Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Simply OK

After 20 years, Simple Minds were back in Wellington. It was time to recapture my youth and we went, along with a whole lot of other 30-somethings, a few 40-somethings and a scattering of 50-pluses. Attire was firmly jeans, casual top and comfortable shoes for guys - the middle age uber-cool. For the women, it was mostly stylish with the occasional victim of the 80's who hadn't quite got over the era. Women are genetically better at dressing than men and know how to look good as they age. Us guys seem to let it go, as if we ever had it....

The first surprise was that this was not a sell-out. There were plenty of spare seats but at $120 a pop, this was not a cheap concert. A lot of people turned up after the support group but there was plenty of room for more. The support band (whose name I have no recollection of) were interesting and unknown and are likely to remain so. They had a couple of catchy tunes which could make it and the lead singer enjoyed himself with a few mild mannered hecklers. Their last song was their best and at least got the crowd a bit excited.

When the main event started, there was a buzz, and Kerr captured the mood like a pro with the it's been 20 years and it's great to be back and we'll do our best opening. A couple of avid female fans ran to the front of the stage and just managed not to throw knickers - this was pretty fortunate as I suspect that there were girdles involved. This inspired a whole sea of wannabees to head to the front - huge similarities to my last concert at Michael Fowler which was Hi-5 when all the "cool" kids get up to dance. Sadly, I suspect that some of those groupies had to get to the front as they couldn't see so well from the back as their eyes weren't quite what they used to be. I think some of them had forgotten why they were there and wanted to simply find the toilet.

Kerr banged out some good tracks and the dancing group (about 150 by now) waved their arms and bounced around. By the 4th track, the arm waving noticeably slowed as age took hold. They were a resilient lot though and kept going all night up there. This could have been down to the fact that a) they had lost feeling in their legs b) they couldn't quite remember where they were sitting or c) is this the queue for the toilet?

Kerr had enormous energy and hit the notes. Burchill strolled around the stage chewing gum and occasionally mimed a few words but he appeared to be a song behind. He played great all night though and is a happy fellow having played the big number two for so long. The light show was classic 80's flashes and strobes glaring out into the crowd. Nicely done and good for the paramedics to find their way around. The occasional reflection off of a bald head would cast nice mirror ball effects around the hall which was nice. You could feel the energy off the boppers, and the static charge building up from so many acrylic sweaters rubbing together could have lit up all of the waterfront.

There were two encores and we got treated to some more good tracks. Kerr kept the crowd eating out of his hand with some good banter and by swinging his mike around for a chorus. It was a good night but I came away a bit disappointed for some reason. Don't get me wrong, it was a good concert, and musically it was everything that you would expect, but it just didn't hit the mark for me. There were a lot of people dancing about but way more sitting and shoe tapping. It took you back a few years but it didn't blast you there and shake you into a frenzy. I guess 20 years is a long time and the memories are sometimes better than the reality.

I know I shouldn't but I couldn't help comparing the experience to David Gray from a few weeks back - this is a bit like comparing a modern rugby player like Jerry Collins with a star of 20 years ago. In their day they were the best, but somehow, they breed them bigger and stronger and more talented today and side by side, there is a world of difference. This doesn't take anything away from the stars of yesteryear, it is just that the world has moved on and we've got older and more picky. Still, a bloody good night out without the kids and my comfortable shoes tapped for most of the night.


  1. Unlike Burchill I'm glad I'm not a big number two :-)

  2. So it's OK for me to forget about Jim now?

  3. Not a pleasant image Nick!

    Hi Alan, I already have.

  4. on the slim chance you're not watching Dancing with the Stars, there is a Simple Minds show on C4 at the moment.

  5. Tar Martha, I just got a TXT to tell me too! I am now surfing, watching dancing with the Stars and flicking to C4 - who says men can't multi-task.....breathe, gotta breathe, don't forget to breathe....move hand, press 32, OK, now press 1. Click mouse. Ahhh, too many things to do......breathe....

  6. I was doing the same thing, except I managed to miss Lorraine Downes doing Grease - dammit. Could've been the only good thing on the show and now I'll never know.

  7. Oh my, she was brilliant and stunning and yummy.

  8. She is the original milf. I aim to be exactly like her when I'm 42, although she did have Miss Universe under her belt.