A huge, good-natured crowd gathered at the Northern Meeting Park to pay homage to veteran Scots rockers Simple Minds and fellow enduring 1980s stars, The Pretenders, on Saturday.
And they were treated to a resounding evening of entertainment and familiar anthems by the two bands, which until this summer had not appeared on the same bill since 1985’s Live Aid mega charity concert at Wembley.
Although now well en route to the free bus pass stage of their musical careers, both groups rolled back the years to delight the audience on the penultimate night of their 14-date Grandslam 2018 summer tour.
The evening’s proceedings were opened under blue skies and sunshine with a short, solo performance by relatively more recent Scottish star KT Tunstall.
The Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter is proud to acknowledge that her two best known numbers have become karaoke favourites and it was Other Side of the World and, particularly, Suddenly I See, that had the gathering crowd enthusiastically singing and dancing along. A cover of the Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian and a spirited rendition the late Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down also stood out in a well-chosen seven-song set.
Sporting a sparkly bomber jacket and red tartan trousers, Tunstall later returned to the stage to join Jim Kerr in a spirited rendition of Promised You a Miracle – the song that saw Simple Minds achieve their first chart success in 1982.
Pretenders lead singer, Chrissie Hynde, turned 67 in the Highland capital on Friday, and, while joking with them that she is only actually 28, was treated to a chorus of Happy Birthday to You by the crowd.
Despite claiming she plans to retire to Inverness to open a restaurant, it is clear Hynde still loves to rock and strut in front of an audience and her distinctive vocals, seemingly unchanged by the years, led the band through a fine 15-song set, culminating with their 1979 hit Brass in Pocket.
Although the heavens started to open intermittently as Simple Minds took to the stage, it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the audience as the main event of the evening got underway in a blaze of sound and spectacular lighting.
Jim Kerr and his long-time sidekick Charlie Burchill openly admit they have been doing their thing for a long time – and they know exactly what their fans come to see and hear.
And they didn’t disappoint – with the six-piece outfit, led by Kerr with energy, passion and humour, belting out a string of big hits for the faithful, including Waterfront, The American, and Someone, Somewhere in Summertime.
The 59-year-old frontman amused his followers by checking his watch several times, then urging them to continue roaring the chorus of Don’t You (Forget About Me) that closed the 15 –song set.
But they were back with more – delivering an encore of Let the Day Begin and 1985’s stadium standard, Alive and Kicking, before sending the satisfied crowd off into the Inverness night with a booming finale of Sanctify Yourself.