Video Review – Blenheim Palace

Sorry it’s a video review but it was the only quick way for me to do it. Needs must and all that. Hope you enjoy my waffling and moaning. Lol

WARNING: You’ll see my hagged old face and have to endure my croaky voice and dripping nose. Sorry! To make up for it, there are some musical snippets…

To the left of the photo was our hero video screen tech guy.

Review: Crowded House – OVO Hydro, Glasgow – 10 June, 2022

I am starting to warm to the Hydro as a concert venue. The only fly in the ointment left for it is its location. It’s not in the most convenient of locales. It’s beautifully positioned as far as aesthetics go. Sharing its space near the Armadillo, Finnieston crane and with Pacific Quay and the Science Centre on the opposite side of the Clyde, and with the Squinty bridge in view – the aesthetic really does work. 

I’d like to say that it’s the public transport letting it down, but…it just isn’t that well catered for with public transport links anyway. There is a train station nearby – Exhibition station, but that’s only really serviceable from/via Central station, so us in the north of the city who have Queen Street as our train arrival point into the city can’t really make use of that. The only other option would be to take the subway and get off at either Kelvinhall or Cessnock. Of the two it’s actually easier to get out at Cessnock and cross the Clyde by the footbridge at Pacific Quay than it is to navigate your way down from Kelvinhall. 

Weather is also an issue – ALWAYS an issue in Glasgow! Lol.

The choice for us yesterday was to take a taxi there. I pre-booked one to come and collect us at 5.45pm. Doors opened to the Hydro at 6.30pm. I tried booking the taxi for 6pm but all the drivers were booked for then so tried 5.45pm instead and was able to book. I also pre-booked a taxi to come and collect us after the show at 11pm.

The south Clyde view around 6.15pm
The view an hour later from inside the OVO Hydro Level 2

We arrived in plenty of time. It had only just passed 6pm. People were already queuing to go in, which I found rather surprising as there was no general admission standing space in front of the stage as there was with the Simple Minds gig. For Crowded House it was a fully seated affair. This is only my third concert experience in the Hydro and the first I had experienced as a fully seated arena. It seemed a bit daft to me – but I guess there being seats splayed out on the floor like that meant a premium ticket price could be charged as opposed to a general admission charge. 

With sunny skies and time to kill we (we being myself and my usual gig buddy, Birdy) decided to take a stroll over the Clyde and grab a coffee at one of the coffee houses near Pacific Quay. The Costa at the building opposite BBC Scotland HQ was closed, but the Starbucks on the other side of the road was still open. Coffee, tea and various foodstuffs were devoured. Just as we were finishing up our food and drink, the skies blackened and we decided to nip back over to the Hydro before the heavens opened. We only just made it before getting a thorough soaking. Knowing that we would soon be hearing the likes of ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ seemed incredibly appropriate. Those Finn compositions were absolutely made for Glasgow. 

We milled about for a bit. Went upstairs, took in the view of the Clyde from the standing bar area (see pic) and then went and got seated. I had a seat next to a husband and wife and got chatting to them. Birdy and I had bought our tickets to the gig at separate times so we weren’t seated together but, as it turned out, the seats to my right stayed vacant so we were able to sit together anyway.

The gig had been scheduled to start at 8.30pm and was listed as ‘No support’, so it was surprising to find Liam Finn coming out to the stage just after 8pm to perform a small set. He sounds so much like his dad in singing style. A pretty good guitarist too. He only performed a quick set of around 20-25 minutes. With him finishing at around 8.25pm it seemed unlikely Crowded House would be appearing five minutes later. They arrived on the stage at 8.45pm to a very warm round of applause. They started the show with a fantastic rendition of Distant Sun. There were some newer songs in amongst the set that I am only vaguely familiar with. I’ve only played their most recent album release a couple of times but the songs are already becoming familiar to me. 

Both Neil and Nick were up for the craic and had some great patter with the crowd. Neil even started a completely off-the-cuff made on the fly composition that he called ‘Hi-Viz Jacket’ and was getting the crowd to sing along to. 

I recorded Fall At Your Feet – but I should have kept recording instead of ending it where I did as Neil got the crowd into yet another sing along and it was just beautiful. Really magical.

Along the way Neil was listening to the crowd call outs, trying to hear what people were saying and actually legitimately interested in hearing any requests that came his way. After they performed ‘Black And White Boy’ someone called out “LESTER!” Not familiar with the entire Crowded House back catalogue, they were requesting a song. Neil obliged and they performed it impromptu. At the end of the song, Neil explained that he obliged the request as it linked to the previous song – both of them being about family dogs. 

For me this is when the show really started to go up a gear. They performed ‘Something So Strong’ and then the song I was really hoping they’d play and performed ‘When You Come’, which was just gorgeous!

Then a big block of hits… ‘Four Seasons In One Day, ‘Weather With You’, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ and ‘It’s Only Natural’ all followed in quick succession. They hadn’t taken a break all night until this point for a brief break before a wonderful encore which included another fabulous sing along on ‘World Where You Live’ and the surprise of the night, an awesome rendition of ‘I Got You’. Finally, the show ended with the appropriate and sublime ‘Better Be Home Soon’.



What a gig! They were utterly fantastic. The vocal harmonies between Neil and Liam are splendid. And their guitar playing is wonderfully complementary to one another. Elroy, Neil’s other son, is great on drums. Nick Seymour is a stalwart as Crowded House’s bassman. Mitchell Froom is fabulous on keys. And they have a great guy on percussion as well. 

I don’t know if when we went through the pandemic and the Hydro was being used as the NHS Louisa Jordan Covid-19 vaccine centre that allowed them to sort out the acoustics of the place when it went back to being a concert venue or what – but these two most recent gigs I’ve experienced there, Simple Minds and now Crowded House – the acoustics were great both times. Flawless for Simple Minds. And the only minor cripe I had about last night was initially I felt Neil’s voice was a little hard to pick up at times but it eventually got sorted. To be honest, it only really seemed to be an issue with songs I wasn’t so familiar with and I was trying to listen to the lyrics.


I haven’t been to a lot of gigs this year so far. The vast majority of them being Simple Minds – quelle surprise – but I have to say that Crowded House last night are really in pole position with the Minds for gig of the year for 2022! Two Hydro gigs going neck and neck for the title! Who’d have thunk it?!

Crowded House are still touring the UK right now. They’re in Scarborough tonight and have gigs in Cardiff, Birmingham, Hampton Court Palace in London, and Manchester still to come. I’d recommend you catch them if you can. 

End note – the taxi ride home was timed to perfection. I started to worry I had booked the taxi too early but I needn’t have worried. The band wrapped up the gig around 10.45pm which gave us enough time to scoot across the road to the Campanile Hotel and be collected from the car park. We were back in the door home around 11.15pm. It was a great night.

Waiting for the taxi at the end of the night.

Review: Jimmy Webb (+Ashley Campbell) – The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh – 3 June, 2022

We’re having a bit of a train timetable crisis in Scotland at the moment with services running on sparse timetables. Around a week before this gig I looked at the train timetable to see when the last train from Waverley station back to Queen Street would be. The last service last night was at 10.15pm – too early for it to be practical for me to get, let alone even go to the gig at all, in all honesty. A stay overnight was out of the question. Too short notice which meant it would be too pricey and I really shouldn’t have to be spending the night in Edinburgh – not coming from Glasgow! (I’d travel a similar distance from Luton to see shows and gigs in London and NEVER stayed in London.)

I thought a coach too and back was going to incur a similar cost as the coach to Edinburgh airport, but of course the companies have to stick on a 60% markup on fares to take you to/from an airport – happens the world over. I was pleasantly surprised that a coach to Edinburgh was only £3.60 each way so I decided the coach would do it. There were coaches leaving every 30 minutes from around 9.30pm so I knew I wouldn’t get stranded. 

I caught the coach at 4.15pm and arrived at Princes Street at around 5.30pm. It was a smooth journey. There was one rather worrying element early on. There was a stop just outside greater Glasgow where the M8 and M73 converge near Bargeddie and the driver seemed not to be able to take the coach out of the lower curb resting position – as if the hydraulics to lift the suspension back up had jammed. My heart began to sink. Although I had allowed for some time in case of jams or suchlike, I didn’t take into account time for a total coach breakdown! After a few minutes the hydraulics on the coach seemed to work again and we were off. Apart from that scare, the journey went without a hitch.

I had time to meander to the venue. I had 90 minutes to get there. I arrived there just after 6pm and just had a wander about the area. I had sod-all money and had hardly anything to eat, just enough to keep me going. I was quite thirsty but didn’t want to spend out on a drink so I bought myself an apple which was crisp and juicy enough to act as both thirst-quencher and stomach-filler. It had been in the chiller and was quite cold so it was very refreshing. I sat in a nearby park, enjoying the sun and watching the goings on around the park whilst eating the apple.



Doors opened to the venue at 7pm and I joined a small queue that was forming a few minutes before the hour. We were promptly let in. I spent a penny in the gender neutral(!) loos (which does feel a bit strange when you’re walking into the space and men are there washing their hands), then took my seat.

I was glad to have arrived as promptly as I had done as Webb’s support act, Ashley Campbell (Glen Campbell’s daughter, no less) started her support set right on 7.30pm. I really enjoyed her set a lot. I will freely admit my prejudice to country music but I was so moved by her performance. She has a very sweet voice and she’s a very natural and modest performer. Her accompaniment was a man named Thor Jensen who has his own album out. He had great harmonies with Ashley and they performed really well together. The lyrics to the songs she performed were just lovely and I cried several times, esp. at the end when she performed a song called Remembering about her dad and about how the Altheimers ravaged his ability to remember things. It was really poignant and beautiful. In the footage below, Ashley and Thor perform Tom Waits’ Long Way Home. I think I can say I had an epiphany and am now a fan of Ashley Campbell after last night.


Jimmy Webb arrived on the stage at 8.30pm to a very warm round of applause. It was a crowd of country music fans, as well as Jimmy Webb fans. A thoroughly appreciative crowd and Webb certainly did not disappoint, leading straight off with a rendition of Galveston.  

It was quite a 50/50 split between music performance and conversation piece. Webb is quite the story-teller and has many tales to tell. He talked about his upbringing (some of which I captured on film) in Oklahoma (and like a few other people I know who grew up or lived in Oklahoma) which he compounded the general consensus about Oklahoma is the roads out of there! Lol. He talked about his early success, Grammy award nominations and wins, working with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and, of course, Glen Campbell. He had quite a few political views too, which he didn’t shy away from discussing. He talked about how Wichita Lineman came about, a spontaneous meeting with Louis Armstrong, Kenye West knicking a song of his to put down Taylor Swift (Jimmy was NOT happy about that!). He cracked a lot of jokes. There was quite a lot of humour and in between a fantastic repertoire of songs. 



It’s quite the catalogue and he only performed a small selection of them. He’s an accomplished pianist. Is he a great singer? Well, no – by his own admission. He is a songwriter and he’s 75 (looking good for it though, it has to be said). It was a thoroughly entertaining evening.

About two thirds of the way through the show, during a quiet lull in the show, someone called out ‘P.F. Sloan, Jimmy!’ Webb’s retort, ‘Hang on a minute. I’m thinking.’ Then another person calls out. ‘Okay. I heard you the first time. Give me a minute. Let me figure something out here.’ After a few minutes talking about how the song came about, he then went into it as requested. Whoever that person was that called out the request, kudos to you because it became the highlight of the show for me. 

I had to check the time now and then. As it drew closer to 10.30 I started to become mindful of how much time I’d need to get back to the Royal Mile and to the coach station for home. I had booked the 11.30pm coach back. Just after 10.40pm I decided to make my move. Webb just started with MacArthur Park and as reluctant as I was to leave before the end of the show, I knew I had to leave now. I spent another penny and off I went.

I had a mile long walk to go, alone, in a quieter area of Edinburgh and I was BRICKING IT! I contemplated grabbing a bus to get me back to Princes Street but I thought by the time I wanted for one to come by, etc, etc, I was best off just to keep pushing on. I get to Waverley station and have to go down that bloody staircase. Down, down, down. Then I cut through Waverley station itself and then get to the escalators taking you out the the other side to see that the ones higher up the staircase aren’t working. Oh, great! It’s 11.23 by the time I get to Princes Street and I still have about a quarter of a mile to go to get to the bus station. When I finally get to the bus station, my coach is right at the end of the bays! I can barely walk anymore. I get to the coaches’ step at 11.27! I’m then grappling with my phone to find my ticket to show to the driver. I take a seat at 11.29 – feeling as if I’ve just run a marathon – but I made it! Thirsty as hell and no drink at all but I made the coach and I was heading home. I had money left for a taxi back home from Buchanan bus station. It was all good.

It was a really good concert.

Review: Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson


“It’s been a long time coming”, as Sam Cooke sang, “but a change is gonna come.” The time has come for Sarah Brown. Long established as a backing vocalist for a number of world renowned musical artists including; Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Bryan Ferry and Duran Duran, Sarah is currently on tour with Simple Minds.

It is during her past 12 years with Simple Minds, led by bolstering confirmation, mentorship and camaraderie from Minds frontman, Jim Kerr, that Ms Brown has stepped out beyond the backing vocalist background. Afforded the freedom and confidence to take on more of a co-vocalist role within the Simple Minds touring set-up has given Sarah the added confidence she freely admits to have lacked in the past. 

This strength in confidence has led on to Sarah releasing her debut solo album, ‘Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson’. Jackson was the leading positive figurehead for the young Brown growing up in the quiet Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury. 

The album is a joyous and empowering homage to a gospel great. 

Opener ‘Nobody Knows’ emulates musically Sarah’s whole journey to this point. Starting so quietly and solemnly until BAM – we get into the guts of it and here she comes, telling us in a not-to-be-reckoned-with style, “You think you’ve had troubles? You ain’t had NOTHING compared to ME, mister! But I didn’t let it get me down. No way, no how! Let’s kick this stuff into touch!”

Lead single from the album, ‘I’m On My Way’, emphasises that in some respects Sarah’s journey is only just beginning. It’s happening! She’s coming for us! Blessed be! 

The standout at this early point in the album not only is very obviously Sarah’s voice, but also the wonderful piano work from Colin Good. It’s an instrument made to accompany Sarah’s voice and Good is masterful in weaving that accompanying instrument around Sarah’s exquisite alto tone. 

‘Didn’t It Rain’ is soul and gospel richness. If I was Noah and Sarah came a-knocking there’d be NO WAY I’d not be letting her in, geez! I could play this track most days in this city I love (Glasgow) and it would be the best response to ward off any ‘blues’ from the endless rain this “Dear Green Place” seems to require to stay green. 

On Sarah’s interpretation of ‘Summertime’, the blend of bass, organ and piano are as heavenly as Sarah’s voice. Kudos to Luke Smith and Tom Wheatley for their musicianship on organ and bass, respectively. This version of ‘Summertime’ is a beautiful mellow, languid piece. An adult lullaby – if such a thing can exist? So soothing. Sublime. Really give it the attention it deserves. Make sure you have a quiet 35 minutes to really immerse yourself in the experience of listening to this album, especially when it comes to this track. 

And if you think I’ve forgotten to mention someone on the musician list? No, no, no…Jerome Brown’s time comes with the next song. I hope you didn’t get too comfortable listening to that wonderfully languid version of ‘Summertime’? Because you’re gonna be getting up out of your seat for ‘Walking Over Heaven’. The second single off the album, released just a few weeks before the album’s release is rally-calling uplifting dynamo of gospel soul bliss. Thumping, hollering glory! And those backing vocals – oh my word! And how great is it that Sarah is the lead having HER vocals being backed up?! About time!

A simple prayer. A simple wish. Expressed angelically. ‘Just a Closer Walk’ is that most splendid of blues gospel tunes, all in the subtlety of it is its power. One that slowly builds to a modest crescendo. It’s pretty close to perfection, this track. 

There’s a storm brewing. A dark timbre and metre. ‘Trouble of the World’ doesn’t lull you into any false sense of security. It’s straight down the line. These are dark times. What drama this song has! And what an ending! It’s a heavy piece and very dramatic, but again, exquisitely executed. 

‘Joshua’ is a fantastic blend of blues, gospel and jazz. An absolute foot-tapper. Short and to the point. Nothing is wasted here. 

If you aren’t brought to tears by Sarah’s version of ‘Amazing Grace’, you’re made of much tougher stuff than I am. In fact I’d be brutal enough to say that you might like to check if there is a heart inside that chest of yours. 

In all, Ms Brown’s debut solo album is an immaculate homage to an incredible, inspiring woman, who in turn has given us another incredible and inspiring woman in her wake. 

Us Simple Minds fans have been blessed to have experienced and enjoyed Sarah’s voice and spirit for a number of years now and we all feel so immensely proud that ‘Oor Sadie’ has found her wings and is soaring high. 

If you’re seeking music that uplifts and brings you joy and has elements of jazz, blues and gospel to it, I cannot recommend ‘Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson’ strongly enough.

Sarah’s done ‘Halie proud. She’s done all of us fans proud. Most importantly, she’s done herself proud. Hallelujah, Ms Brown. Hallelujah!

Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson is out now and available for purchase through Sarah’s website at: https://www.sarahbrownofficial.com/

Paris Review – Part Two: ‘Song Please!’

Picking up where I left off from yesterday…

I didn’t really say too much about the actual soundcheck. And I can only remember two of the songs that were performed – Hypnotised (seemed pretty apt for me! Lol) and The Walls Came Down (which Jim said will be on the new album coming out). It all sounded great to me…as soundchecks go. Jim always feels the need to prefix it all with an apology of it sounding echoey and stuff. 

After that kind of engagement I always feel…a whole mix of emotions. I don’t even know anymore what the overriding feeling is? Relief? Joy? Overwhelmed? Emotionally shattered? I can feel both overwhelmed to be there and simultaneously feel as though I have no place…no right to be there. Happy…I think. Happy and grateful. Ever so grateful. 

I WAS PARCHED! 

It was 6pm and so we decided to try and grab something to eat and drink. We were able to do a little cheat (shh!) – I felt a little guilty for this, but hey – why not? The only thing that couldn’t be altered with the whole Paris show was the seats we had – which was fine. I had bought the best seats I could get as soon as Paris was on sale anyway, so it wasn’t like we were going to be stuck waaaaay at the back. The VIP treatment continues for the punters with actual VIP tickets and because we’d been in there for the experience, we were given little cards to be fast tracked through the queue when coming back to the venue for the gig itself. We really shouldn’t have got those as we were in standard seats – but I was sssooo thankful we got given them all the same. It meant we didn’t really have to get back to the venue TOO early and it would give us time to get a bit of a recharge.

We found an Italian place just back over the bridge, five minutes away from La Seine Musicale. It was teeming with people but there still seemed to be space and seats available. We were about to walk off just to check the few places a little further down the way when I could hear Don’t You (Forget About Me) being played through their sound system. Very canny ploy of theirs because it got Birdy and I to stop and rethink. Then a waiter stopped and looked at us like…are ya coming in or what? In we went! Birdy had a G&T and I had a non-alcoholic Bora Bora mixer, consisting mostly of pineapple and grenadine. We shared bruschetta. The Simple Minds music continued while we dined in Cafe Seguin – Alive And Kicking, Promised You A Miracle, New Gold Dream, all tunes I remember overhearing while there.

With a little time left we decided to take our VIP merch bags back to the hotel. The location of the hotel could not have been better. The only thing I didn’t like was crossing the couple of intersections we needed to cross when walking to/back from the hotel. French traffic is sssooo bad – and pedestrians don’t feel very high on your average French driver’s concerns. The crossings are marked on the road, and doubled up with red/green men – but even with a marked crossing and a green man you still have to check and double check that no one is wanting to bomb around the corner and knock you down. French roads, and Parisian roads in particular, scare the crap out of me!

We made it back to the hotel and then back to the venue in one piece. We were back at La Seine Musicale at 7.30pm and got fast tracked through to our seats. Birdy was convinced we were seated over to the side several rows back, whereas I thought we were going to be the same number of the rows back, but right bang in the front central block. I was right. Those front blocks of seats weren’t incrementally elevated though – they were all flat which meant not the clearest view of the stage but geez – I was more than happy enough where I was. 

We arrived when Roxy’s Love Is The Drug was playing. There is a song in the pre-show playlist that I HAVE to find out who it is by! I should have recorded a bit of it, but I didn’t think to do so. Damn! It’s bugging me! I like the song but have no idea who it’s by.


As the time gets towards 8pm, I find myself listening out for the opening piano chords to So May We Start? That’s when it all kicks in for me – SHOWTIME! That song instils such a buzz within me now. 

On Friday night it started…about 90 seconds later the band started walking out onto the stage. The crowd erupts. Full cacophonous joy by the time Jim appears and everyone is up off their seats – OMG! Act Of Love is SUCH a fantastic opening song! Those three songs just hit you like a freight train! Act Of Love, I Travel and Celebrate…just the most fantastic opening trio. I feel like a sicko for every time only recording Celebrate but I just want to get every conceivable different way Jim can deliver the “she rag doll / keeps him warm” line. He didn’t disappoint in Paris. “She’s just keeping him warm.” Is that all she’s doing? Really? That’s rather unfortunate for her if so….(She’s doing much more than that in my mind, that’s for sure! Lucky ‘doll’!)



There wasn’t much of a pit stop after that. A bit of banter from Jim, if memory serves me correct. Then on to Glittering Prize followed by, for me, the best version of Promised You A Miracle I’ve experienced in a while (Jim got the words right!!!! AMAZEBALLS! I’ve got over the one bugbear I had left of him saying ‘belief is the only thing’ rather than ‘belief is a beauty thing’ – but verses all in order and word perfect. AMEN!). I adored it!

I fall more and more in love with this particular arrangement of Book Of Brilliant Things with each performance of it. I can’t tell you how much I didn’t take to that whole ‘five to one/one to five’ line when I was first a SM diehard. But now….it’s just a perfect thing. It’s a rocking gospel. Sarah just SLAYS it every time. And her and Jim performing on it together is PERFECT! And I now love the ‘five to one/one to five’ line – because I think the thing that killed it for me was the words that followed; ‘dynamite and swings’…never liked that…but I loooooove the ‘with all the love she brings’ line. It’s just…sublime now. It’s incredible. I feel like I can take on the world after each performance of it. 

Hunter And The Hunted was, as ever, grand. Also loved how wonderfully soulful Mandela Day sounded on Friday night. Best performance of that song I’ve ever experienced also. Belfast Child also was exemplary.


I was thankful for the break in the set I tell ya, because I was knucking fackered! Lol. Equally I didn’t want it to stop. 

Soon after, the gang were back out on stage, minus Jim and Sarah, for a fab version of Theme For Great Cities. I took some footage of the lights hitting the crowd but the filming went a bit skewed. I’ll have to see if I can fix up the aspect ratio before posting. 

Dolphins I love…but I still don’t know where it should be in the set…wherever it is placed it just…I don’t know. Belfast Child is in a great place within the set, so is Speed Your Love To Me – but Dolphins? I am still finding it a little jarring. We get hyped up again from the start of the second set and the playing of Theme For Great Cities to then be brought down by Dolphins. We’re brought back up again with Waterfront so that’s grand. I guess Dolphins is now kind of in the best place it can be. It cannae OPEN the second set…so…

The rest of the set is faultless. I managed to make myself completely hoarse singing along – by the time we got to New Gold Dream my voice was all but gone. After all the ‘la la la la’s of DYFAM, I could barely conjure up the remaining la’s for New Gold Dream. Lol

Jim – bless you! I think you tried to sing the lines in Sanctify Yourself correctly. It seemed as though you made an attempt to, but ‘it wisnae happening’ so you went to your fallback position of … some lines out of order (and repeated) are better than no lines at all (girly!)

I’m not sure when it happened but towards the end…probably with a bit of time to pause during Let It All Come Down or Speed Your Love To Me, the realisation hit me that this would be my last arena gig on this tour and all I could think about was wishing I could do this forever and ever. 

Lemme see yer hauns

People ask me – those outside the fandom mostly – why do I go to so many shows on a tour? ‘Aren’t they all the same’? Not really. In some ways, yes…but it isn’t really down to the performance of the band as such, and what you get from observing them – it’s what you get from being there, the taking part. Being surrounded by like minds (no pun intended)…and the way the music makes you feel personally. It’s a life-affirming thing and I wish to god I could go to EVERY SINGLE GIG, EVERY NIGHT – because there is no other feeling like it. Nothing else compares. That’s what it is! That’s what has me going to gig after gig – that…injection! It’s incredibly uplifting. I never really appreciated that until this band – until Jim would talk about it in those terms – not as a performer but as a member of the crowd. As a music lover. As a concert-goer. I realise with the more gigs I go to, the more the live music experience is not just about seeing a musical performance. 

At the end of it, I felt like I had probably seen the BEST Simple Minds concert I have ever been to. Was it their actual best performance? Certainly particular songs, for me, were performed to their best on Friday night. Was it the best sound? It was great. I would say it was second best to Glasgow. I still can’t believe I’m saying the Hydro had the best sound – but it truly did! Olivier Gerard works magic! 

Sadly I missed out on the only other souvenir I’d have liked. Speaking of GG, as I just did, I was hoping for a setlist but I was beaten to it. Doesn’t matter. I have enough. And it is always lovely to catch up with GG. To extend words of thanks to him. He’s a lovely man.

I was PARCHED! I think Birdy wanted to wet her whistle also. We met up with Marc Lichtenstein and Christophe Remacle afterwards and headed round to Seguin Sound for some refreshments. And those two reprobates were there (see Part One). Thanks once again for the wonderful, kind things you both said to me. It was a pleasure to meet the both of you. I hope I’ll have the pleasure of bumping into either of you again at future gigs. It was also a pleasure to meet both Marc and Christophe.

Looking just like the hagged old fat bag of shit I feel like. But from a distance it (meaning me) looks okay.

Back at the hotel, I had my earplugs, yay! But I hardly slept a wink anyway. But it didn’t matter half as much this time. I was too overjoyed to care. I had minimal sleep. Could have done with knowing check out was at midday, rather than the 10am I thought it was! Oh, well.

The day was cooler on Saturday. We had time after check-out to go and have some lunch then get a taxi to the airport for the flight home. We decided on Cafe Seguin again. Birdy had a Sicilian salad, and I had a vegetarian risotto. It was absolutely beautiful! Cafe creme is my jam! I want to live in Paris just for cafe creme! The French do the best coffee I have EVER tasted – and it’s consistently good, no matter where you go. 

There’s not much else to say but…Thank you! To the best band in the entire universe! I’m coming up to 8 years as a ‘diehard’ Simple Minds fan (in the best fashion – stealing Jim’s birthday as my fan anniversary date) – and it’s been such a rollercoaster. But the ups happen way, way, WAY more than the downs. I will be counting down to Blenheim Palace – June 18th – I will be there, I will be there, I will be there!

Next gigs to come? Jimmy Webb in Edinburgh on June 3rd, followed by Crowded House at the Hydro on June 10th.

Paris Review – Part One: The Long Story? Or The REALLY Long Story?

I guess it’s best to start with the really long story and edit it from there… so may I start?

I slept soundly enough Wednesday night and into Thursday. Probably didn’t settle down quite as early as I should have, but at least sleep wasn’t elusive that night and I got a good few hours in. All things considered, considering how absolutely pent up, anxious and full of dread I was – on the actual day of our departure I was sailing with low level optimism. Low level, granted…but with optimism nonetheless. Albeit, on a scale from 1 to 10, it was maybe a 2 or a 3…it was there at least!

I packed a small carry-on bag, making sure I had ALL essentials (earplugs included!). I showered relatively early and was ready by 11am. Birdy was ready an hour later. I decided we should get the 75 to Renfrew Street and just walk down to Killermont Street to the bus station instead of the faff of getting to the bus station from Queen St. I was worried I made the timings a bit ambitious from the time of getting off the train at Queen St to getting to the bus station for the Edinburgh Air coach. So…the 75 seemed the better option. All good. Had a chat with neighbour Robert (who was taking his dug, wee Chico, for a walk around the park space by Hawthorn Quadrant) while waiting for the 75 to arrive. 

Got to the bus station in plenty of time. Got to Edinburgh Airport in good time as well. We arrived around 2.45pm for a 6.30pm flight out. Had the usual stuff go on at security. I didn’t take all the liquids that I was required to out of my bag and I was wearing stuff that triggered the security alarms. I had to be body searched and portably scanned with a handheld scanner. Birdy went through similar stuff but it’s always to be expected at any UK airport. We had time on our side. It was all grand. 

Next hurdle – boarding – not a hitch! The plane departed slightly later than scheduled but we landed in Paris on time. It was a very smooth journey on the plane. Last hurdle. French border security! All good! 

Actually, that was the penultimate hurdle. The last hurdle was ‘le taxi’! Birdy had booked a taxi via Booking.com and…short story, the driver didn’t greet us at arrivals but was waiting for us at departures! I know, right?! Anyway…it was sorted. We found our driver and off we went. French traffic is APPALLING! It was 10.10pm on a Thursday evening and the roads were just HEAVING…everywhere. From the moment we left the airport right until we got into the Boulogne-Billancourt area of Paris where the hotel was…nearly the whole taxi journey was a slow crawl through heaving traffic. A lot of stationary moments. 

I finally could breathe a sigh of relief once we arrived at the hotel just on 11pm. I should have had Birdy pinch me! Lol. I couldn’t believe that it all actually went pretty damn smoothly and there were no big hazardous snags to have to deal with. WE WERE IN PARIS! And I was going to see the most amazing band in the whole universe the following day. 

Not sure what time it was that we bedded down, possibly just after midnight? Not too late anyway. We were both knackered. I quickly realised after laying down that I forgot to get the earplugs out of the bag. I got up, tried to have a quick feel around to see if I could find them. Couldn’t remember exactly WHERE I had packed them and didn’t want to take the bag apart looking, so I just thought “Meh, I’m so tired anyway…I’ll get to sleep.” Well…upon reflection I wish I had pulled my bag apart trying to find the earplugs because … FUCK ME – the snoring! Jesus Christ! Birdy had NO TROUBLE AT ALL falling asleep. She was out like a light in minutes and then snoring like nobody’s business for the vast majority of the night. TWICE in a week I had been kept awake by birds serenading me – GIVE ME THE BLACKBIRD ANY DAY – the Yvonne Bird I wanted to chuck into the Seine! 

The worst ‘sleep’. The worst! I maybe got about two hours during the short lived silent pockets in which ‘el Birdo’ woke up for a while and wisnae snoring. Truly those pockets were short lived. 

We had breakfast at 9am. I have never been so thankful for coffee EVER. The hotel was great. Fab room. Great bathroom. Very affordable. A two-star place. Great reception staff, everything. Its only fault or let down was that there were no tea/coffee making facilities in the room. I was fucking GASPING by the time we got down to the dining area for breakfast. OMG! French coffee is MAGNIFIQUE!!! There was orange juice and yoghurt and a selection of bread and pastries – a small crusty bread roll, a small croissant and a pain au chocolat (which I took back to the room for later). I had two coffees. 


Back to the room after breakfast to shower and get ready for a little look about, maybe get some lunch or just find another place for yet ANOTHER coffee. We were a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the venue. We needed to cross the Seine via this footbridge (it took traffic too – but was being used primarily as a footbridge) which went over in quite the arch. It had a little area…like a decked area either side of it where you could just sit on and enjoy the spot. Couldn’t really take in much of a view if you sat down there. But it at least allowed you to take the view in without getting in the way of people wanting to cross the bridge.


The weather was GLORIOUS! Mostly sunny and around 23 degrees Celsius. I felt wonderfully warm. We had coffee and a sweet treat from a place by La Seine Musicale called ‘Seguin Sound’ – more cafe creme for me! I had a chocolate mousse thing with it which was divine! Then I realised with having to repack stuff for the trip I had to pack two very small bags to carry with me for all my ‘essentials’ – cash, cards, phone, reading glasses, distance glasses (I cannae do bifocals), lip balm…I forgot to pack the Sharpie I had in my carry bag into the ‘essentials’ bags. SHIT!!!

Views from the footbridge.

It was 2.30pm. I had time to get back to the hotel, grab it and come back before we started queuing for the ‘VIP’ experience. I wanted to make sure we were there right on 3.30pm because I knew I’d be having to explain to someone the whole circumstances of why I was there and didn’t actually have VIP tickets…ya da ya da. Made it back to Birdy waiting for me at Seguin Sound at around 3.15pm. Phew! I was feeling a little flustered, though I tried to pace myself getting back to the hotel to get the Sharpie and get back in time. 

As I thought…once at the front of the VIP queue I had the fun of trying to explain why I didn’t have VIP tickets but that I should be on a list and allowed in. The young woman at the door was very helpful and thankfully the organiser lady (who I now wish I had asked her name) for SJM Concerts knew who I was and knew the whole score and PHEW!!! Birdy and I were let in, given our merch bags and all was good. We took a seat over the way and I thought I spotted a familiar face – which I had…more of that (even if very briefly) later.


A few minutes tick by and I see the organiser lady walking towards us. “Guess what, Larelle? You have a question to ask.” Whaaaa?! Again? Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that. I just put questions in, hoping against hope. Never really expecting it. When it happened in Glasgow I just couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t that lucky with Newcastle though. I’d have loved it if Jim had answered that question for me. I left asking the question for the Paris gig until the last minute.  Wasn’t even sure what I was going to ask but then thought, well, I am an Aussie after all – I’ll ask JIm and Charlie what their fondest memory is of their early days touring Oz. Hoping against hope that I might get some hilarious anecdote from Jim. I remembered him years back  – early days of me being in the fandom –  posting on FB about the fun him and Charlie got up to at Kings Cross on their first tour. For those not so familiar with Sydney – Kings Cross had quite the notorious reputation – when I lived in Sydney, at least – full of nightclubs – also where the red light district is – the seedy side of the city – akin to Soho in London – underworld crime too. All of that. I just remember at the time of that FB post thinking “Yeah, I can well imagine you and Charlie getting up to all kinds of shifty stuff there!” I always reckon that’s why he’s wearing sunglasses and Charlie looks so wasted on that Countdown performance of Love Song. Clatty pair of stop-outs! Manky pups! Lol

So, no one was more surprised than me to be asking another question. And I was thinking “Oh, fuck! He is going to be ssoooooooooo tired of me!” GOING to be…? IS already! Has been for ages. The anxiety ramps up. 

Those of us asking questions are led together as a small group. I see one reprobate I know through the fanbase online that I had yet met face to face (you know who you are – if you’re reading this!) – we said hi. He introduced me to his mate – double trouble, really. Thank you – to both of you. You both said such lovely, wonderful things to me that I wasn’t expecting at all. Please know that those words meant so very much to me. I know that one of you said that you read my stuff – so if you’re reading this – thank you! (I’m smiling – even if it is through tears.)

The soundcheck was probably the most special one. I think Jim waved at me. I think. I never know for sure. Always questioning afterwards. Probably for someone behind me, beside me, above me…around me…anywhere else! For anyone else but me. When it came to asking my question, I couldn’t even look at him. Thank god for that sheet of paper – because I could just look down and pretend I was looking at that. Bless him – he got bogged down in talking about when they can tour Oz again. It has little significance for me personally. I gave up on the dream – of my own ‘holy grail’ of seeing them down there. I have accepted that, for me, it’s not meant to be and that’s fine. I’m glad for the Oz fans out there though that he addressed it and that Birdy filmed some of it and … yeah. “What was the question again?” Lol

Do you think I’m the biggest pest in the world? Do you dread seeing my face at every damn gig? Do you just pray that I’ll go away? …

And a million other questions if those three would be lucky enough to be answered with “no!”


Charlie was on the ball. God bless you, Charlie, you lovely, lovely man. 

The questions ended on a beautiful note. I feel blessed to have experienced what happened at this soundcheck. It was lovely. 

During the meet and greet that followed, myself and a fellow fan got chatting to Derek Paterson – Cherisse’s drum tech. Del’s a lovely man – nuts – but wonderful. The crew are so hard working! Such amazing people. 

Then I am there in front of modern music’s own Glaswegian version of Laurel and Hardy. Lol. Or perhaps it’s just Jack and Victor? Still not sure who’s who in that comparison. 

He says to me “Hello, Larelle. How are you?” – How long have you got? That’s NOT what I said, because my brain doesn’t work when I am in front of him and I can barely put two words together. So for want of any kind of great, catchy repartee with him, I say “Ooookaaay…I think.” Can’t remember exactly how he asked it but he asked how I was enjoying Paris, or had I been looking about, or some such….I think I said that we didn’t arrive until late the night before. At one point, I think it was after he said hello and asked how I was and I replied with my “oookaaay, I think”, he said to me (I think he said this…) “you’re quiet”. I wish I could have said “Oh, really…you think? Jim! Why would THAT be…I wonder?!” Lol. But obviously….I HAD NO FUCKING REPLY TO THAT! I wish I could say “Uh, derrrr!” I think that is probably the most rhetorical statement he could have EVER made! “Yeah, Jim Kerr…and bears shit in the fucking woods! And the Pope’s a Catholic!” I’m quiet.

I wish more than you will ever, ever know that I was this exuberant, bubbly, chatterbox…mouth going ten to the dozen…and YOU, James Kerr, wouldn’t get a word in edgeways…but that ain’t me – certainly never seems like it ever will be now when I am around you. That’s just how it’s now destined to be, it seems. Whatever minor bits of confidence I exuded some years back that was there within me sailed off long ago. And it was you that gave that to me! That confidence. But it’s disappeared now completely – whatever vestiges of it existed in the first place. 

A few snaps and…it’s all over. 

I did manage to make use of that all-important Sharpie and get the question sheet I had signed by Jim and Charlie (and Birdy got her lanyard signed). 

Nearly 2,500 words and we’re not even at the actual gig itself yet! This is the place where I am ‘chatty’, Mr Kerr. 

I have ssoooo much more to write…but I am KNACKERED. I am going to have to do this in two parts. Part two might not happen until tomorrow. But for now I need a break and I will post this as part one. 

Stay tuned! (If you haven’t tuned out already.)

Scotland – Two Gigs In Antitheses (For A Girl From The Antipodes)

It all started very early. About two and a half years ago, in fact. These two gigs, Aberdeen and Glasgow, were originally scheduled to happen a few months apart. I can’t even remember the original dates now – but I think Glasgow was in April and Aberdeen was for August. Then the shit hit the proverbial in March 2020 and numerous reschedules saw the two gigs placed a day apart. Taking all logistical factors into account, the best option for Aberdeen seemed to be to drive – so the theory went!

We (me and the OH – the only driver in this relationship) set off at 10.15 am. I had arranged to get a Ultimate Fan Experience ticket from my friend, Thomas. Information sent out to Ultimate Fan/Soundcheck Experience ticket holders stated that registration for the VIP experiences would take place between 3.30pm and 4.25pm – ie: get your butt there by 4.25 AT THE LATEST! 

The travelling started well. We got to Dundee in good time, arriving around 12.15. We stopped at an ASDA on the outskirts of the city. One with charging bays so we could top up the EV we hired. That was the theory! In practice…? Firstly, the charge points at the ASDA were not compatible with the connector to our EV. So I searched for another. There was one a mile away. Great! Nothing much lost in having to travel a mile along the road to the next one…. Except, that mile was done in crawling traffic and then I followed the Google Maps navigation to a T and it gave me the wrong entrance point for the garage where the charge point was. By the time we got into that garage, about 45 minutes had elapsed. 

No worries! It’s a fast charge point. It’ll get us topped in no time at all! Except…it wasnae working. Fuck! Okay….where’s the next one? Camperdown Leisure centre. Okay! It’s only another mile away. The charge point was the wrong type. Then to Camperdown Country Park. Too slow! Then, FINALLY to one by a community centre in the east of the city. We sat there for…I can’t even remember how long….maybe an hour…possibly. FREEZING TO DEATH.

Anyway, we topped up enough to get us to Aberdeen. JUST enough. We spent the rest of the journey looking at the miles we had left to travel compared to the charge left in mileage on the car. And the time it would take to get to the P&J Live arena. If it all went okay from this point, I would get there about 4.15pm. Real touch and go shit.

We make it to the P&J car park with SEVEN MILES of charge left and we arrived at 4.12. I was BUSTING for the loo! I get to the VIP registration desk and get myself checked in. Then I head straight for the ladies. I find Thomas and his wife in the queue to go into the arena for the soundcheck. I’m relieved to have made it but am so worried that the OH will not find a fast charge point to charge the car up – especially with the limited range left. I left her in a complete state of panic about how critically low the car’s charge is. It’s all I can think about.  

I want to be excited to be there but my worry for the OH and the car and her anxiety and my own stupid anxiety of being in front of Jim for the first time in over two years is just churning me up inside and making me want to wretch. Having made it to the meet and greet on time was no comfort. I felt guilty for my relief at making it, and guiltier still for putting my OH through this kind of crap. And on top of all that, if I got an “icy” vibe from Jim…? That would just make the day a hell.

The soundcheck was great. Very relaxed. There were some great questions asked and Jim had the rest of the band engage in the Q and A. I wish I could remember the question the lady asked that I liked the most – but I was in such a state at the point, I’m surprised I can remember any of it!

Jim and Charlie at Aberdeen meet and greet. (Meet and greetin’ in my case.)

The soundcheck ends, and those on the soundcheck experience only leave the arena for those partaking in the meet and greet to stay behind. I was the penultimate turn. I nearly tripped over the step of the barrier on the way to being stood in front of Jim and Charlie. I said some gobbledegook of some kind – trying to form words, not really being able to look at either of them. And before I know it, I am being asked to face the camera for a couple of photos and are then given my marching orders. 

Worry and stress all got the better of me. I was so low at that point…I probably misread things. I dunno. The day felt cold…

Our seat were side on to the stage. The P&J is a strange shaped arena. I’m not sure I like the arena set up much, in all honesty. Theatres and those approximately 3000-5000 capacity venues are what I like most. 

The venue wasn’t to capacity. I’d say it was maybe three quarters full. The band sounded great! Security were having fun controlling some people in the crowd and a scene kicked off right by where we were seated to the degree where I Travel was completely interrupted for me. 

Celebrate wasn’t though. And Jim did his sexy “she rag doll” delivery – which  I liked (understatement!).

The audience in Aberdeen were otherwise quite subdued. The acoustics in the place was pretty good. It’s a strange rectangular shape. 

As for the band themselves? Amazing. Like they had not had a two year enforced break from performing AT ALL. The only hiccup during the whole night was just at the start of the second verse of Belfast Child, Jim’s mic cut out on him. It took all of 60 seconds (quick as a flash!) for a guy to come running on stage with a replacement. They started the song again from scratch and it was perfect!

In the state I was in, I had tears rolling down my face for Hunter And The Hunted, and again for Someone Somewhere In Summertime.

I had the briefest of chats to GG (Olvier Gerard) afterwards and he gave me a setlist, which I was grateful to receive. 

I left the arena with a heavy heart. A mix of relief, anxiety, dread and melancholy that I was worried that I wouldn’t get to shake for Glasgow. 

The guesthouse we were staying at was only a couple of miles from the P&J. The OH was able to collect me from the underground car park she dropped me off at. We were at the guesthouse around 11.15pm and we were settled in bed just after midnight, hopeful of a restful sleep for an early setout the next morning. 

The view from the room in Aberdeen.

The day started sunny in Aberdeen. I was only mildly hopeful that it was a sign. A sign that, if nothing else, the journey home would be smoother. We set off at 7.45am. We had a near to fully charged car (with a 3 mile critically low charge the night before – the OH finally found a working fast charge station and got the car back up to 95% capacity) – more than enough to get us to Dundee safely and with plenty of time on our side.

We were going to head straight to the chargepoint that worked out for us in Dundee the previous day. We got there just after 9am, but the charger was being used by someone else, so the search began again. This time I knew exactly what type of charger to look for and found another set of chargers just a couple of miles away from where we were. It had FIVE charge bays – and rapid ones too. We got there and were able to make 50% recharge in around an hour. It gave us more than enough charge and buffer in reserve to get us back to Glasgow.

We got home at around 12.30pm, drained but thankful to be home in plenty of time with an uneventful drive. Time for me to chill a bit. Have a coffee, a shower and just get myself prepped for the Hydro gig. 

VIP goody bag – Aberdeen – meet and greet goody bags have gold labeled envelopes with a signed poster – soundcheck posters are unsigned in a silver labeled envelope.

I didn’t want to turn up late again, so I had the OH drop me by the Hydro at at 3.45pm. I go in, get to the VIP registration desk and the lady serving me says “your question has been chosen for the Q and A today”. She hands me a piece of paper and says “Here’s your question. Erm, hang on…that’s your name, isn’t it?” – pointing to my name on the sheet. I had forgotten the ticket was booked in my OH’s name and so my name wasn’t matching up with the name on the VIP list. “Yes, that’s me. My partner booked the ticket for me.” “Oh, right. Okay, that’s great. If you could make sure that you stand by that popcorn kiosk just over there by 4.20pm so I can take all the people asking questions in together as a group, that will be great.”

Before she showed me the paper in my head I’m thinking “I’m going to get to ask Charlie a question, that’ll be fun!” as I had put questions in for both Jim and Charlie separately. And so…I just assumed it would be a question I had asked Charlie that got chosen, but when she showed me the paper, I saw it was my question for Jim that got picked. Oh, holy fucking shit!!!! After the embarrassing crap and that…vibe I thought I felt in Aberdeen the day before, I now had to have a microphone thrust in my face so I could ask Jim a question!!! OMFG!

Then the fun begins! I keep reading the question. Trying to implant it in my head so I wouldn’t have to open the page up and ask him – I’d just be ready. But with each read, the more it was galvanising the realisation that I would have to speak directly to him! 

Two ladies were standing around the popcorn stand with me. After a while one of them asked “was your question picked too?” “Yes”, I said. “Are you nervous?”, she asks. I nod a yes. “Aaw, you’ll be fine! I bet you have a way better question to ask than me. Mine’s a silly one. I can’t even believe it got chosen! They mustn’t have had many to choose from.” I said, “Hey, they couldn’t have thought it that silly, otherwise it wouldn’t have been picked.” “Oh, no”, she said, “it’s really stupid.” But it wasn’t, it was a fab question!

I’m freaking out in the soundcheck. Again, worried how Jim will react when he sees me there – AGAIN! Pretty sure I’m a main contender for the “Stalker of the Decade” award or something. I’d be sick of the sight of me, that’s for sure! I know my question will be asked of me last which of course just ramps up all the anxiety and nausea. I try and wash it away so I can enjoy everything else, take in everyone else’s questions and take in the songs – watch Jim without being soooo obvious it hurts. 

There’s a French lady that asks a question before me, and they took some time answering that. When the questions are more broad, Jim opens it up for the rest of the band to reply. So, I know it’s the penultimate question and as the band are giving their responses, my heart rate has jumped to 120+ BMP. It actually feels like it is going to break out of my chest. It’ll be my turn next. I see the lady with the mic extending the pole so it can reach me – that heightens my anxiety further. All through the soundcheck I am saying my question over and over. “Get the wording right! Don’t fluff it! Don’t stumble over your words. DON’T DO YOUR NERVOUS LAUGH!” 

Here we go…crunch time! Mic in my face…I start with “Urm” – sssoooo professional! “Which line of a Simple Minds lyric are you most proud of having written?” I said it right, yes!! Here it comes! I know he’s gonna make a thing about me using the word “proud” – I know he will. But…how else do I ask this question? What other word can I use in its place?

BINGO! My brain is in meltdown right now so I can’t remember his exact words…but he said something about me choosing the word “proud”. I knew you would, Jim (as if he’s here. Lol) – I just knew you would! 

Didn’t know how else to ask it. And I had so many other scenarios in my head of how the reply would go. I kind of expected a slightly evasive response – in a way hoping that maybe the question would be batted back to me with a “what’s YOUR favourite line?” He might have been too scared I’d say “semi-monde” lol, or “she rag doll” or …. I dunno. But had it come back to me, I was ready – because for the past couple of years it has been “when the other side of midnight calls, remind me I’m glad to be here”. 

It didn’t come back to me – and in my daze I don’t remember how it all went (that…overwhelmed immediate mind blank I get when things mean far too much) but he mentioned misheard lyrics and spoke of a lady thanking him for writing her (then) 4 year old daughter’s favourite song. A song her daughter called the “Sadie Song”. “Why does she call it the Sadie Song”? “Because she thinks the words are Sadie One, Sadie Two, Sadie Three…” It was sweet. How could I not smile? My heart slowly melting away and my anxiety subsiding, just a little. Was I fully at ease? No! Was I enjoying it? In a weird sadistic sense, yes. Did it feel like a weight had lifted? Yes. Did Jim give a stellar performance? You betchya!

Obviously couldn’t video my own question being answered. Well, I guess I could have but it would have been fucking weird!

For the rest of the evening too. It was a truly stunning gig. This was my third Simple Minds “home crowd” gig – and this was the one that REALLY felt like it had that atmosphere to it. I didn’t feel the effect of that too much at the RCH in 2017 for the Acoustic tour – even taking into account that Jim’s dad was there and I saw other Kerr and Burchill relatives there and all that. And at Barras – the band – and Jim in particular seemed too nervous. It was the first show and the debut of a new album in full – I think the magnitude of it made it feel uncomfortable. That was my experience of the Walk Between Worlds Barras gig. 

But last night? It was PROPERLY electric! A party atmosphere. Everyone was there for a whale of a time and the band were TOTALLY “on form”. From the get go – amazing! My only criticism is…I’m not sure the structure of the setlist flows right. Love Song and the Belfast Child seems a little…jarring in contrast, to me, anyway. Again, with She’s A River and then Dolphins. 

I wasn’t sold on the setlist as a whole at Aberdeen. I was really saddened that due to how these past two years has panned out, any 40th anniversary nod to SAF/SFC has passed by and only Love Song and Theme For Great Cities remain. I’m gutted The American is off the setlist, but I understand why it is – it *is* meant to be a “hits” tour as Jim rightly points out three songs into the night by saying “We’ve just played three songs and none of them were ‘hits’!” It now being its anniversary year, it is right for New Gold Dream to have FIVE songs on the setlist. With four songs from Sparkle In The Rain and four from Once Upon A Time as well, it’s a setlist heavy with songs from the first 10 years of the band’s existence. If we discount Act Of Love as being entirely “new” – the most recent songs in the catalogue on the setlist are She’s A River (1995) and Dolphins (2005).

For me, I’m not sure whether I’d have a play about with the flow of it. 

The things that work are – the placement of Book Of Brilliant Things – and its arrangement now. It has taken me a looooooong time to warm to this arrangement of BOBT – it is ssooo vastly different to the album version. But I love Sarah’s arrival on stage for the performance and I love that Jim is actually dueting with Sarah on it this time. It’s fuuuunnnky! It’s great. 

The start of the second set is great. Theme then Waterfront is awesome. The stop-starts are Love Song then Belfast Child, then She’s A River then Dolphins. 

The addition of Chelsea Girl last night in Glasgow was great. It could do with being there permanently for me. (Maybe have The American at the soundcheck – she hints for Newcastle or Paris *praying hands*)

The stage props, the big screens, the lighting – all PHENOMENAL! It’s an AMAZING set. A mind-blowing backdrop. Wow!

From a wash of Laurie Evans’s photos used at the start of the show with Act Of Love, to the showers of gold for Glittering Prize, to the wonderful “Badlands” landscape images for Hunter And The Hunted, to the video images for Belfast Child, the Clyde images for Waterfront, the Once Upon A Time style images for the song itself – it all is laid out to perfection. Spectacular.

The crowd were electric last night. They were really feeding the band. You could feel it. It was an amazing gig. Even without the personal added joy of the soundcheck and my question being answered, I would have LOVED this gig.

I loved this gig! And I am so looking forward to Leeds and Newcastle in the next few days and Paris in the next few weeks. 

Thanks for reading!

I was sat way back, but recorded Celebrate anyway.

Prog – Themes For Great Cities Review

Better late than never from the guys from Prog magazine. Another great review, full of nothing but praise for the book. I’ve honestly not seen a negative thing about it – only a few from some fans bemoaning where the story ends. But I am in complete agreement with Graeme as to where the book ends. But you know? It doesn’t end in 1985. He brings it up to the present day, but the story from 1985 onwards is just…a different story.

Anyway, more positives for, without a shadow of a doubt for me, book of the year – unless Jim finally brings his one out this year! Lol… ooh…are those pigs I see in the sky? I

’ll have a university degree before that happens! 😂😂😂😂

An “Act Of Love” in The Mail…

To say I am NOT a fan of The Daily Mail (otherwise known as either the Daily Fail, or Daily Flail in this household) would be SOMEWHAT of an understatement! But…the rag (in its truest definition of the word) has declared Act Of Love as its “track of the week”. It seems the publication CAN indeed print something positive…from time to time. A shame some of the details are slightly inaccurate. NOT “unrecorded” – recorded as a demo. There’s a difference. The devil is in the detail. I would have assumed the “devils” at the Daily Fail would be masters at that by now. Then again, who needs details, right?