Charlie Burchill - guitar, vocals; Derek Forbes - bass; Jim Kerr - vocals, guitar; Mel Gaynor - drums; Mick MacNeil - keyboards; Sue Hadjopolous - percussion; Robin Clarke - guest vocals
A short but powerful set, Simple Minds delivers the goods for some of their best songs from the early-1980s at this show captured in Newcastle, England during November of 1982. Opening with the rhythmically heavy "Hunter and the Hunted" and moving into the even more compelling, "Glittering Prize," vocalist Jim Kerr shows why he had one of the best voices on the charts during this time. It is a wonder that more of the band's songs weren't hits on U.S. radio.
A chilling version of "Big Sleep" comes soon after, with its title taken from the famous Humphrey Bogart film. They close the set with "New Gold Dream" which U2's Bono has said is one of the best rock songs ever recorded. This set was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour on the band's high profile New Gold Dreams tour, before they found sweeping success with their inclusion on the Breakfast Club soundtrack with the closing tune, "Don't You Forget About Me."
Although the band had been through a myriad of styles, they found a formula where all the pieces fell together into a radio-friendly and critically smart format. Simple Minds evolved from the punk band Johnny and the Self Abusers, which featured Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, and later the band's initial rhythm section. For this tour, the core band was augmented by backing vocalist Robbie Clark and world class percussionist Sue Hadjopolous, who had worked extensively with Joe Jackson.
Heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground, the band re-named itself Simple Minds in 1977, taking the moniker from a line in the David Bowie classic "Jean Genie." The band initially signed with Arista Records in 1979, who was looking for a U.K. version of radio friendly rockers the Cars. They made several albums where they experimented with everything from straightforward riff-rock to minimalist, abstract soundscapes.
In 1981, they moved over to Virgin Records, who paired them with several key producers, including Steve Lillywhite, who had produced several of the early U2 albums. It would not be until 1985 that Simple Minds would finally become a household name and secure their place in rock history. Early in the year, the band was asked to record a song written by producer Keith Forsey entitled "Don't You Forget About Me."
That song had been first offered to Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry, both of whom passed on it. This track was going to be the opening song in the film, The Breakfast Club, the first of the Brat Pack films starring Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. The film was a teen box office smash, and the track by Simple Minds (thanks to a popular MTV video) became one of the biggest records of that year. The band had a run of several MTV hits shortly thereafter, and gained notoriety as an opening act for Peter Gabriel. By 1987, however, their run of hits had dried up, and they have had to rely on a strong fan base left over from their glory years.
Simple Minds today only contains Kerr and Burchill from the original line-up. They have continued to write, record, and tour.