Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
1:00 AM 18th March 2024

Simple Minds - Still Alive And Kicking At Leeds Arena

Simple Minds at Leeds Arena
Photos: Graham Clark
Simple Minds at Leeds Arena Photos: Graham Clark
The early eighties saw the emergence in popular music of a wealth of groups who demonstrated a big, expansive, and at times cinematic sound, albeit graced with a Celtic influence: Ireland gave us U2, Wales brought The Alarm to the fore, and how could anyone forget Scotland’s finest, Simple Minds?

Forty years on, the group is still going strong, with the nucleus of the band remaining: lead singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill are still in the fold. Introducing new recruits to the line-up has given Simple Minds a fresh and invigorating renaissance, as demonstrated when the band arrived at Leeds Arena for the first night of their current British tour.

Their expansive sound felt justified in the arena setting, the cynical may call it pompous and overblown; on the contrary, this was seeing and hearing a band still at the peak of their powers.

(L-R) Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr
(L-R) Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr
Jim Kerr
Jim Kerr
Kerr, ever the affable and friendly Scot, knew how to charm an audience; he has nearly half a century’s experience to call upon. “When we were planning the tour, we were asked where would be the best city to start," he offered. Naturally, how else could it not have been Leeds, especially on a mad Friday night? 

Showcasing tracks that have not been performed live for a number of years satisfied the faithful, with Premonition and This Fear of Gods being perfect examples. Vision Thing, written about Kerr’s late father, sounded emotional, restrained, yet respectful.

Promised You A Miracle took the audience back to their initial success—this was a band who played to over 80,000 fans at their peak at Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986, many of whom are still followers in 2024.

Every band needs a track that everyone associates with them; in the case of Simple Minds, the song that elevated them to even greater heights was Don’t You Forget About Me. If the fact that one of your biggest hits was not written by the band might have grated, it did not appear to hit a nerve, as Kerr and the rest of the ensemble looked on proudly as the audience sang back the chorus in a gloriously boisterous unison.

“We are only just getting warmed up," Kerr jested to the fans as the night drew to an end. After tonight's resounding triumph, the heat had definitely been fully turned on.