Album review: SIMPLE MINDS – Acoustic In Concert

SIMPLE MINDS - Acoustic In Concert

Eagle [Release date 16.06.17] CD/DVD

Well, if Status Quo can do it, why not Simple Minds? The Scottish band’s eighties heyday was always predicated on big, anthemic, arrangements and in this BBC Radio 2 gig we get trimmed down versions of 14 of their “classics” plus – perhaps surprisingly – Cockney Rebel’s  ‘Make Me Smile” with Steve Harley on backing vocals and a Bowie cover.

The band have been touring the acoustic show recently and this collection (with an accompanying DVD) is a good enough keepsake.  What this gig does lack is a string section which may have provided another texture and dimension to the proceedings.  The performance is however lifted by the presence of Sarah Brown on additional vocals giving the material a definite soulful flavour (especially on ‘Dancing Barefoot’) and the percussive pizazz of Cherisse Osei.

We learn in the liner notes that for the band “Acoustic” was something of a nervous adventure and they didn’t want to perpetuate the usual acoustic impression of “bongoes on the beach”.

The gig is performed in the intimate and ornate surroundings of Hackney Empire which makes me recall a superb showcase gig the band played back in 2005 at The Venue in London’s Leicester Square when launching ‘Black & White 050505′.

It was a bold move for the band to record this gig in front of a national TV and radio audience when they had barely rehearsed the material.  They emerge relatively unscathed although fans will no doubt debate whether these tunes are perhaps best remembered in all their bombastic eighties glory.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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