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.
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.
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.