I checked a major item off my bucket list when my wife and I caught Simple Minds in concert a few weekends ago. For a music geek like me—with a particular fondness for ’80s “new wave” bands—this was a big win. Touring on its latest album, Walk Between Worlds, the band still has a full calendar in the U.S. through November, including dates in Texas and Florida.
I was a huge Simple Minds fan in the early ’80s. One of the first records I bought was 1981’s Sons and Fascination. The title track from New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) remains one of my favorite songs of all time, and a track I usually use when I’m testing speakers and headphones. The release of “Don’t You Forget About Me” on the Breakfast Club soundtrack in 1985 spoiled the party for me a little—it catapulted Simple Minds into the mainstream—but I got over that. And that is the Simple Minds song that my kids know and love.
Despite my fandom, I was never able to catch the band live. Simple Minds, my geographical location, and my calendar never lined up. At least until the end of September.
If you manage to catch the band on this tour, be prepared for an energetic show. Unlike recent tours, this one isn’t acoustic; it’s electric guitars and keyboards. The two remaining founding members are guitarist Charlie Burchill and singer Jim Kerr, and they were supplemented by a talented group of musicians. Kerr is as energetic a performer as ever, and I was worried about the toll his stretching poses were taking on his jeans. They survived, though there was a wardrobe change for the second set. The band played two sets plus an encore (25 songs in all), and I was psyched to hear plenty of tracks from their early eighties era including “The American,” “Someone Somewhere in Summertime,” “Promised You A Miracle,” and “New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84).”
Of course, the big singalong that had the crowd on their feet was an extended version of “Don’t You Forget About Me.” It was refreshing to see that once the encore wrapped, the band didn’t run to their dressing room, but instead remained on stage, greeting fans. This is not a pretentious group, despite the band’s place in music history and pop culture.
The show also served as a reminder to me that the band continues to make some compelling music. I usually dread the new cuts when a band tours—I know they need to promote the new stuff, but I came to hear the catalog—but Simple Minds has put out some cool music in recent years, and I’ve since started catching up on their recent releases on Apple Music.
If you have the opportunity to see Simple Minds at one of their remaining U.S. shows, I highly recommend it.
Over the past several years, I have been busy re-purchasing the Simple Minds records I gave away decades ago (after switching to CD and then digital). Music can be an expensive hobby… It’s a little more challenging to find the records this time around, but I even bought an extra copy of New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) to mount the album cover on my office wall. And now I finally have a tour t-shirt to add to my collection.