Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Where is my Glittering prize?

I had been really excited to hear that Simple Minds were touring again. I had seen them in the mid 1980’s at the height of their fame at the Milton Keynes Bowl and had really enjoyed the gig.

To hear them join forces with Ultravox and gig at the O2 arena was too much to resist and I bought tickets as soon as they were released.

The hotel and train was booked. We dumped our stuff off at the hotel and headed over to the O2. I love the O2. It has a magical atmosphere. It is full of very overpriced restaurants and they are all very busy – but it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm. I suppose it is because every time I go to the O2 it is to see a band or show at the O2 arena.

I spent £90 on merchandise in less than 5 minutes. (How long did it take me to earn that money? More than 5 minutes I suspect!)

However, this was my first time to the O2 as an O2 customer. I am glad I switched. I was given priority VIP treatment. I could hang my coat in the free cloakroom, was offered free mints, hang out in the VIP lounge bar and had a private lift up to the arena. No queuing. No hassle. It was just perfect.

We found out seats and got ready for the first of tonight’s acts, Ultravox.  I had never seen Ultravox before, but of course everyone knows Vienna and Midge from co-writing ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ 

I was amazed at the quality of Ultravox.  This is not a small venue and Ultravox had everyone going. I was standing and dancing for the whole of their set (Yes I even danced to Vienna although not quite sure how now).  They were amazing and Midge’s voice is very powerful.

I knew a lot more Ultravox songs than I thought I would. I was impressed how they comfortably filled the room. They were a class act.

There was a short interlude before Jim Kerr from Simple Minds led the band on stage and asked the audience to ‘show me your hands’. Errm why? Do you think they need washing? It was a strange thing to say and perhaps I just didn’t get it – did he mean he wanted us to clap? He said it a lot. A lot. A LOT! It got a bit old after a while. And I always loved how Jim danced. He used to use his arms and hands a lot. (A bit like my dancing!) So I missed that – where were his hands? He crouched down a lot but I wanted to see him dance!

Anyway, none of that matters cause Simple Minds have made some epic tracks and I couldn’t wait to hear them. I have to say it was wonderful to hear all my favourite tracks such as ‘I travel’, ‘Love Song’ and ‘Sanctify yourself’.

They started off with Waterfront.  I love this track and it was a great one to start the show. However I did find that either the music was drowning out the vocals a bit or Jim was not singing where he should. It was hard to hear him clearly. I am a words person. I like lyrics. I want to hear the words. And actually while I am at it, Jim listen to me – I paid a lot of money to hear you sing. I have a personal hate of singers expecting us (the audience) having to sing the song for them. Its ok for the odd one line or for the extras (you know the naaa naa’s and dooo dooo’s) but Jim kept asking us to do the work for him. At one point he said ‘We should pay you’. Well now you mention it…if you don’t sing it clearly and most of it then maybe you should! We paid to hear you sing Jim – stop making us do the work!

He joked about how broke the band are as the lights are so expensive, but actually all he did was make me do a mental calculation of how much this had cost me. The train to London, the hotel, food for two days, merchandise and of course the cost of the ticket. Now times that by 70,000 or however many people were at the gig and I thought his bank do not think he is too shabby right now! He should probably not say things like that – it’s not warming his audience to him in these times of austerity.

I think it is fantastic that Simple Minds can still pull such a crowd to fill the O2 and other large arenas, but I think it’s not the same. Simple Minds did not feel sincere and I was left feeling they had sold-out.  Personally, I would not choose to go another Simple Minds gig again. Yes I was that disappointed!

However, Glittering prize and Waterfront been stuck in my head since the gig – you cannot deny the quality of the tracks!

Set List: