Swede Sensation!

I listened to this last night (see link at the end of post). Wow! OMG – the Swedish crowd at this place LOOOOVE them! They just love them! It’s on a par with listening to a Glasgow gig for audience reception.

It’s a gig recorded from the crowd so the quality varies. Jim is not always super clear but the sound from the music is good enough. It would be fab if there was a better quality version of this gig out there somewhere. But in lieu of that, to have this one is enough.

Only the fifth airing of Someone Somewhere In Summertime and the crowd just absolutely love it already!

Just…the reactions from the crowd. This really makes the whole gig. The reception songs like Sweat In Bullet, Promised You A Miracle, I Travel and, in particular, Sons And Fascination get are just wonderful.

And the crowd sings along too! I wanted to cry tears of joy when Jim intros Sons And Fascination and the crowd are already chanting “Semi Monde!” before the song even starts! I love this crowd. I could imagine being in the throng and feeling like I was in amongst “my people” – you know what I mean?

And I really love this version of Room as well. I love it when Room has a little bit of the Velvets Rock N Roll in the middle of it. I almost wish they’d have covered it properly.

I know this is the “DUH!” statement coming up but – I LOVE JIM! I really, really love Jim.

I’ll confess that my initial interest in this gig was purely because it was on the day of this gig that Jim wrote the lyrics to New Gold Dream (the song) … and I just have this lasting image in my head…

He supposedly had the words come to him while he was in the bath. Before the gig? After the gig? I’ve no idea but…I just enjoy the imagery it conjures up in my head of this…ADONIS…languishing in a bath and then…

EUREKA!

In mind’s eye, it’s a GLORIOUS image! There’s not a towel to be seen. 😜🤓❤️

Anyway, forgive my ogling perversion. The link to the YT clip of the gig is below. It really is a good’un. Not so much for sound quality – but for atmosphere – it’s definitely a new favourite.

Enjoy!

Minds Music Monday – 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall – SAF/SFC 40th Anniversary Celebration

You can’t escape it. The thing that hits you when your first hear this song is Charlie’s pedal affected riff that makes it sound for all the world like a cow has entered the recording studio to add a repetitive “mooooo” to the music. It’s a bit of an “in joke” in amongst the Simple Minds fanbase, but we love it all the same!
Oh, and…the backbeat. The “holy backbeat”. The drumming is awesome!

There isn’t a lot of information on the song on Dream Giver, which means it remains one of Simple Minds’ most elusive songs. I mean…what the heck is it about actually? The lyrics are Jim at his most ambiguous.

“He wants the world screams everything” – men are petulant and demanding?
“She’s a country feel for life” – women are mysterious and a frontier to be explored and possibly tamed?
“Follows in love, love brings the fall” – it’ll only end in tears? Love makes fools of us all?

I guess this is a prime example of what I was talking about in last week’s MMM about songs not really having to be about anything at all.

I have long talked about two lines in the song being the most either enigmatic, or the most poignant.

The first of the two is the line, “first tear forms in the right eye / this is the eye that’s crying first” – it is SUCH an ambiguous, perplexing line. It’s always induced a head scratch and a pondering in me. I have never been conscious of my tears falling at different points from different eyes. I find it such a strange and curious notion.

When I was reading the Alasdair Gray novel, Lanark, last year, I happened upon a passage of the book which read as follows…

“I must be a very cold selfish kind of person. If Mum died I honestly don’t think I’d feel much about it. I can’t think of anyone, Dad, Ruth, Robert Coulter, whose death would much upset or change me. Yet when reading a poem by Poe last week, Thou wast that all to me, love, for which my soul did pine, etc., I felt a very poignant strong sense of loss and wept six tears, four with the left eye, two with the right. Mum isn’t going to die of course but this coldness of mine is a bit alarming.”

Gray would have probably written those words in the late nineteen seventies, if not earlier. He had been writing the novel since he was 20 years old. Lanark was first published in February, 1981. Had Jim actually read a copy upon release? I know he likes to devour his books and seemingly during that early period, Charlie was an even more voracious reader than Jim. Did those words in the book spark something within Jim and result in that line in the song?

If you remember from last week and the excerpts from interviews I shared when posting about In Trance As Mission, Jim said that inspiration came from all kinds of places.

“More and more ‘image’ is important for bands now,” Kerr enthuses, “as opposed to the sound of jumping up and down. You can be inspired by various actors, playwrights, books, documentaries and magazines – the whole thing. It’s just opened up and inspiration now is coming from everywhere, as opposed to what was rock standards.” (Jim talking with Ian Cranna for New Sounds New Styles magazine printed in the December 1981 issue.)

The other line is one I find quite downcast and melancholy from Jim, on the surface, but it ends up shining and giving hope like many of the lines he has written does.
“When the other side of midnight calls / remind me I’m glad to be here.”

I can interpret it either one of two ways, dependent upon my mood. The melancholic way – “another day is gone and I need a reminder that I am here and life is meant to be enjoyed”. Or the uplifting way “after midnight, it’s a new day. Give me that kick that it’s great to be alive”. There’s an element of doubt in it, “REMIND me I’m glad to be here”. If you are to derive true positivity from it, you shouldn’t need a REMINDER of being “glad to be here”, should you? But then I guess it begs the question, what is “here”? Here in this moment? Here on earth? Here, existing? Here, with you?

Yes, I do over-analyse as you can see. But it’s about learning. Getting to the heart and meaning of the song – if there is indeed meant to be one.

There is also a bone of contention I have with some of the words printed for the lyrics. I am sure that during the second verse that he doesn’t merely repeat the same line over again but splits it up accordingly “breath is in, breath is out / I’m not saying anything, I’ve said too much – breath is in, breath is out / I’m not seeing anything, I’ve seen too much.” That’s certainly how I hear it on the studio version anyway.

Now let’s talk about sparsity. I love the space that Jim’s obfuscatory lyrics give to the music of the songs. But also, especially for this song, the words almost act as another instrument. His voice and his words. He has said numerous times that he’s not a musician – because he doesn’t play an instrument. But you use your voice, Jim! THAT is your instrument and back in the early days of Simple Minds more so, and particularly during this period, coinciding with your words, you really DID use it that way. The nuances, the way you used your voice to manipulate the delivery of words. Your accent coming through some, the protracted delivery of others. All of that is using your voice as an instrument. Okay, it’s not opera. You’re no Pavarotti. But for me, 70 Cities is a prime example of your voice needing to be there. I love the song so much but I don’t listen to the instrumental version of Sound In 70 Cities because….it feels like nothing without your voice and words in it. Something is lost on Sound In 70 Cities without Jim there. I don’t think it was ever meant to be heard just as an instrumental anyway. It’s a “filler” for the Sister Feelings Call album. Rather crazy that at the end of so much creativity during those sessions that the release of two albums means the second ends up with not enough time filled on it!

Speaking of sparsity…
It has hardly appeared on the setlist through the years. It was there for a time on the final leg of the Sons And Fascination tour as well as the early leg of the New Gold Dream tour of 1982, but after that, not a zip. Not until 30 years elapses and they’re on the 5×5 Live tour. It’s a mainstay for the sets on that tour, with just the odd omission here and there when the setlist is reduced for festival slots and suchlike. But then nothing again since 2012.

It is an absolute marathon of a song to perform live vocally though. You have the ability to overdub and merge vocal parts in the studio so the way the vocal parts are layered in the studio is incredibly hard for Jim to replicate live. Live versions required vocal backing harmonies from other band members (namely Forbes and MacNeil in the early runs, then Grimes and Gillespie latterly, I am guessing) to not make it such a vocal slog for Jim. Even with that help, it’s a rather tricky affair.

Getting into the bootlegs as I have done recently I was in raptures hearing live versions of 70 Cities from the 1982 gigs. Firstly from Tiffany’s in Glasgow on July 14th (performed TWICE in one night – the second being even more lively than the first, which you wouldn’t expect at a gig – as a result the second is favoured by me over the first), then at the Hacienda in Manchester a few days later. There is also one from when they played Coasters in Edinburgh in September ‘82 available to hear on YT, and finally one from Toronto in November of ‘82 – which is probably my favourite along with the second of the two performances at Tiffany’s.

Of the modern versions, there’s a cracking one from Cologne in 2012. And I can’t talk of the modern day ones without mentioning the version on the 5×5 Live album – Jim audibly expressing his love for his home away from home, Sicily, rolling off a bunch of town names in his most poetic of “Glasgow Italiano” accents. It’s hard not to smile listening to it, swept up in the sheer joy in his voice. As much as I enjoy that version, Cologne wins out because there is great video footage that accompanies it and Jim is AS HOT AS FUCKING FUCK on that tour. Jesus! I’ll regret not being this kind of SM fan at that point every day of my life. The memories other fans have. And the stories they have of meeting him and him just…going for a drink with them or just…hanging around for a bit. Not just rushing off. It sounded amazing. IN MY DREAMS!

Of course I am amazed and happy with all that I have experienced – but I’ll always dream of more. I’ll always want more! I can’t help it.

You’ll find links to all the versions mentioned below – with my two favourites viewable within the post.

Gallus in Glasgow, July 1982 (Vers. One at 53sec, Vers. Two at 1:25:10) – https://youtu.be/i0Brp4ucqik
Heady Hacienda (not the best sound), July 1982 – https://youtu.be/7E74uyEbfzY
Elegant in Edinburgh, Sept 1982 (Marked start point in description box) – https://youtu.be/CaZxk4Uf0sY
Sentimentally Sunny in Sicily 2012 – https://youtu.be/hGVwhMcR4m0

Minds Music Monday – Vitriolic Jim in Vrendenburg, 1982

As I said yesterday in my Sunday Waffle Vlog post, I went looking through the Art & Talk YouTube channel for something else to listen to, having been enjoying his more recent offerings.

I gazed upon the one below and thought “well, it’s only a few weeks prior to one of my most favoured gigs – one that helped to cement my uber SM fandom – Rockpalast in Cologne” so to me it had the strong potential of being a goodun’.

I was NOT disappointed! Right from the get go! Changeling – Jim just spits venom and vitriol. God I bloody LOVE IT when he performs like this. I find it absolutely as sexy as fuck! It’s just so…visceral and guttural and just….I just want to lick him from head to toe!

Then Thirty Frames and the switching of the lines – Jack comes back earlier than normal. Lol. But then, almost in a way angry at himself mabbies for fluffing up and putting the lines in the wrong place, he follows it with a “fuck you, Jack!” Lol

Premonition next and a fab version. Sweat In Bullet also. Then early outings for Promised You A Miracle – already been out as a single and FINALLY, Simple Minds score strong chart positions with a single. King Is White And In The Crowd follows, and Jim continues to spit venom with the “Wire them up! Fire them up!” lines.

The wonderful pairing (still being paired together to this day) of I Travel and Celebrate. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a crap version of Celebrate. JIM – I WANT TO BE YOUR RAG DOLL!!! Jesus fucking christ this man is so fucking sexy! Ermaaaaageeeerd! Had I actually been around for these gigs in 1982 – I think I’d have melted in a puddle most nights.

Then what is always my favourite at gigs – The American. Then finally, a fabulous version of Room – a shame it fades out towards the end….but we probably got 80-85% of the song.

Let’s move away from me concentrating on Jim’s performance and my…stirrings and talk about the quality of the recording and the rest of the band performance. The band – all tight AF. A really good turn from Mike O on the drums. The more I get exposed to Mike’s performances, the more I am coming round to appreciate him. Derek and Charlie both solid as ever. Mick was probably great too – but some of the keyboards got lost in the mix. Other than that, the sound quality is pretty ace. I mean, I proper recording as I guess it was recorded for a radio station as this version of the gig was recorded off Dutch radio by a fan. Jim sounds very strong and clear – hence all the visceral sounding stuff coming to the fore soundwise.

I really loved this gig. I found adrenaline pumping – if for no other reason than Jim’s vocal performance and his absolute SEX GOD appeal! Be still my beating ovaries! GODDAMN!!

Enjoy! Happy MMM…

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.

Rewind To Oz – New Gold Discs, 1982

This photo was shared by Bruce Findlay on Twitter a few days back. It’s of Simple Minds (and Bruce) receiving gold discs for New Gold Dream in Australia in 1982.

Pictured are Jim Kerr, Derek Forbes (behind Jim), Mike Ogletree, Mick MacNeil and Bruce.

The photo was sent to Bruce by former Roadrunner magazine founder and publisher, Donald Robertson. You can read more about him and the magazine at roadrunnertwice.com.au

Of course, it was Roadrunner magazine that has one of my favourite magazine covers of all time – and one I tried in vain to get a copy of early on in my fandom – the one of Jim with Iva Davies on the cover. There is a section of Mr Robertson’s blog in which you can view a digital copy of every issue of the magazine that was produced.

I love seeing photos like these. They allow you in to a little bit of history that you missed.

I think I should think about renaming my blog “The Vicarious Mind”. Lol

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.

Weekend WhirliGIG – Tiffany’s, Glasgow, July 14th, 1982

It’s a proper old style bootleg – but a good quality one – from in the crowd rather than the soundboard.

And you get to hear said crowd go mental when Jim intros certain songs, or hear how raucous the applause is when certain songs end. Most of the setlist sparks rapturous applause and reactions, to be fair.

It’s great to hear a recording of 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall from that time. It was on the setlist through the latter part of 1982 – from the summer onwards, but I don’t recall hearing too many recordings of it.

I started listening to it last night but did my usual and started to drift off during King Is White And In The Crowd and came round during Celebrate (the mention of “she rag doll” brought me round, I’m assuming – me obviously thinking “Hey, I’m not with Jim, being his rag doll. Oh, bugger!” Lol).

Also lovely to hear an early appearance of Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), introed by Jim under its WIP title of “Summer Song”. The song was all but complete. Not sure if the repeating of the first verse for the second verse was because at that point Jim hadn’t written the second verse, or that he just made the faux pas he sometimes did (even once fully written and previously performing both different verses) of just mistakenly repeating the first verse.

The gig was just a few days after Jim’s 23rd birthday, and his voice was just sounding sooo amazing. I absolutely ADORE the way he was sounding at that point in time. There was a real richness to his tone at that point. It’s probably why I fell asleep in all honesty – just his gorgeous voice serenading me to sleep.

I will pick it up from King Is White this evening and listen to the rest of the gig.

And I just noticed the rest of the setlist. An encore of Promised You A Miracle – no surprise there, but also one for 70 Cities?! Wow! I mean, it’s a real vocal challenge for Jim at the START of the gig, let alone at the END of it! Bloody hell!

I honestly can’t imagine what I would have been like being able to see them (him!) then. I think anyone around me would have run the risk of slipping on my drool. Lol – I think I need to find an appropriate gif…

Anyway! Before I end up drowning in a pool of my own drool thinking about Jim at this gig, I better go!

Enjoy!

Simple Minds Magazine Article – Mojo Magazine Early 2012

It’s a clipping I only recently came into possession of and I had never (for obvious reasons) read the article before.

Some interesting things said. Interesting to read Mick saying that he thought they’d have all stayed together…maybe might had still been together (as of then) if Brian hadn’t have left when he did.

Also interesting them bringing up the cover of Record Mirror mag with Brian on it. I was only very recently chatting to Ronnie about that cover. He said to me it wasn’t the photo he wanted on the cover and shared with me a photo of Jim he had submitted for use (which I won’t be sharing here unless I get photographer’s permission first – I haven’t asked him).

Good bit of talk about Rockfield and Iggy and Bowie in the lead up to Saturday’s airing of the documentary on the BBC.

Jim seems rather more philosophical in this than he has done at other times.

A couple more clippings to come….including another Sheila Rock gem (hence the reason I ended up with the clipping – prior to the “naked titties” one surfacing).