Simple Minds at UEA in Norwich

With the release of their 16th studio album “Big Music” Simple Minds have taken to the road for an extensive tour of the UK and Europe. Back in the 1980's Simple Minds were filling stadiums and for a while were considered one of the biggest bands around so I was really looking forward to seeing them play in a relatively small venue like the UEA in Norwich. I have rarely seen the venue so full, packed all the way to the back and I was quite surprised by the audience which was a good mix of young and old.

There was no support act which often leads to a slow start to a show and that was very much the case here, excitement in the crowd rose as the intro (Ravel's Bolero) built up and the band took to the stage. For a band with so many hit songs it seemed a strange choice to start with a cover of The Call's 1989 hit Let The Day Begin even if it is the latest single. The crowd clapped, danced and sang along but it was building slowly, it was good but just not that exciting with a mix of new songs and a few old, an acoustic version of The American and Love Song being highlights. Guest vocalist Catherine A.D performed a solo of Rivers of Ice showing she has real talent but it was nearly an hour in when Waterfront was performed that things changed, the crowd really got going and volume levels were raised, following it up with Don't You (Forget About Me) was brilliant with the crowd getting really involved and singing along (and by themselves) to the point where vocalist Jim Kerr was looking at his watch wondering if it was going to stop!

Part two of the set began with another guest vocalist Sarah Brown performing Book of Brilliant Things and East at Easter, another great singer but I did find myself wanting Jim Kerr back on stage as quickly as possible. The rest of the show was great with plenty of hits being performed, among them  All The Things She Said, Someone Somewhere in Summertime and Sanctify Yourself. The band were really enjoying themselves particularly Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill the only other original member left in the band.

After Sanctify Yourself the band left the stage to rapturous applause and returned for encores starting with the brilliant Let There Be Love then bizarrely a cover of Riders On The Storm which though great seemed a little out of place, I would rather another Simple Minds hit. Finishing the show was another high point with Alive and Kicking another great sing along for the crowd and a great ending to what had been a very enjoyable two hour show. Great though Simple Minds were I cannot help feeling that the recently announced big arena shows for later in the year will be even better and will see them in an environment that will really show off their music at it's best particularly those big 80's hits.