Simple Minds performing their 40 Years Of Hits Tour 2020 at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Tuesday 12th April 2022.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

When you have a career that has spanned four decades and had to put it on hold for two years because of the pandemic, getting back on stage again must have made Simple Minds very excited indeed. And the fans were just as eager as they flocked to the Motorpoint Arena as the UK leg of their 40 Years Of Hits Tour swept into Nottingham on Tuesday night.

Waiting for the band, the crowd were entertained by a fabulous light show that lit up the stage with circles that showed their album covers and singles and when the opening chords to Sparks’ So May We Start, they gave Kerr and Co a rapturous welcome.

Beginning with a re-recorded and re-worked version of the song that they played at their first gig in 1978 and which also went on to earn them their first record deal, the excellent Act Of Love, the bench mark was set very high. They followed up with I Travel, a song from the same era with its lyrics about Eastern Europe being eerily appropriate, before the band raised the roof with Celebrate and Glittering Prize.

Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill are the only remaining founding members of Simple Minds but they have assembled a great live band. Tremendously tight, the founding pair were joined by the likes of the excellent Cherisse Osei who is quite possibly the best drummer that they have ever had, the impressive Sarah Brown on vocals, the fantastic keyboardist Berenice Scott, Gordi Goudie on additional keys and guitar, and the ever supportive Ged Grimes on bass guitar.

Even though there were no support guests, what they did deliver was a show of two halves that contained all of their hits. The first set saw Kerr throwing around his stadium rock shapes that he is well known for whilst Burchill chimed out his emotive guitar chords that underpinned the sound of the likes of Promised You A Miracle, before being joined on stage by the amazing Sarah Brown sporting a Robin Hood style hat, as she took over the vocals for the excellent Book Of Brilliant Things with video flashbacks from the 1985 Once Upon A Time Tour.

There was a mass dance along to Up On The Catwalk with the excellent use of the bank of screens behind them, and with the opening chords of Hunter And The Hunted, the slower pace allowed the crowd to take a breather for the stunning and captivating version. The tempo was raised for Love Song before the first half was brought to an end with the glorious and haunting Belfast Child as Kerr’s vocals grabbed the crowd and with first class drumming from Osei, some of the crowd were seen wiping their eyes.

The second set began with the atmospheric and phenomenal 80’s instrumental Theme For Great Cities which was followed by the powerful beats of Waterfront. There could be no party without She’s A River, Dolphins and the amazing Once Upon A Time and the crowd were not disappointed as Simple Minds turned up the volume for the excellent Someone Somewhere In Summertime from their 1982 album, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).

Close to the finishing line they delivered See The Lights before crowd pleaser All The Things She Said induced a mass sing along. Predictably, Don’t You (Forget About Me) got one of the biggest reactions of the night before set closers Let It All Come Down and the excellent New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) had the crowd shouting for more.

Back on the stage for the encore Brown and Scott took centre stage as they performed and dominated a brilliant version of the excellent Speed Your Love To Me which was filled with passion and emotion. Alive And Kicking took the crowd back to 1985 before Sanctify Myself had the entire venue singing along with the band, and as the song came to a close, the band members did as they had at the start, they took to the front of the stage to take a bow and to soak up the well deserved standing ovation.