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REVIEW: Joyous Simple Minds thrill fans with 40 years of arena rock at P&J Live

Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr in blistering form as Simple Minds rock P&J Live to the delight of their fans.
Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr in blistering form as Simple Minds rock P&J Live to the delight of their fans.

When your career spanning four decades has been on hold for two years because of you-know-what, getting back on stage and seeing the lights go down again must be a special feeling.

And that goes for the fans, too, who flocked to P&J Live – despite the winter weather – as the UK leg of Simple Minds’ 40 Years of Hits tour finally swept into Aberdeen after kicking off at Wembley Arena last week.

No support act meant the band delivered a hefty two hours of tunes, split across two sets. And what a catalogue they have.

Jim Kerr in action as Simple Minds delighted fans at P&J Live.

Singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill are the only remaining founding members of Simple Minds but they have assembled a great live band.

Simple Minds have broader musical heritage than just arena rock

Tremendously tight, the founding pair were joined by the likes of the excellent Cherisse Osei (Bryan Ferry, Paloma Faith), who brought to mind the percussive power of Prince’s drummer Sheila E, along with the impressive Sarah Brown on vocals and keyboard player Berenice Scott.

Set against a backdrop of smart screens and sharp lighting, an arena rock sound dominated but Simple Minds have a broader musical heritage.

Sharp lighting punched up the music as Simple Minds ran through a 40-year back catalogue of hits at P&J Live.

Before the MTV hits, the band forged a spiky post-punk sound that was closer to early Joy Division than the stadium-ringing tones of U2.

Opener Act Of Love gave a hint of these beginnings, a song written in 1978, but until recently never released. I Travel from the same era followed, its lyrics about Eastern Europe eerily appropriate.

Jim Kerr threw dramatic and wonderfully silly rock shapes

Last night’s turnout was of course a long way short of the 90,000 who saw the band at Live Aid in Philadelphia in their heyday.

But it was heart-warming to look around Aberdeen’s own world-class venue and see thousands of music lovers back where they belong – despite the April (snow) showers falling outside.

Charlie Burchill chimed out emotive guitar chords.

And Simple Minds performed as they always do.

Jim Kerr threw those dramatic, wonderfully silly stadium rock shapes while Charlie Burchell chimed out emotive guitar chords that underpinned the sound on the likes of Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize.

Simple Minds signed off after real shift at P&J Live with joyous encore

And the hits just kept coming; Belfast Child, Alive and Kicking and of course Don’t You (Forget About Me), the song the band almost didn’t record because they hadn’t written it themselves, all lifted the huge room.

A joyous encore that closed with Sanctify Yourself saw Simple Minds sign off after putting in a real shift.

Power and emotion as Jim Kerr delighted Simple Minds fans at P&J Live.

This tour is a mammoth run of dates that sees the Glasgow band on the road for six months, right across Europe. 

They return to Scotland for a couple of festival shows in August – don’t miss them

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