I'd been looking forward to this show for months so I knew exactly where it was taking place, but before I set out I still had to check the venue, just to make sure that Simple Minds really were playing at the rather intimate O2 Academy in Bournemouth instead of the town's BIC arena which is where you'd expect a band like them to play. As a result the show felt special from the off, a feeling that was emphasised again and again as a confident Simple Minds swaggered through tonight's show with style and panache.
Divided into two sets with a short interval between the two, this was an evening of happy retrospection as the band rolled out two impressive sets designed to highlight some of the best songs from Simple Minds' diverse and enviable journey. The first set kicked off in fine style with the band's excellent new single 'Broken Glass Park' before hurtling through a crowd pleasing set which included 'Waterfront', 'All The Things She Said' and 'Glittering Prize'. Frontman Jim Kerr, smart casual in jeans and smart jacket with a silk scarf tied rakishly around his neck , is every inch the consummate showman as he whirls the microphone stand, punches the air and strikes stadium poses to the delight of the legion of fans recording his every moment on their mobile phones. Charlie Burchill may be more demure, sticking to his position on the left of the stage and rolling out fantastic guitar sounds with a huge grin on his face, but his role in shaping the band's sound is every bit as important as Kerr's distinctive vocals. An utterly fantastic version of 'I Travel' concludes the first set and the band vanish in a blaze of light.
The second set opened with one of my favourite tracks of the evening, a dark, twisted, throbbing electronic version of 'Book of Brilliant Things' which was followed by the show's weakest moment, a rather lacklustre cover of Kraftwerk's 'Neon Lights' which served as a great vehicle for backing vocalist Sarah Brown to show off her talents, but, to these ears, added little else to the evening. Kerr's return to the stage for 'Someone Somewhere in Summertime' kicked off part two proper and from then on the excitement escalated through some of the band's biggest hits including 'Don't You (Forget About Me)', 'Promised You a Miracle' and 'New Gold Dream'.
The band's return to the stage for an encore of 'Sanctify Yourself', 'Space' and 'Alive and Kicking' was delayed by reports of drummer Mel Gaynor being taken ill - the result of a dodgy prawn according to Kerr - but despite a sizeable part of the crowd heading for the exits the entire band returned to the stage to finish the evening off in fine style. This was Simple Minds' 'Celebrate' tour, and it did exactly what it said on the tin. No-one was disappointed tonight.
BOURNEMOUTH O2 ACADEMY, 15/4/2013
Broken Glass Park / Waterfront / Once Upon a Time / Up On The Catwalk / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / War Babies /Glittering Prize / I Travel (interval) Book of Brilliant Things / Neon Lights / Someone Somewhere in Summertime / She's A River / This Is Your Land / Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See the Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Promised You a Miracle / New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive and Kicking
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