Minds Music Monday – Ritchie’s Club – New Orleans – 27/04/1983

Ghost Dancer (aka Stuart Greaves) has shared another gem of a bootleg, this time of SM some seven months into the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 – midway through the North American leg of the tour in April/May of 1983.

Playing the Ritchie’s Club in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recorded by a member of the crowd – hearing audible bits like the guy telling the girl next to him to stop talking to him as he’s recording the show. Lol (You tell her, pal!) The recording is a good one coming from the crowd as it does. Some people obviously managed to sneak in some great recording equipment to these gigs. Mates who were working as road crew on the night or some such? No idea how they did it, but kudos for doing so.

As for the band themselves and the gig? Well, as you’d expect by now, we hear all of the New Gold Dream album (Somebody Up There Likes You as their walk-on intro music), plus stonking versions of I travel, Celebrate, The American and Love Song. There’s a little of the set lost (changing the tape over in the recorder, I’m guessing?) where the ending of Hunter And The Hunted cuts off and we return about a third of the way through Promised You A Miracle.

It feels as though Jim is going through the motions a little bit at times. He wavers a little, especially towards to tail end of the set. There’s a bit of banter that happens. I’m guessing fans are asking for certain songs to be played. At one point Jim says “Naw. It’s too old.” But usually it is just “Thank you.” And an intro of the next song. I guess I am odd to miss that Jim, right? The one who never seemed overly engaging with the crowd? I guess I miss …. the intensity. Can one miss what they never truly experienced? I do love the ease of engaging “older statesman” Jim now though. He knows how to get the fans in a frenzy still, just with less “whirling dervish” manoeuvres and brooding frontman intensity and more “banter” and acknowledgement of the crowd.

Having said all that…if that was young Jim on an “off night”…imagine him when he was fully up for it?! ERMAGERRRRRD! I’d say he was 70/30 that night. 70 on, 30 off. Or there abouts.

Anyway, it is definitely a gig I’d listen to again.

Enjoy!

“Bible” Updates

Dream Giver Redux (aka simpleminds.org) has had some updates – including some photos sent in from a lady in Brisbane. There was talk of SM performing in Brisbane for the first time in 1981 – I don’t doubt that. There was space in the calendar in 1981 for them to have played Brissie between their Gold Coast gig on Charlie’s birthday and their next penciled in gig on Dec 1st in Newcastle.

But the photos she sent in? They definitely come from 1982 by my reckoning. The way Jim and Charlie are dressed and look. It’s signature 1982 – Jim’s haircut and his clothes are definitely then.

My pedantry aside, the photos are great. I love these kind of photos! Ones taken crudely from people sneaking in cameras. Those were the days, eh? Don’t get me wrong – I love the pro photos! God knows I love the pro photos! But these amateur photos make the things feel more real.

Geez I wish I’d had been born in 1960 instead of 1970!

Update page with the photos on it can be viewed HERE

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

From Auckland To The Norfolk Broads

Well, not quite. Norwich anyway. The University of East Anglia, in fact.

I found myself on the hunt for something for someone last night and…going down the usual “rabbit hole” one invariably ends up at.

I was on Twitter looking for relevant info to what I was searching for (no luck!) but I happened upon a couple of photos shared of Jim performing at gigs – which are FLIPPING AMAZING (and previously unseen to me – will share them further below) but also stumbled on this tweet about a lady named Ruth Selwyn-Crome and her memories of seeing Simple Minds on the New Gold Dream tour when it hit the UEA on December 6th, 1982. Excerpt below…

Whatever got him to that look – dying his hair (well, he had been doing that from almost day one of Simple Minds), caking on the dark makeup around his eyes while accentuating and exaggerating his pallid skin tone and combining that with the clothes he wore at that point – he sold himself absolutely and completely right! Whether that was instinctual, or just a “happy accident” and not as with other things he’d do, ruthlessly and meticulously planned, then – hats off to him either way. It was a masterstroke of a look that absolutely matched the sound and mood of New Gold Dream and of that time in general.

I used to refer to him as “Laird Dash Fandango” or “my Goth Prince” – like a kind of New Wave … messiah (almost). He seemed to meld the elements that were all floating around at the time – the dark eye make up and pallid skin was straight out of the goth scene – but Jim was no goth. The baggy trousers and the knee high riding boots, matched with scarf-wearing reflected elements of New Romanticism but again, Jim wasn’t a New Romantic – his way of dress was more understated and still harked back to the traditional a lot of the time. Those baggy troosers simply matched with a collared shirt and some loafers, with the only other hint of a nod to New Romanticism being a flashy belt he’d wear more as a sash or a shoulder of ammunition and have his socks pulled up over his trouser legs, more for the purposes of not tripping over those loose trooser legs. I do find the look of him in this period striking and ssoooo aesthetically beautiful.

The 50 year old me would love to go back to the 11 year old me when seeing the Promised You A Miracle video for the first time and whisper in her ear, “No, just look at him! Really look at him! You have this Aussie idea of a man in your head, all “golden”. But this guy? He’s REAL gold! Celtic gold! Trust me. There will come a time in your life when this man will be EVERYTHING to you! Take him in now! He’s beautiful. Stop fussing over his nipples, because BELIEVE ME, you’ll be fussing over his nipples for very different reasons in the years to come!” Lol

But…I wildly digress and this post is meant to be a link to Ruth’s experience of seeing the Minds in Norwich in ‘82, not my wishes and dreams and feelings on His New Wave Goth Prince Laird Dash Fandango Kerrness.

You can read Ruth’s full piece in the “Memory Tent” section of the University of East Anglia website – LINK HERE

And now, the promised photos… (source links viewable by clicking the photos)

Flirty Kerr With Collett

I’ve been meaning to share this here. Someone posted it on the SMOG FB page and…well, look at the photo. Jesus, he’s such a flirt! God, I’d give anything!

You beautiful man, Mr Kerr. I wish I didn’t adore you so much.

I love the story behind the crane. I never even thought about it being that – that he bought it for that reason. That’s frigging adorable!

It’s these things! These kind of actions! It’s not just the aesthetic of him. It’s all of it. His words. How he sees the world. How he relates to things. How things impact upon him. All of that. All of that makes me love him.

Not just him being a singer and lyricist in a band. That’s almost irrelevant – it’s only relevant in terms of making him known to me. It’s the person he is – the character. He’s beauty personified.

Jim Kerr, you are just the most beautiful thing to me and you bring me to tears.

You can read the full post about the time NZ music journalist, Helen Collett, met up with the Minds (and the resulting Kerr/Collett flirtathon) by clicking HERE

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.

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

Burning Gold Memories…

Well maybe SMOG will get better. But I fear it’ll be VERY selective and VERY exclusive.

And…I have no memories from a lifetime ago…nothing of any significance to contribute so I’ll keep schtum. My memories will probably just be shared here on the blog.

This post from Carol Loudon deserved its posting to SMOG. It’s beautiful. The note from Jim is wonderful. And to have a setlist handwritten by him is just…wow!

And here I can express just how lovely it is, how much envy I have of it…how much it kind of stings with regret…how much I wish for things…and all from the comfort of my own blog. No one to tell me what a sad, pathetic creature I am. No one to spread scorn upon my feelings.

As for Carol not having met them still? Oh, I do get it. I get this thing about not wanting the myth shattered. Not wanting that…exalted image you have of someone be tainted. But having met Jim several times now, albeit them all very briefly, I would never want it any differently. He’s beautiful. What else can I say? I feel absolutely inferior in his presence. I always will. But…just to be there. I adore him.

Aside from Jim? They are all so lovely. Charlie at the meet and greet last year tried to engage with me…get me talking..and I was just a clam. Lol. But he’s lovely. At Bridlington in 2017, there was a man who was so, so nervous! He wanted to get his tour program signed but was too scared to ask. As Charlie was leaving to get on the tour bus, I stopped him. “Charlie, this man (pointing to the man in question) would love to have his tour program signed, but he’s too nervous to ask. Would you please sign it for him?” Of course he did! The irony of ME stopping Charlie to ask if he’d sign a tour program for a nervous fan was not lost on me. But…I just knew how that guy was feeling. And he was right there! He’d have regretted not asking all the rest of his days.

I’m pretty sure Jim signed it too. But once Jim appeared, my memory turned into a haze. Lol. Such a silly mess of a girl I am.

Meeting Brian McGee last year. And Bruce Findlay too. Having my drumming lessons with Cherisse. And meeting Mick MacNeil just last month. They are all so lovely, patient and kind.

So, yes, I see some good in SMOG…but I’m worried about just HOW exclusive it’ll feel and I feel somewhat immediately ostracised from things. Time will tell.

Weekend WhirliGIG Wish – New Gold Dream Tour – Manchester, Nov 28th, 1982

As we have all been sharing the love of the album, with it having just celebrated its 35th anniversary, I thought it apt to highlight a gig from the tour. A Sunday gig…and just a couple of days after their appearance on The Tube (where the pic of Jim for my “WhirliGIG” logo comes from). The whole album is performed, bar Somebody Up There Likes You. All in quite wonderful quality audio.

I’m off to Manchester this weekend (metaphorically)…I dunno about you guys!