fredag 31. januar 2014

Simple Minds - back in Oslo

Yesterday, January 30th, Scottish synth-pop legends Simple Minds returned to Oslo and the Sentrum Scene venue, close to two year's after their last visit.

Foto: Per-Otto Oppi Christansen/GAFFA
That concert was part of the band's 5x5 tour, a concept where they played five songs from each of their five first albums. It was an idea that sounded better in theory than it turned out to be, mainly because their first two albums, Life In A Day and Real To Real Cacaphony, have no chance of turning up five good songs each. It is just barely possible to find five good songs among the two of them.

Still, the 5x5 show was not bad, but hopes were higher prior to what was billed as a "greatest hits" tour. That was not exactly the case as this current tour also relies heavily on non-hits, and quite a few songs most Simple Minds fans are not familiar with, such as "Broken Glass Park", "One Step Closer", "War Babies" and "Blood Diamonds".

To say that these and others distracted the audience last night would be an understatement. Once the show gained momentum after a so-so start (that did include the awesome "Waterfront") of a sudden it falters and stops as the (brilliant) band sets out on another unexpected journey into the confusing wilds of "not giving the fans what they came to hear". Throughout the show it started, stuttered, and in some instances collapsed, before they tried again and spirits soared anew.

It's a strange thing to witness as Jim Kerr and his cohorts are so experienced they should know far better. The absolute worst case of this strange and ill-thought behaviour came right towards the end. They dove into the encores with a roof-raising version of "New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)", the title track off their 1982 masterpiece, then went on a similarly hair-raising and fun run through "Sanctify Yourself" that almost doubled the intensity as the audience whooped for joy and sang along, and then... pffffft... a song no-one knows called "Space" from their Silver Box of demos and unreleased obscurities. All the bobbing heads, raised and waving arms, dancing bodies and screaming and shouting voices doing their best to sing along with Jim Kerr all of a sudden came to a complete halt as the band started playing that song. I don't know if that's pretention, disregard for the audience or maybe even pure madness, but it ruined the momentum once and for all. Even though the band ended the show with a brilliant "Alive And Kicking", the air completely left the balloon, and there was, of course, no way to blow it up again.

At their best, Simple Minds were absolutely fantastic last night. To imagine what the show could have been if they had stuck to the greatest hits concept... a crying shame. As it was, it was worth the money, it was a good night out, but it could have been a lot more. I do hope they come to their senses at some point and embark on a true greatest hits tour. I won't be giving up on Simple Minds, but last night was, unfortunately, a bit of a disappointment.

Playlist in Spotify

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