On the eve of the release of their acoustic album, Simple Minds played a special show at the Hackney Empire for BBC Radio 2 as part of their “In concert” series. Alongside their well known hits they played some cover versions – Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot”, David Bowies “Andy Warhol” and Steve Harley’s “Make me smile (Come up and see me)” (with Steve Harley joining them on stage for it).
Releasing an acoustic album is always a gamble – fans are so used to the normal version that it can be hard to adapt to the new re-imagined versions, and that gamble is intensified when the acoustic songs are taken out on tour. While certain songs are real crowd pleasers in a normal show, the different pace and feel of the acoustic version means sometimes they don’t translate well and you can lose that energy. Generally though if the song is strong enough then it will work no matter how it’s performed, and Simple Minds certainly have some songs that fall into that category.
The choice of cover versions is great – a diverse range of artists, but all of them work extremely well in this acoustic format and also fit the flow and pace of the rest of the show. I was surprised that they ended with a cover – I’d expected “Alive and kicking” to be the final song, but the way they did it – well, I have to say they made the right choice. Starting the show with a drum solo was an interesting choice – I’ve never seen that done, but it works fairly well as an intro, leading in nicely to the first song.
The audio quality is fantastic as you’d expect from something recorded for BBC Radio. The video quality is spot on too, with excellent picture quality and a good selection of camera angles. While I generally prefer the CD for listening, watching the DVD you do pick up on some of the details you don’t get from just listening, such as just how good the slide guitar playing is, or the fact the drummer plays standing up rather than seated.
There’s a DVD, a BluRay and also a CD/DVD plus a vinyl LP. Personally I prefer the CD/DVD option – the DVD is great to watch when you have the time, but at other times (e.g. when driving) then the CD is perfect to listen to.
A fantastic release.
Simple Minds – Acoustic in concert is out now via Eagle Rock Entertainment
1. New gold dream (81-82-83-84)
2. See the lights
3. Glittering prize
4. Stand by love
6. Andy Warhol
7. Chelsea girl
8. Someone somewhere in summertime
9. Dancing barefoot
10. Speed your love to me
11. Promised you a miracle
12. Don’t you (Forget about me)
13. Sanctify yourself
14. Long black train
15. Alive and kicking
16. Make me smile (Come up and see me)