Simple Minds – Live In The City Of Angels: Album Review

Release Date: 4th October 2019

Label: BMG

Formats: 2CD, 4CD special edition, DL

Come in, come out of the rain. We only need say one thing – “Let me see those hands.”

In some circles, Simple Minds might be persona non grata, but The Minds have been a guilty pleasure for many of us since the early eighties as they climbed the ladder alongside U2 on their crusade for greatness.

My own personal live experience though has been varied – from sitting at the back of Manchester Apollo, unable to work out that they’d been playing New Gold Dream for about 7 minutes before I recognized it, so bad was the murky sound, to being at  very close quarters at Manchester’s Albert Hall that saw them playing and talking over their Between Two Worlds album. Of course, we were ‘at the barrier’ with Jim testing his troosers with some particularly lithe moves.

The new collection recalls their first live record, Live In The City Of Light (yes it does sound a little pretentious) from their golden Once Upon A Time period, which had a lovely Book Of Brilliant Things as a highlight. You’d have to invest in the deluxe version of the …City Of Angels album (not a major investment to be fair) to hear the current version, although the standard 2CD version has 25 tracks that do a pretty fair job for those who want the hits and the fans who want something off the beaten track.

Recorded in Los Angeles in October 2018, fair play to Jim and Charlie as they reach the twilight of their days that they’re willing to go back to those early days when many bands of their era and status can tend to disown some of their early work. There’s also a confidence in their new material that despite Jim, Charlie and co. going missing in action around the turn of the millennium, their recent Indian Summer makes it hard not to get swallowed up by the infectious swagger and musical gloss and grandeur.

A healthy batch of songs from Walk Between Worlds and Big Music sit alongside the obligatory hits (in the hands of Jim and Charlie though, ‘anthems’ may be a more suitable term) shows the confidence and commitment in their recent work.

You can opt for the 40 songs on the extended version if you can’t get enough and if you need to have the splendid version of Let The Day Begin, which like Don’t You…etc, one of those mega songs they do that they didn’t actually write. Of course, the extra cuts allow the selection to get a little more, not quite eclectic and deep to the extent that Life In A Day gets thoroughly mined, but means that very little that you’d expect gets omitted. Let’s face facts, Simple Minds live is more about the nostalgia of the mid-Eighties enormo-hits which come thick and fast.

A band who’ve released their fair share of ‘best of’s and recent live albums, their fanbase has always been a rabidly partisan one. They’ll be charged with the anticipation of the  2020 tour that celebrates 40 years of hits. Get ready to let Jim see your hands.

Listen to Waterfront from the album here but first estimate how long before Jim says “let me see those hands”:

Simple Minds online:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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