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Simple Minds:Anaheim

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Simple Minds
The Grove, Anaheim, CA—06/20/02

It was definitely back to 80's glory as Simple Minds offered a smooth and generous show led by charismatic frontman Jim Kerr.

Touring in support of their new hypnotic effort, Cry, in an unexpected good move the band focused on their two landmark albums from the 80's: New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain rather than going for an easy post-"Don't You" singles set.

Led by the core duo of singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill and supported by long-time drummer Mel Gaynor, the band offered a varied performance whose sound alternated between 80's electro, classic rock and modern electronic music. Jim Kerr's voice was as suave as ever as he took a genuine pleasure in sharing with the audience, while Charlie Burchill shelled nervous guitar riffs supported by Mel Gaynor's accurate pitch. The keyboardist supplied the old synth sounds and electronic texture discreetly while the bassist gave a strong performance.

Unfortunately, during the first three songs Kerr's voice was under-mixed and could hardly be heard as it was covered by the bass. This was rather unsurprising given that the venue was the infamous Grove (the former Sun, new name, same owners), that has built its reputation as an overpriced venue that forces its patrons into dinner-concert packages featuring expensive, bad food (unless in pure Plume Noire fashion, you get front-row seats).

The show opened with favorite "New Gold Dream" and other new wave classics from the early 80's followed, including a joyful "Promised You A Miracle", a strong "Waterfront", a sexy "Someone, Somewhere in Summertime", a soft "Big Sleep", a sumptuous "Love Song", "Glittering Prize" and the instrumental "Theme for Great Cities". Their 90's era was pretty much skipped with only rare stops: a potent "See the Lights" and a driving "She's a River", though unfortunately omitting The Street Fighting Years. From their latest work only the catchy "Spaceface" was performed along with the gripping "One Step Closer". Surprisingly, they didn't play their new single, "Cry", while the precedent Néapolis was also ignored. Their most commercial album, Once Upon A Time, took over the end of the show, with "Sanctify" and the anthems "Don't You" and "Alive & Kicking" with the crowd singing (and sometimes screeching) along. Just like the Daniel Ash concert, middle-aged O.C.women took to the stage during the finale, surrounding Kerr and Burchill, though obviously neither to their pleasure nor ours—a fairly annoying trend in "trendy" O.C.

While their performance was certainly not the powerful delivery of fellow bands Depeche Mode and U2, Simple Minds offered a solid, warm and crowd-pleasing show.

  Fred Thom

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Simple Minds: Cry

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