3Arena, Dublin April 17th 2022
Like all bands, Simple Minds have been off the road for the past couple of years and this rescheduled date is actually part of their 40th Anniversary tour. Their anniversary was a couple of years ago now and this tour was unfortunate enough to have started at the end of February 2020, just weeks before the world locked down. Frontman Jim Kerr acknowledged this fact joking that he had spent the last two years spending the ticket money from the cancelled shows.
Unlike many bands who try and hold on to their youthful image, both Kerr and fellow founding member, Charlie Burchill look like they have been in a band for 40 years. They’re paunchier than in their heyday with a few more lines and wrinkles. That’s not a bad thing though and surely makes them relatable to their fans who are also mainly of a certain age these days. Taking to the stage of a packed 3Arena just after 8pm to the strains of Spark’s hit song So May We Start they kicked off with their latest single Act Of Love. This was fitting since it was actually written in 1978 and started everything for the band even if it never got an official release until recently. They then proceeded to plough through their songs, some better known than others, with tracks such as Celebrate and Belfast Child all making the first half of the show before they took a brief break – possibly as much for the audience’s comfort as their own.
Returning to the stage about 20 minutes later we were treated to plenty more hits including Don’t You (Forget About Me), their iconic track from the 80s brat pack flick The Breakfast Club, which had the audience singing along at the top of their lungs. For many bands, this would have been a high note to finish on but not Simple Minds who treated us to Let It All Come Down and Ghostdancing before leaving the stage again only to return moments later for their encore songs Speed All Your Love To Me which sees Sarah Brown and Bernice Scott take over vocal duties before Kerr returns to his microphone with Alive and Kicking and Sanctify Yourself leaving the enthusiastic crowd with big smiles on their faces and wanting more.
Kerr and Birchill have surrounded themselves with a wonderful band for this tour (special mention must go to Cherisse Osei on drums who has more attitude in her little finger than most people have in their entire body) and everybody on stage got their moment to shine. Kerr and Birchill also seemed to feed off the energy of these younger musicians as well as the crowd reaction and became visibly more animated as the evening wore on.
After 40 years their fanbase is still as loyal as ever and they were hugely appreciative and the band revelled in the rapturous welcome they received. They may not be chart-toppers any more but judging by this show we could easily get another few decades of Simple Minds before they call it a day.