In their first San Diego appearance since 2002, British band Simple Minds brought their Walk Between Worlds Live tour to Humphrey’s outdoor stage on October 22. Having taken a long hiatus from Stateside touring frontman Jim Kerr joked during the show that the band was concerned no one would remember them after such a long gap. He needn’t have worried. Simple Minds was greeted by an enthusiastic sold out crowd that was on its feet from the first note and remained that way for the entire 24 song show.
Currently touring behind their latest album, Walk Between Worlds, which scored a #4 chart placement on the British charts, Simple Minds still features founding members, singer Jim Kerr and guitarist / keyboardist Charlie Burchill, alongside Ged Grimes (bass guitar), Sarah Brown (vocals), Gordy Goudie (guitar) and Cherisse Osei (drums). Music fans should note that the band includes two musicians who are luminaries in their own right: Grimes was also a member of eighties hitmakers Danny Wilson, while Goudie was a member of seminal garage rockers The Primevals, as well as a latter day member of Echo and the Bunnymen.
The show was broken up into two sets, followed by a four song encore, with the band in top form. The stage set was minimal, with a pixilated video screen backdrop and a few minor wardrobe changes between sets. What the audience got was an inspired ‘best of’ night of music taking in singles from 1981 through 2018, alongside a smattering of album tracks and three songs from the new album, including the title track.
The show started strong with the new album’s “The Signal and the Noise,” with the biggest sing-along of the first eleven song set easily being “The American” (1981). It was clear right away the Kerr’s voice has lost none of its power over the years. Interestingly there was no letup in enthusiasm from the crowd for the newer tracks such as “Sense of Discovery,” which slotted in well with classics such as “Promised You A Miracle” (1982). The first set closed with a cover of Ewan McColl’s “Dirty Old Town” sung by Brown with Kerr. Noticing two persons watching the show from a canoe in the water alongside the venue, Kerr joked that the band was taking an intermission so that the pair could finish up their fishing.
The second set opened with the instrumental “Theme For Great Cities” (2012), before running through a string of hits that included “Someone Somewhere In Summertime” (1982) and “See The Lights” (1991). The biggest response of the evening was for the band’s 1985 #1 hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” which featured an extended sing-along, before closing the show with “New Gold Dream.”
Any music fan would have been happy with two sets, twenty songs, but the crowd was thrilled when the band came out a third time for a mini set that included both “Alive and Kicking” (1985) and “Sanctify Yourself” (1986).
Simple Minds delivered the goods and then some at this show. Kerr proved himself to be a master showman, with an ease and manner that had the crowd with him the whole night, while the camaraderie amongst this tight band of musicians onstage was visible. Simple Minds fed off the audience’s energy, with Kerr commenting on the fact that everyone had remained on their feet, thanking the crowd several times. With such a wonderful audience response, let’s hope it won’t be another decade+ before they return to San Diego.