out of the city to require me getting a taxi back to it, post-gig (cab fare just under £10) – I still saved myself near enough half the cost by staying there.
ANYWAYS! On to the gig!
A walk back down to the city centre from my overnight abode saw me arrive at the gates around 5.40pm. Google Maps gave me a bloody bum steer trying to find Millennium Square. Could I find it?! Nope! I was walking past a shopping mall, and there were like…kinda door staff out the front entrance and so I asked one of them for directions. Yes! Thank you doorman…fuck you Google Maps! Lol
Unlike Maidstone, we were right on cue for Leeds. There weren’t many people lined up at the gates, despite the time. Anyway, 6pm – bang on – the gates are open! In the short queue I got to talking to a lovely couple, Jenny and…I feel TERRIBLE but his name escapes me! (I used to be so great with names…I’m getting old!). We ended up at the front barrier together and were having a good old natter, passing the time.
I met up with another friend, Janet, briefly before KT was due on. Our catch up was all too fleeting, but we shall make amends for that in future.
KT arrived on stage bang on 7.15pm – and her first song was one I was hoping to hear at Maidstone…my favourite, It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am. First time I heard it was in Dublin last year…and, wow. It was just…my song. Well, at least it felt it in Dublin last year. It just…had a resonance for me. I just fell in love with it. So I was over the moon she opened with that on Saturday night. The rest of her set was fairly much as it was in Maidstone, with a change of song mash up for Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – kazoo still featuring prominently though. (I love that!) We were treated to a new song as well. She has a new album coming out in several weeks – produced by Nick McCarthy…good to know he is doing stuff post-Franz. The new song was sounding great. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. She’s always fab…always engaging, and never disappoints.
At this point, the skies are looking threatening. You could feel it in the air. A bit of drizzle…a few heavier spits of rain…but not too bad.
Minds come on at 8.45 sharp. The usual killer rendition of The Signal And The Noise ensues…Jim strutting about, owning the stage, wielding his mic stand. A rare one in that he arrived on stage NAKED! Lol…don’t have a heart attack, ladies! I merely mean…devoid of glasses. Perhaps he was not wanting to tempt fate weather wise? It didn’t stop Gordy Goudie though. He was in his shades for most of the set! Just when you think Gordy couldn’t possibly get any cooler.
The rain was trying so very hard to oblige with Waterfront…but not enough to dampen spirits…enough to add to the atmosphere of the song though.
Great versions of Love Song and Let There Be Love.
Then Jim prepares to intro KT for Promised You A Miracle and talks of the previous weekend (I really can’t recall if this happened at Maidstone or not now…I must ask those who with me if they remember…I have a vague recollection…but I may just be dreaming it…I DIGRESS) in which he said when he watched her perform her opening set for them on the Acoustic tour last year “she blew me off” and then went on to say “and then I say ‘and she’ll blow me off again tonight’. Of course, I thought nothing of it…good Catholic boy and all that (at this point I’m thinking “yeah, sure, Jim…who are you trying to kid more? Us or yourself? Lol). We come off stage at the end of the gig and the rest of the band are like ‘what the fuck did you say that for?’” – obviously for comedic effect! The guy knows what he’s doing…honestly. Lol.
From this point on I AM NOT SAYING A WORD…I’ll leave it all to your VERY capable imaginations…I don’t think it would take much for anyone to work out where my mind wandered off to…albeit just for a few seconds. Lol
All that filth was quickly forgotten a few songs later when….the opening chords to Hunter And The Hunted started. I can’t even tell you articulately what it meant to be there for that…
Like Maidstone with Someone Somewhere In Summertime – although that was just the first time performance of the original arrangement of the song – this time for HATH it was truly a first! My first time hearing it live at a gig I was in attendance for.
And, it was beautiful. It was raining…I didn’t give a shit. It was just…wow. All the extra meaning this song has for me due to the past few years and the art and everything. I was actually too overcome to cry (what happened at Maidstone too)…but I loved it totally.
As usual, the band were tight and cohesive…and having LOADS of fun! In spite of the weather, they were all having a ball. Ged, esp. I don’t think I’d ever witnessed him having such a great time – overtly evidently so. It was great to see. Gordy as well. Charlie singing along to ever song. Sarah beaming her beautiful smile. Cherisse in full “Animal” mode. Jim, like in days of old, just moving about EVERYWHERE…lots of mic stand tossing about (I’m not going to say he was ‘tossing off’! Lol…though…I just did! Oh, bollocks. Lol).
Again, just a phenomenal gig. And it is why I go and see them again and again…because they deliver again and again. They fill my world with joy and light and hope and fun and give me such happy times and great memories.
On Saturday night the added bonus of catching one of Cherisse’s drum sticks happened, AT LAST! I was filming via Facebook Live. I had just stopped filming Sanctify Yourself when I realised I should start filming again, in case Jim did a little bit of dad dancing during the final goodbye from the stage. As he’s having his little dance, Cherisse comes down from her kit with her sticks in hand. She holds her hands out in a gesture of “who wants a stick?” I am throwing my right hand up in the air and shouting “Oh, Cherisse…PLEASE!!!!” Flailing my right arm about madly. She sees me and gestures for me to get ready as she throws the stick towards me…I AM WILLING IT TO MAKE IT TO ME! And, FUCK ME! It just lands PERFECTLY in my hand! I grab onto it for dear life. FUCKING, YES! ONE HANDED – I BLOODY CAUGHT IT! You can hear me squealing with delight on the footage. I was still filming away as I caught it…squeal of delight evident for all and sundry. Lol. And I just kept hold of it like my life depended on it until I got back to my lodgings.
Thank you again guys for the most amazing gig. Absolute highlights were Hunter And The Hunted and Someone Somewhere In Summertime…”burning slow, with me in the rain” – the atmosphere for that was just perfect!
Love you guys so so much! See you at Enfield (unless I have some fortune come my way in the mean time)!
That’s the next SM gig on the agenda…but in the meantime, the next actual musical event for me is THE GREEN MAN FESTIVAL IN THE BRECON BEACONS! Geez! What a lucky cow I am to have won those weekend camping tickets?! It’s going to be AMAZING! And, hopefully the weather will be on our side too.
I could start with the whole personal account with the logistics of getting to the gig, etc…but it is actually too horrendous to go over it all. Put it this way…all the trepidation I was feeling about going was being made manifest. So…let’s skip all that.
I met up with Ally Scott and her husband at a pub they were staying at in Maidstone. It was wonderful to meet in person and to feel settled before the gig.
We made our way there and arrived on site just as the gates to the venue were due to be opened, except there was a delay in letting the crowd in. Finally the gates were opened around 4.45 (gates were due open at 4pm). We had as many queuing behind us as we had in front of us.
This lady is her own “one-man band” with her loop recorder she uses to create her own rhythm section. I am not overly familiar with her songs but I know in amongst them was Black Horse And The Cherry Tree, Suddenly I See and I think she also did Other Side Of The World (well, it was a song to do with long distant relationships so would assume it was that). Funny moment that had me in stitches: her setting up the loop track for another song…and she uses this “egg” to make certain percussive sounds. She held it up and said “check out my massive egg” and forgot she had engaged the recording of the loop, so nano seconds later, reverberating around the showground is KTs voice saying “CHECK OUT MY MASSIVE EGG…ASSIVE EGG…ASSIVE EGG…ASSIVE EGG”. Lol. I lost it! I couldn’t stop laughing.
She engages so well with the crowd. So much talent and pulls you in with banter and participation recording the loops. Such catchy songs too. I always enjoy her sets, and yesterday was no exception.
Having heard recent reviews about Ms Hynde and co (including from Mr Ex himself), I was expecting to be blown away…and I am pleased to say that is EXACTLY what happened!
The set opened with Alone. A song full of the attitude we know and love. The set flowed really well. The band are AMAZING! It was my first ever time experiencing Pretenders live. Martin Chambers – wow! What a drummer! At one point he started off a drum solo. Chrissie just started rolling her eyes. A bit of banter ensued. Martin was trying to (and succeeding to!) “drum up” support to extend his solo. In the end Chrissie called him a cunt and says “40 years I’ve had to put up with him”. Lol
Geez, imagine the supergroup that could come from the respective long-term musical collaborations from both sides? Chrissie and Martin. Jim and Charlie. Bring in someone like John Giblin on bass and holy fuck! Sadly it’ll never see the light of day. Over Chrissie’s dead body, methinks! It’s nice to dream though…
Classics in the set included: Kid, Back On The Chain Gang, Hymn To Her, Stop Your Sobbing, Middle Of The Road, I’ll Stand By You, Bad Boys Get Spanked, Don’t Get Me Wrong and Brass In Pocket. (I was really, really hoping for Message Of Love, but it didn’t happen…)
Chrissie’s voice is as strong as ever. Pitch perfect and faultless. A powerhouse performance. My little green-eyed envy very much took a back burner. She is all I could only ever dream of being. More talent in her pinky fingernail than I am ever likely to possess in my whole entire being. Still a bloody stick insect! And absolute no fucks to give to anybody.
I was with amazing friends…my beautiful, beautiful friend, Ally…someone who has exuded much more faith in me than I ever have in myself. Another person who allowed me to believe in myself and means so very much to me. There is no one else on earth last night I would have been happier to share this experience with. And what a truly AMAZING gig it was! Right from the off from The Signal And The Noise and into Waterfront, the crowd was buzzing.
The band, as usual, was playing so tight. Cherisse, in particular was the stand out last night. Her level of musicianship is incredible. She just gets better and better. So much power yet subtlety and deftness to her playing. I’m just in awe of her every time I see her.
As for Mr…”SIR” Kerr? I don’t think I ever experienced such a strong vocal performance from him. I could feel him giving it his all last night. Like, really! And, PLEASE, GIVE ME CREDIT! I know I love the man to pieces – but I CAN be objective! If I felt he was lacklustre, I would say. (Well, actually…I’d be more likely NOT to comment on his vocal performance at all.) If you actually have read past posts on this blog with me discussing his voice, you’ll know I can give it an objective and methodical analysis.
Vocal performance was AMAZING! To the degree that…I thought some trickery was going on during the performance of Dolphins. He was not in view when the vocal began and I was thinking “Oh, okay….to bide some more time to buy him for his wardrobe change, they’ve pre-recorded this and playing his vocal back.” BUT NO! He soon appeared and it was obvious he was singing live…and I was blown away.
I think he also really has been studying the lyrics too…which made me SO, SO happy. It may be seen as extreme pedantry, but when he gets the lyrics right, I enjoy the performance more…because it reflects how you expect the songs to sound. THE BOY HAS BEEN LEARNING! The lyrical notations really improved.
The most joyous of these was the return of the original arrangement of Someone Somewhere In Summertime – with the “burning slow” lines restored. Oh, I have missed those lines! They are beautiful! I wanted to cry when it started and I prayed he was going to sing the lines, and then…
Both it and Walk Between Worlds was my personal highlight of the set.
I *may* have missed a song…but I am hopeful I didn’t – here’s the set list (not in strict running order):
The Signal And The Noise
Let There Be Love
She’a A River
See The Lights
Walk Between Worlds
Someone Somewhere In Summertime
All The Things She Said
Promised You A Miracle (duet with KT)
Banging On The Door (intro)/Dolphins
Let The Day Begin
Alive And Kicking
“Pinch yourself” shared moments with Ally included – sing-a-longs to Let There Be Love and Someone Somewhere In Summertime…our arms wrapped around each other…taking in the wonder of it all. Being “in the moment”.
It was certainly one of the best concert experiences I have ever had – and couldn’t have been any different from Aix-Les-Bains. I need to make amends to Françoise for that one!
Based on opening night (well, Pretenders did play the night before in Leeds) – anyone thinking of going to any of these Grandslam shows – I do not think you’ll be disappointed.
I am THOROUGHLY looking forward to the next gig I have in Leeds next Saturday. The only thing I DO regret is that Pretenders won’t be on the bill there. But perhaps that will mean slightly longer sets from both KT Tunstall and Simple Minds? Fingers crossed!
*At the behest of the bands involved, I refrained from taking any photos or video of the gig.
Part two of the Simple Minds story on the Rip It Up program. The Minds crack America!
Received the new issue of Classic Pop in the post today. This little snippet was in the front pages…
I was working out how many gigs I’ve got coming up last night – and the answer was – 14 of the things! (And still hoping to sort another two Simple Minds gigs on top of that…if only money grew on trees.)
I have NEVER been to so many gigs in my life! The love of live music given to me by…a certain someone. (See pic stolen from a certain band’s FB page)
Anyway, the first of the 14 (16?!) will be The Anchoress and Manic Street Preachers at Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow night. Wowzers! (One of the gigs is a comedy gig, by the way. The other an art exhibition and talk.)
Thank you, Mr Beautiful, for instilling in me this love of live music. Being Aussie and all, and growing up in a country that prides itself with a music scene that produces the best live bands in the world…my love for live music was hindered by: my sheltered existence, lack of money, etc, etc…I could make all the excuses.
The “lack of money” thing is still a big issue…but, it’s about priorities, and good budgeting and picking bands to see that give value for money…the irony being, the band I love the most now being my most expensive outlay to see live. But, it is what it is.
Hopefully I can do those other two SM gigs, but we’ll see. In amongst the 14 are three opportunities to see Simple Minds, so it isn’t ALL bad! It’s just, you know…after the Acoustic tour , and the dates in February…the more Minds gigs, the better.
Anyway…on to Catherine and the Manics tomorrow night. WOOT!