Review: Simple Minds

Simple Minds whipped an energetic Thetford Forest crowd into a frenzy on Saturday night, with their back catalogue of anthemic hits proving they can still rock with the best of them.

Irrepressible lead singer Jim Kerr bounded around the stage and lapped up the rapport that few bands can boast to have built up over 30 years.

With over 40 million albums sold since 1979, it was no surprise that the sing-a-long hits just kept coming.

Simple, melodic chants midway through several songs really got the crowd involved – so much so that Kerr struggled to cut back into Don't You (Forget About Me) towards the end of the set, having left the crowd to sing into his microphone for a couple of minutes while he took a well-earned breather.

Once the 'la la la las' had finally died down and the band were able to finish the song, Kerr seemed genuinely touched at the moment he had just shared with the 5,000-strong Thetford crowd.

The evening started with a fine solo acoustic set from James Walsh – better known as the lead singer of Indie group Starsailor – and was a nice way to begin a show amid the setting early-summer sun and surrounding forest.

But the pace soon soared as Simple Minds took to the stage and kicked-off with the exciting guitar riffs of new song Moscow Underground before steaming straight into fast-paced hit Waterfront.

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Then the hits just kept rolling; Glittering Prize, Sanctify Yourself, Hypnotised, Promised You a Miracle, and the poignant Mandela Day, had most people struggling to keep the clapping going with the pace of the band.

Kerr, at 51, is showing no signs of slowing down, guitarist Charlie Burchill grinned his way through a set full of reverb and iconic riffs while drummer Mel Gaynor could not be ignored with a bass drum loud enough to have shaken leaves off the surrounding trees.

An encore of four more songs saw the night build to a thrilling climax with Gloria thumped out and rounded off with Ghostdancing to a hugely appreciative crowd.

The quality of music had built to an exciting end and made for a great night. But the truly pleasing part was how much the band seemed to enjoy themselves.

They all looked thrilled at the huge response they can still get from a crowd more than 20 years after their heyday.

And the crowd was equally as thrilled to see that Simple Minds are still one of Great Britain's finest live bands.

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