And the beat goes crashing, all along the way*

It’s rare when a band I’ve liked for a while comes to town. Mostly because the bands have broken up long ago and/or key members are dead.  But also because my tastes have changed, and there just aren’t that many bands from then that I still like to listen to now.

Simple Minds is one of those bands. And they are still touring and playing.

I still have my first Simple Minds album I bought, Life In A Day. According to the fine print on the back of it, it was released in 1979. I was seventeen. It only seems like a really long time ago if I do the math. So I won’t. I have all of their albums, even the crappy one I don’t like very much. What I don’t have is the single with that song from the Breakfast Club that I loathe.

I’ve only ever seen them once before, in 1984 when I was working at a bar and dating a DJ at the Toronto alternative station. I was quite surprised to find I still had my ticket from that show.


I didn’t even know they were touring until a rare phone call from Jeany, when she asked if I wanted a ticket. I think my answer was, oh hell yes!

It was a great show. The band played like they loved being there and the audience responded. You could practically see the energy spiral from band to crowd and back again, flowing up to crash against Massey Hall’s domed roof to spill back down. Massey Hall is a soft-seater venue, but no one was sitting after the first few bars of the second song, Waterfront. I was dancing in the aisle for the rest of the show, a feat my knees reminded me of for the next few days every time I got out of a chair. Whatever. That’s what Aleve is for. It was worth it to dance again to I Travel.

Jim Kerr talked to the audience between just about every song, saying that he hoped we didn’t mind but they “were from Glasgow; we’re a bit chatty”. No, we didn’t mind at all.

They played two sets and an encore in a show that lasted two and a half hours. I have no idea where the time went. It seemed like they just got going when their walk-out music, Jean Jeanie by David Bowie, came up. No one in the audience left – I think we were all hoping we could get another encore. Jim Kerr didn’t seem to want to leave either; he walked off much slower than the rest of band, leading the crowd in an impromptu Jean Jeanie sing-a-long. He looked rueful as he waved his last wave and finally walked off the stage.

And that’s my new definition of a good show – one so energetic and engaging that even the performers don’t want to leave.


*this line from New Gold Dream has been stuck in my head for 4 days now. I’m ok with that; I’ve had worse songs stuck in my head.