Bournemouth International Centre

Simple Minds are part way through a world tour and this month it is taking in the large indoor arenas of the UK. Tonight the band are on the South Coast at the Bournemouth International Centre. If the reports of the previous nights are to be believed tonight’s Sold Out crowd are in for a real treat.

The band have such a huge back catalogue with nineteen studio albums and a host of compilations of material to choose from, you never quite know what they are going to play. The recent line-up of the band has virtually stayed the same with one exception; the introduction of A-ha keyboardist, Norwegian Erik Ljunggren.

Before The mighty Simple Minds, the bands tradition of bringing fellow Scottish bands on the road continues with Del Amitri. The band hit the stage at 7:30pm sharp and there are still people taking their seats as frontman Justin Currie playfully asks them to take their time before opening with their 1992 single “Always the Last to Know”. This is far from my first adventure with this band; back in 1989 I saw them play an acoustic set at the Oxford Street HMV store to promote the “Waking Hours” album, I still own my gold pen  signed copy of the record. I’ve seen them numerous times since then and they have never disappointed.

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Tonight the band provide a polished performance with plenty of highlights. Much of the Bournemouth audience are well acquainted with their material and make lots of positive noises at the end of each number. The five-piece features Justin – Lead vocals/bass/acoustic Guitar, Iain Harvey – guitar/bass, Andy Alson – keyboards/accordion, Kris Dollimore – guitar and Jim Mcdermott – drums.

– drums

“Kiss This Thing Goodbye” is an early highlight, while some of the band’s later material shows that they have lost none of their creative abilities to write great tunes with “Driving with the Brakes On” and “Lonely” both hitting that sweet spot with the crowd. Various members of the band swap their instruments in-between songs to keep things interesting.

Justin thanks the crowd for their support and tells of the honour it is to be supporting Simple Minds on the tour. The band then close with possibly their best loved tune “Nothing Ever Happens”, a track that features some sublime songwriting describing a certain point in time. Andy impresses us with his skills on the accordion, creating the atmospheric background to this great song. The band take their bows and leave the stage to plenty of enthusiastic applause.

With a band like Simple Minds, you can feel the anticipation in the room and as the stage hands start to prepare the stage, you can feel that excitement in the air. I killed time chatting to a member of the late Les McKeown’s (Bay City Rollers) band Scott McGowan; a West Country journalist Jamie Sinclair and spotted that I was stood in front of the “Supervet” himself, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick who is a huge Simple Minds fan.

The chat stopped as the lights went down and the cheers went up as the intro music started, then that magical moment bassist Ged Grimes starts the intro to “Waterfront”. Jim Kerr arrives and shouts Bournemouth, “Let Me See Your Hands”…. you just cannot fail to be moved by this and there started the emotional rollercoaster.

After the euphoria of “Waterfront” we are all invited to step into a time machine to be taken back to the band’s early beginnings with a trio of groundbreaking tracks from the “Sons and Fascination” album. “Love Song”, “Sweat in Bullets” and the big surprise – the tour debut of the title track itself. Then a step back to 1980 with “This Fear of Gods” from The “Empires & Dance” album.

These are all from the experimental period of the band’s early years, much of the crowd all looked a bit confused but there were a section of diehard fans who were overjoyed. Jim explained that the band had a day off yesterday after a big weekend and this section of the set was to warm them up gently for the night to come.

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The light-show was huge with a wonderful backdrop full of various logos, along with screens showing artwork from the various tracks, mixed with live footage. The SM time machine then catapults us back to present day with emotive “Solstice Kiss” from the band’s latest album “Direction of The Heart”. Charlie’s unique trademark guitar style blesses us with some atmospheric sounds from mellow to rich, full and punchy recreating these songs with a fresh impetus. You cannot fail to be mesmerised by the spirit, the energy and the enthusiasm of drummer Cherisse Osei whose skills elevate these songs to newer heights.

The band’s enviable momentum goes up with “Once Upon a Time” taking me back to that dusty Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986. While “New Gold Dream”, not just a song for the eighties just pushes the envelope even further. Jim stalks the front of the stage, thrilling all the audience members he catches eye contact with.

At 64 he is possibly the most agile frontman out there, with the energy of a man half his age – I’m sure there’s plenty of cod-liver oil tablets on his rider these days! The impetus slows a little, but the intensity increased as initially Jim, Charlie and Erik remain on stage for what can only be described as a fervent version of “Belfast Child”. The song smoulders with Jim’s haunting vocal and the track just builds to its crescendo with this wonderfully impassioned performance of the epic track.

The rabble-rousing of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” gets the whole of this building singing at the top of their voices, even if you’d never heard the song before you would know it intimately by the end. The encores soon arrive and as a surprise; Sarah Brown provides us with a powerful version of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, featuring a sublime vocal delivery. The mainstays of any Simple Minds encore “Alive & Kicking” and Sanctify Yourself” keep everyone on their feet right up until the end.

The band don’t seem to want to leave the stage and they stay for a few minutes longer thanking the adoring audience. What a night, what a show, I could watch this over and over again. when you’ve been a fan for over 40 years and your favourite band can still deliver after all this time….as Cherisse Osei quoted on her socials after the show “your joy was infectious and I couldn’t stop smiling”

Set Lists
Simple Minds
Love Song
Sons and Fascination
Sweat in Bullet
This Fear of Gods
Let There Be Love
Solstice Kiss
Once Upon a Time
Glittering Prize
Promised You a Miracle
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84
Drum Solo
Belfast Child
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Amazing Grace (Sung by Sarah Brown)
See the Lights
Alive and Kicking
Sanctify Yourself

Del Amitri
Always the Last to Know
Opposite View
Kiss This Thing Goodbye
Not Where It’s At
Driving With the Brakes On
Missing Person
The Ones That You Love Lead You Nowhere
Stone Cold Sober
Nothing Ever Happens






Words & Media by David Chinery (Chinners)
Photography by Lynn Burt

Simple Minds