Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' CD Review / Show at Roseland Ballroom on October ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' CD Review / Show at Roseland Ballroom on October

DOWNLOAD: Simple Minds – “The American” Live at Sands Centre Carlisle, 5/29/13
{Note: RIAA wackjobs – link is posted on SimpleMinds.Com – no bootlegging/piracy here so...move along}

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' CD Review / Show at Roseland Ballroom on October
Simple Minds was last in NYC for a show at Beacon Theatre (with INXS) in June of 2002 so it is a pretty big deal that the band is returning to the US for the first time in over a decade. This is probably the longest that Simple Minds has had a consistent line-up as, 4/5 of the 2002 lineup are still in the band - Jim Kerr (Vocals), Charlie Burchill (Guitar), Mel Gaynor (Drums) and Andy Gillespie (Keyboards) are joined by newcomer Ged Grimes (bass).

The band is playing a seven-date mini-tour in October and which includes stops at Roseland Ballroom on October 24th (ticket prices range from $59.50 - $79.75 and Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey on October 17th.

Simple Minds are touring behind a new 3CD / 50-song greatest hits collection, Celebrate, and had been playing 25 of these songs (with no variations) each night during the UK leg of the Celebrate tour which took place earlier in the spring.

Simple Minds – Celebrate Tour - Spring 2013 Set List

Set One:
Broken Glass Park
Once Upon A Time
Up On The Catwalk
Let There Be Love
All The Things She Said
War Babies
Glittering Prize
I Travel

Set Two:
Book Of Brilliant Things
Neon Lights (Kraftwerk cover)
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
She's A River
This Is Your Land
Blood Diamonds
The American
Love Song
See The Lights
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Promised You A Miracle

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Sanctify Yourself
Alive And Kicking

Celebrate is an interesting and enjoyable listen as the thress discs trace the band’s evolution from the jittery ‘art school’ punk of the band’s first recording to the experimental, minimalistic post-punk sounds of the following albums to a brief sojourn through New Romantic, finally breaking big in the US with bombastic stadium rock.  This evolution of the band's sound is full captured on Disc One this disc ends with the band shaking off the last bits of new wave.

In an interview last year with The Guardian UK, Jim Kerr talked about the band's move to stadium rock:

Does he regret that? "Regret is a strong word because it implies that you carry it around, and I wouldn't say I do. I'd hate to seem begrudging of success, but at the same time I'd like to be honest enough to say maybe we shouldn't have cashed in all the chips. It's a bit overwhelming when your band is no longer your own, you become an industry within an industry, but I'm very wary of going 'poor us'. C'mon, it's what you dream of. We wanted to be a great band and take it around the world, that's still what we work for."

Disc Two starts with “Don’t You Forget About Me” and, after getting past the radio hits of Once Upon a Time, the band seemingly tries to follow Bono, Mike Peters (The Alarm) and others down a path of bombastic activism. Simple Minds lost their mojo with Street Fighting Years (along with long-time keyboardist Mick MacNeil) and Disc Two ends with two tracks from 1991’s snooze fest Real Life.

Disc Three is a great compilation as it pulls out the best tracks from Simple Minds’ somewhat hit and miss early 90’s – mid 00’s releases. This disc ends on a strong note as Simple Minds seemed to hit a second wind with albums like 2005’s Black and White 050505 and 2009’s Graffiti Soul. [Q Magazine said that Graffiti Soul “…might be the best album Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill have put together since 1984's "Sparkle In The Rain."] The final two tracks on the disc, “Blood Diamonds” and “Broken Glass Park”, are new and follow in the spirit and sound of Graffiti Soul.

Given the recent flood of Simple Minds’ box sets and compilations, I think the real question with this release is whether the world needs yet another ‘best of’ compilation as the two new tracks can be purchased individually from iTunes. As points of comparison: this CD is available for $22.82 on Amazon, last year’s X5 release (the first five [best] Simple Minds albums + some non-LP singles] is on Amazon for $33.99, Live 5x5 documents the band’s 2012 tour with five songs from each of the band’s first five albums (essentially a live greatest hits compilation). This 2CD set is available on Amazon for $17.21. Lastly, there is the 2CD + DVD set, The Best of Simple Minds, which is available from Amazon.UK for £8.43 (which shouldn’t be more than $16, with shipping). The DVD included with this set is the “Live in Verona” show, which include 13 songs recorded in Paris in 1989 and 6 songs recorded in Newcastle in 1982.

Simple Minds