November 4, 2013 Once A Upon A Decade Simple Minds electrify Roseland Ballroom, NYC 10-24-13
New Wave music developed sometime in the late 70’s becoming a bright new beacon of light in rock n roll history. Inventive, refreshing, and diverse the genre blossomed in the 1980’s giving birth to a new era. Among the biggest contributors to the new wave scene was Europe with an extensive list of bands that shaped a generation. Among some of the more commercially successful new wave bands from the time was Scotland’s Simple Minds. To the excitement of a niche but large fan base Simple Minds announced a rare 7 day North American tour earlier this summer. What other better way to end a special tour than a stop in NYC at the soon to be closed Roseland Ballroom. On Thursday October 24th, the tour came to a grand conclusion to packed crowd of fans.
Much like many new wave shows, there is a very upbeat vibe amongst those in attendances. What was so remarkable about this show was the dramatic age diversity. This only goes to show how far Simple Minds’ influence has reached to generations beyond those which grew up in the 1980’s. As the band began their set cheers broke out to the sound of new track “Broken Glass Park”. The song has a remarkable synthpop sound which got fans dancing right off the bat. The track is enough of a reason to go out and purchase the band’s new Celebrate – Greatest Hits+ album. Moving right along, the set went into the 1983 international hit “Waterfront”. Vocalist Jim Kerr sounded excellent and his voice filled Roseland ballroom warmly. Keeping the hits coming next was “Once Upon A Time” and “All Things She Said”. The 1985 tracks are off the bands most successful record here in the states and fans swayed in delight as the band performed. Charlie Burchill’s guitar work proved to be just as stellar as it did all those years ago. It was really nice to see the band’s longest standing members in Kerr and Burchill perform together on stage. Let’s not forget the band’s 3rd longest standing member behind the drum kit, and perhaps one of the most intricate pieces, Mel Gaynor who kept the beat flowing evenly all night.
Mixing the old with the new the guys broke out The Call cover track “Let The Day Begin” off their 2009 Graffiti Soul album. Being quite a fun song to begin with Simple Minds do it justice in their rendition. After another newer track in “War Babies” the band went back in time to 1982 with “Hunter And the Hunted”, “Glittering Prize”, and “New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)”. With Andy Gillespie on keyboards now for the better part of a decade the climax was just right with the synthesizers executed just right. Ged Grimes bass playing stood out in a solid fashion throbbing just right for a perfect back beat to these classic tracks.
Keeping energy levels high the band played an instrumental version of “Speed Your Love to Me”. Transitioning into the 2nd half of the set was the 1980 dance track “I Travel”. The floor was jumping with people dancing all around turning Roseland into a dance club. Simple Minds kept the audience’s attention well into the 2nd set of their set with tracks like “Someone, Somewhere in Summertime”, “Let There Be Love”, “Love Song”, and “See The Lights” among others. As you listened to each song you were living the band’s entire catalogue of hits and really taken back in time.
As their set came to a close they paid homage to their biggest commercial hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. Oddly enough the track never made the cut onto a Simple Minds album back in 1985, but is one of the most memorable tracks of the decade from the film The Breakfast Club. You’d have to say fans were pretty excited by the the smiles on their face and singing along word for word. This was by no means the highlight of the set though because each track performed prior and thereafter exemplified how excellent Simple Minds really are. Hearing early electronic track “Theme for Great Cities” in a live setting was really special for all long time fans.
You’d probably wonder how the band would keep the momentum going after an already magnificent set, well they did and closed things out in grand fashion with “Sanctify Yourself” and clear fan favorite “Alive And Kicking”. Closing out with this track was justifiable because spanning 36 years, enduring change, and continuing to compose quality music proves Simple Minds are alive and kicking. Let’s hope it’s not another decade before we see them perform live on this side of the world again.
Photos credit William Valente