Simple Minds Live in Newcastle 1979 – 1982
I first saw Simple Minds when they supported Magazine at Newcastle City Hall on April 25th, 1979. There was already a buzz about the band; I’d seen them perform on the Whistle Test, and was looking forward to seeing them live: “”Having appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test quite recently, Simple Minds show style and panache. Their perception is discerning, composed stealthfully of a balanced power and access ability. Musically they don’t have limits set by social statements, but rather produce songs to last any test of time whatever the current vogue. Jim Kerr, the articulate lyricist shines on Chelsea Girl one of the strongest compositions.” (Peter Escrett, NME). So this was one of those gigs where we got to our seats early to watch the support act, and they were just great. Their set on the tour consisted of early songs: Hell; Take Me To The Angels; Life In A Day; Destiny; Chelsea Girl; Special View; Garden Of Hate; Pleasantly Disturbed; Murder Story. “Chelsea Girl” and “Life in Day” were my early live favourites.
Jim Kerr: “And then we went straight into the Magazine tour, and we were already getting the Magazine soundalike tags, even though we’d got our sound before we’d even heard ‘Real Life’. And we went on this tour with no LP and no single… and we got out there and really there seemed to be no pressure on us and we just went out to enjoy ourselves.”
The next time I saw Simple Minds was at a gig at Newcastle University on November 24th, 1979. There was trouble at the gig and the band left the stage at one point. “The gig was unique in as much as that half way through Wasteland (about the 4th track) the band have a fight with a few members of the audience and walk off for about 15 minutes. They do return but only to play another five or so songs.” (from http://www.simpleminds.org/sm/tours/t1979-2/index.htm ).
Simple Minds next returned to Newcastle to headline at the City Hall on September 21st, 1981. Support was provided by Australian band Icehouse. I am pretty sure I was at this gig, but can’t find my ticket stub, so maybe my memory is playing tricks again.
I was, however, definitely at the City Hall to see Simple Minds when they played on November 20th, 1982, and I have my ticket and programme from the gig (pictured here). Support this time was the excellent China Crisis. By this point Simple Minds had found their own style, having moved from a sparse, rhythmic, electronica band to a much more pop sound, and they were starting to hit the charts with their singles “Promised You a Miracle” and “Glittering Prize”. One of my favourites from this early period was “The American”. This was the band at their peak, and a powerful live act.
Setlist: In Trance As Mission; Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel; Hunter And The Hunted; Glittering Prize; Someone Somewhere (In Summertime); Sweat In Bullet; Promised You A Miracle; King Is White And In The Crowd; I Travel; Celebrate; The American; Big Sleep
Encore: New Gold Dream; Love Song; Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
I saw Simple Minds once more, in 1984 as they began to achieve mega status. I’ll reflect on that gig tomorrow.
Archive for the ‘Icehouse’ Category
Simple Minds Live in Newcastle 1979 – 1982
David Bowie 2nd July 1983 Milton Keynes Bowl Serious Moonlight
Support Acts: The Beat, Icehouse
By 1983 David Bowie was of sufficient stature to play three nights at the Milton Keynes Bowl, which holds 65,000 people. The (quite colourful) ticket (see right) doesn’t tell me which day I attended, but I am pretty certain it was the Saturday, which was the second of the three gigs. My mate and I drove to Milton Keynes, which is around a 450 mile round trip. I’d been having problems with one of the brakes on my car, and unfortunately it just about locked after after around 100 miles, to the extent that I could only drive very slowly, leaving us stranded near the Wetherby roundabout. I phoned the AA who came out but could fix the car at the road side, so they told me to leave the car in a local car park, hide the keys in an agreed spot (!) and that they would come and pick it up and take it home for me. We were determined to get to the gig, so I phoned my dad, who drove down, picked us up an hour or so later and drove us to the Bowl.
I remember the day as being red hot; I recall little about the support acts, other than they were not that impressive. This was, in my view, not one of Bowie’s best performances. Bowie’s approach to the songs, and the band set up, was moving him away from being a rock star to becoming an all round singer/entertainer and broaden his audience. This worked in terms of making his music more accessible to a general audience, but lost something else along the way.
Although I enjoyed the show, I felt I’d lost the David Bowie I’d grown to love over the past 10 years. Don’t get me wrong; you couldn’t fault anything: the stage set, the performance, the band were all great. But it was David Bowie becoming an entertainer, a professional, (re)becoming Anthony Newley in terms of aiming for broad appeal; and Ziggy had become a memory. Although general consensus is that this was a great gig, I left somewhat disappointed, feeling let down. Two years later I saw Bowie in Wembley Stadium at Live Aid, and he was great again. However, there were further disappointments to come in the form of the 1987 Glass Spider tour (which I will comment on tomorrow) and Tin Machine (see my blog the other day).
After the gig we managed to find my dad who had been waiting in a local pub, having a pie and a coffee, and he drove us home. We must have got back around 4am, I would guess. The next morning my car was delivered to our house (thank you AA); I took it to the garage the next day to be repaired.
Setlist: Star; Heroes; What in the World; Golden Years; Fashion; Let’s Dance; Breaking Glass; Life on Mars?; Sorrow; Cat People; China Girl; Scary Monsters; Rebel Rebel; White Light/White Heat; Station to Station; Cracked Actor; Ashes to Ashes; Space Oddity; Young Americans; TVC15; Fame; Stay; The Jean Genie; Modern Love