Simple Minds rolled back the years at Birmingham’s O2 Academy on their 5×5 tour on Friday, with an impressive set list of 25 songs from their first five albums and none of the grandiose hits they became famous for – a bold step but one nobody in the audience regretted for a second.
The band took the stage at around 7.30pm and with just a 10 minute break for Jim Kerr’s ‘cuppa tea’ they didn’t finish until the 10pm curfew.
They tore the roof off the venue with tracks including Love Song, I Travel, The American , the rare and beautiful Scar, Somewhere in Summertime, Promised you a Miracle, Life in a Day, the haunting Celebrate and finished their two hour plus set with New Gold Dream which had everyone one their feet, bouncing and dancing to one of the most sampled tracks in dance history.
Die-hard fans were here purely for the songs that didn’t make the Wembley and Milton Keynes Bowl stadium gigs of the 80s and 90s, and it was an honour to be allowed once again to appreciate the music that shaped the band. The years have certainly not diminished their energy and Kerr’s stage presence, and from the off this crowd were firmly in the palm of his hand. Guitarist Charlie Burchill carved his trademark riffs and Mel Gaynor subtly drove the songs forward from the drums.
To think that these songs – five albums’ worth – were written in four years by young men of 19-20…if you’d seen them last night 30 years ago, you’d have said they were going to be huge – and they were, altough that never quite sat with the group of their fans.
Moby has declared: “Barely a week goes by when I don’t listen to one of the first four or five Simple Minds albums.”
And for me, he’d be right.