Mel’s The Master In “Fundee” Dundee – 17/12/1982

I started listening to this one last night. And even compared to Aberdeen – which they played the following night – WOW! Jesus! This gig is just BRAW! Mel is just playing like a demon!

I had been lamenting some, over what was Mike’s last gig with them a few weeks prior (Nov. 7th in Toronto), having listened to it a short while ago…but then you hear Mel again and it all makes sense. I can very much hear from this gig why Jim would say stuff like “with Mel behind me, I feel 10 feet tall”.

The band are tight, Jim is just so impassioned and “up”! I think the version of I Travel on this bootleg is the best (in terms of band performance and Jim’s vocal delivery – rather than of sound quality) I’ve ever heard. Certainly of the ones I’ve heard from the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 at least. A real braw version of Celebrate too.

But the thing that really got hold of me most was Mel’s drumming. I mean, yes, in some ways. esp compared to Mike or Brian, Mel is quite a showman in terms of licks and fills – but it is those very licks and fills that are making this gig sound so frigging amazing! And I can hear from that…from the attitude and bombast and level of musicianship he brought in at that time why Jim’s confidence seemed to soar as a consequence. I don’t think it’s any accident that connection between Mel’s coming into the band full time, his playing and Jim’s growing level of confidence and strengthening connection with the crowd.

I listened up to the end of Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel and then stopped. I wanted to savour the rest for tonight – as tempted as I was to have Hunter And The Hunted play. I was starting to drift off into sleep and I didn’t want to miss parts of the gig.

It is a strange kind of thing to be laying in bed, listening to a gig that’s nearly 40 years old and just quietly cheering and silently mouthing “this is fucking AWESOME! Listen to them! Oh, Jim! You are just so frigging HOT AF! God, I adore you!” And then I stop listening and lay there waiting for sleep to envelop me, chanting “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him!”

I rarely ever do. And if I do…it’s never of me in the crowd at a gig in 1982. I wish I could have lucid dreams! Or actually could control or pilot what I dream about! I’d be in 1982 – or even 1981 – every night of the week! Lol. Hanging out backstage, being a wallflower, praying Jim would take even a modicum of notice of me, only to see him make his escape with some Amazonian brunette on his arm and wish for all the world that I was taller, slimmer and much more beautiful than I am.

Anyway…”to be or not to be” – the rest of the gig awaits the night.

Maudlin In Melbourne – Bootleg 1/10/1982

I started listening to a new bootleg last night (new to me, at least!) of Simple Minds in Melbourne on the New Gold Dream tour of 1982. It’s their second night in Melbourne (having performed the previous night at the Latrobe University campus) and their fourth night on the Australian leg of the tour.

It seemed to start out well enough. They started (or at least the bootleg started) out with Love Song. They then went into Colours Fly. Jim was trying to keep his voice real low but would give up and would end up screeching. He sounded a bit off and was delivering bum notes here and there.

Given the subject matter of his latest post, I feel a bit pernickety for bringing up his vocal performance – esp. from a gig that’s nearly 40 years old. But…just humour me. I wasn’t around for these things the first time and even though it’s a retrospective critique, these gigs are heard with fresh ears – my fresh ears! I never really took a HUGE amount of interest in bootlegs, (just as a side note, WHY ARE bootlegs called “bootlegs”? I must look that up!) I could never understand why anyone bothered with them because they invariably sounded shit. Either the recording was shit, or the band was crap…or both.

Perhaps it is purely through the now almost completely dead live music scene do I find myself now exploring these recordings more? A combination of that, and of “newer” unearthed gigs being shared on YouTube for our collective listening pleasure that has resulted in this.

Anyways, back to the gig. Jim intros the next song in the usual way he did then “from New Gold Dream, this is called Hunter And The Hunted” – even his intro sounded lacklustre. But he had a propensity of sounding like that back then – the only time his nerves and the stage fright were detectable and audible was when he spoke.

As I listened intently, I couldn’t tell whether he was delivering it more impassioned than usual, or more despondently. His vocal was again off kilter. Not in a way it normally would be! You know, he’s diving around that stage like a whirling dervish. Taking lunges and leaps and skulking about like a panther. Somehow both balletic and yet acrobatic at the same time. More fluid in his moves than the robotic, stilted jerky movements he’d make a couple of years previous. He was at that point very athletic physically in his stage performance. Yet despite that, his vocal performance rarely faltered. Yes, he’d get breathless at times but what came across most was the passion in his performance. He rarely ever seemed to give a bum note.

It seemed about half-way through the song that…he just wasn’t feeling it. Or at least I detected more pain in his voice than passion. He seemed to not really be “in the moment”. It was feeling like he didn’t want to be there. Or at least that, it was getting hard to be there and be “on”. He was still trying to deliver impassioned performance. “Only with you life moves so fucking fast!”

At the end of the song and after the “thank you” he says rather forlorn “everything’s so fast”. It sounded so down! I winced when he said it and was just thinking “aaawww, Jim! What was happening to you that night, beautiful man?”

The gig was starting to sound flat. I couldn’t tell whether it was being projected through Jim, or whether the band were starting to sound flat and then that was having a knock-on effect on Jim, vice versa, or if it was just what I was feeling listening to it.

It’s hard to get a full idea of things. Without the visuals to get any visual indicators of how he was feeling it is all down to interpreting how he was feeling and his performance via voice alone. The crowd are still very responsive. They seem receptive enough.

To me, compared to the other gigs I’ve listened to lately – something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe he was just cold? Lol (I’m being flippant.)

As he intros Someone Somewhere In Summertime he says “will soon be warm here”. Sleep then got the better of me. Me drifting off while laying on my left side, looking at my wall of Kerrs inwardly thinking, “What was up, Jim? What was going on with you that night? Just…not feeling it? Geez, you’re beautiful…” and then …. *lights out*

I’m not sure I want to listen to the rest. But as an object in full retrospective critique, I guess it would be prudent to do so.

Let me know what you guys think. Is it just me? (Most likely. Lol. It usually always is “just me”…)

Thanks again to Stuart Greaves for uploading the audio.

Kerrsday WhirliGIG – Stirling University, 15/11/1979

I started listening to this gig last night. First thing that hits you is that Capital City is not quite Capital City. From what I can tell, this is its debut outing and the song at this point is just referred to as “Pulse”.

There are different words to it, there’s no “city that we live on” – it’s an island.

“The unspoken word
To an island we can live on
You take, you break to unsettle, take
To an island that we live on
To an island that we crawl on
….
Well you took its culture the tribal …” (can’t decipher the line properly)

I had a go at trying to work out the lyrics. I love hearing the germ of something new. I love being let into that. It feels like you’re being let in on a secret. Those were the days! We’re never privy to ANYTHING now until it’s fully formed. Jim keeps everything very close to his chest now and doesn’t really share anything beyond saying “I’m writing”.

I think this might just be my favourite version of Here Comes The Fool of the ones I’ve heard. Jim is so UP on this version. He sounds like he is well up for this gig! He even comes in too early for the final chorus of the song. Lol

It also included is a very early outing of Naked Eye, which seems a little different lyrically to what is on the Real To Real Cacophony album. Just subtle changes and differences – Jim sings “It’s so dark, I don’t understand it”, for example. And there’s no reference to cherries or spiders at the end of the song. It actually sounds like a Sparks song the way it sounds when Charlie’s guitar comes in at the beginning.

I was alert enough until Life In A Day, then sleep started to take over, but I was alert enough until that point to take it the different to the norm performance that Jim seemed to be giving off. Firstly, he seemed slightly more talkative and interactive with the crowd than usual – esp. of that period. Secondly, his vocal performance seemed different than usual of the period. Perhaps he was flying high? He sounded like he was enjoying the gig anyway. Just from the sound of things, he was sounding more confident, and not the reserved, stilted performer he tended to exude in the very early days – “he seemed like he should have been in special school” as Mick said recently. Lol

I am really excited to hear the rest of it. You can’t help but get swept up in it. I mean, yes, it’s early days, but they are already two albums in and just…LISTEN TO THEM! No wonder every person who went and saw them then raved about them and that their following just kept growing exponentially. They’re barely two years into being a band and they have two albums under their belt, an already – small but – dedicated fanbase that just grows and grows and their so AWESOME.

I may be back later when I’ve heard to rest of the gig to expand and update this post. But until then… enjoy!

Thanks to Stuart Greaves for uploading the gig.

A little sidenote – the gig was on a Kerrsday 👏🏻😊

Follows In Love – Simple Minds, Toronto, 1982 – New Art & Talk YouTube Upload

Yesterday morning when I opened up Facebook to catch up with what had been posted, etc, during the night while I had been sleeping, I looked at my notifications to see I’d been tagged in a post on one of the SM groups.

The tag linked to what is below. A new upload from Art & Talk of a Simple Minds gig. I immediately recognised the ident for the video. I then looked at the details of the gig. The date: November 7th, 1982 – the New Gold Dream tour. The city, Toronto. It made perfect sense why A&T chose it. Jim was standing side profile in front of a Canadian flag in the image I chose as the silhouette for my piece.

Then I looked at the rest of the detail, and Art & Talk, bless him, had a little blurb about me and my blog. Totally unexpected and incredibly humbling.

I may have had visits to my blog yesterday as a result. If you’re reading this right now as a new visitor due to Art & Talk’s kind words, thank you for visiting and checking it out. My blog can frequently have a personal ring to it, esp. over the past 10 months of this pandemic. It’s been harder to keep the site fresh and relevant in the past 12 months, but I am working on it. And hopefully new material being released by the band will help with that.

In the meantime, things like A&T’s uploads of gigs, be they audience bootlegs, audio from the soundboard, or radio recordings, the work is appreciated. Esp. by us Johnny-come-lately types who weren’t there to experience the gigs the first time around.

I hope those of you who are new here find something you like with the blog and that you may visit again, or even subscribe to the feed.

And of the gig itself? Well, it feels a bit special in that it’s Mike Ogletree’s last gig on the drums. I do understand why the guys ended up going with Mel in the end, but Mike brought a different deftness with him. All the drummers Simple Minds have worked with have their left their own stamp and indelible marks to the sound of Simple Minds. I was guilty of underestimating and undervaluing Mike for some time, but actually, he has been behind the kit at some of my favourite ever gigs and I have grown to appreciate his contribution so much.

Last night I was extremely tired and only lasted until about halfway through Hunter And The Hunted (there’s some irony! Lol) before Mr Sandman finally took hold of me. I came around some time later to silence. The gig had ended and I had heard none of the rest of it.

The difference in performance of 70 Cities was very noticeable. From how it was in March of that year compared to this one in November was marked. It was a fab version at this gig. Jim’s vocal especially. It really isn’t an easy one to do. There is so much overlapping of vocals on the album version. It’s not easy to reproduce that live, but he nailed it here. Fabulous!

Despite falling asleep so quickly last night, I know I’ll enjoy this gig immensely. I hope you guys do too.

I’d have loved to have seen them in Canada in 2018 but things just weren’t meant to be. And it’s not as if I hadn’t had plenty of opportunity to see them here in the UK and elsewhere in Europe during 2018.

Thanks Art & Talk for the big plug and for all the Simple Minds content on your YT channel. The hard work has never gone unappreciated.

UPDATE (written Thursday):

I listened to the rest of it on Wednesday night. The sound quality of the recording does waver a bit. You can hear the crowd and so e raised voices here and there but it isn’t too disruptive. Canadian audiences seem very respectful, unlike UK crowds who always seem to be waffling over the top.

I really enjoyed the rest of the show. The standout for me was King Is White which was almost as vitriolic as the performance in Sydney but Jim managed to keep some control in.

I don’t whether there was some kind of disturbance going on in the crowd when the song begins begins because Jim seems to say “What’s your problem? There is no problem.” I don’t know whether he is actually addressing someone in the crowd or WTH? If there was something going on in the crowd, it didn’t seem to turn into anything.

I also loved the versions of Sweat In Bullet and Room. The crowd reaction to Sweat In Bullet is awesome. And I am still loving that version of 70 Cities.

Surprisingly on the opening leg of the tour, New Gold Dream wasn’t in the set which seems a really glaring omission in retrospect.

Overall though, a fabulous gig from the opening leg of the NGD tour. One to treasure as Mike O’s final one.

New Fforde Grene – Simple Minds’ Debut In England, 1979

It’s a daily ritual to check whether “new” content under the banner of “Simple Minds” has been uploaded to YouTube. And I try to remember to check every morning. Sometimes (not very often, granted!) it slips my mind but I usually check at least once every day.

This morning I was on top of it pretty early and went to YT for a quick gander and this immediately caught my eye. Initially because I love seeing those photos of Jim in that white jaiket. For a young man of 20, he just looks “the biz”, you know?! He’s just meant to be right where he is at that moment the photo was taken. Right place, right time, right look, right man.

Then I see that it’s Fforde Grene and I think “Oh, it’ll sound shit! A tape of a tape. Copy of a copy of a copy, handed down over the past 42 years. Hmmm – but we’ll see. Let’s give it a quick listen.”

First thing that hits me is…I can hear what Jim’s singing during the original version of Scar! “Why did you change the lyrics, Jim?” Questions I eternally…INTERNALLY ask. I wish I could go back and ask him 40 years ago, instead of wanting to ask him now and expecting or hoping he’ll remember something from that far back in time and give an erudite answer.

I arrive back from my dwam to see if the sound of the crowd could be detected. I’m listening through my iPad Mini, just out through its speaker but I can’t really detect any sound of the crowd.

Then Here Comes The Fool comes in and I can tell almost immediately that it isn’t a version I’ve heard before. If this IS genuinely a recording from Fforde Grene, then it’s the best damn version I’ve heard.

I go to Dream Giver to check the date the gig is said to have been recorded from and yep…they played Fforde Grene that night alright! And not only that but it is their debut gig on English soil and one of a few dates before they hit the road supporting Magazine on the Secondhand Daylight Tour.

I got half way through “Fool” before stopping to write this out and post the YT upload. I’ll get back to listening to the rest of the gig this afternoon.

I’m just so happy to hear what is sounding like from the few minutes I heard, a pretty great copy of a really fab gig.

I wish TARDIS’s were real! But seeing as they’re not, this is the next best thing. To all those who put their heads above the parapet and risked being banned from venues, etc, to record these gigs – THANK YOU!

So What Happens Now?

I don’t know. I didn’t talk as much about the “strange relationship” as I wanted to. (But I still talked a fuckload!) It was an odd title. I know he chose it for the Prince song but…I kind of missed the connection between the choice of Prince song and the subject of the taxi driver.

What “strange relationship” exactly? Having to straddle “rock stardom” and “normality“? Was that what it was eluding to?

Or does he write in code…? That could allude (elude?) to a “strange relationship”?

Again…no idea. Anyway, time for bed. I forgot ALL ABOUT posting this. Could have done so hours ago.

Night night.