Gig day! Thorsten had got up early to collect our van and PA. rig.
Thorsten's girlfriend Angela, served us with a lovely breakfast complimented
by Ali G on the video - the perfect host! After breakfast we worked out the
nights set list and decided to include Hypnotised.
Today was a special day for Thorsten's Mother and Father as they were
celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. We went around to join their
party at about midday. After a bit of confusion trying to explain that we
weren't the 'real' Simple Minds (though Dave is clearly a dead ringer for
Charlie Burchill!), we enjoined some fine German hospitality. We don't
normally drink before a gig, though it has to be said that the beer flowed
freely!!! As the party started to move into the sauna, we decided it was
probably best to say our goodbyes before the car keys were handed around!
After Thorsten's brother's farewell 'death grip' handshake, we all have
serious doubts if we'll ever use our right hands again!
When we met up with Jacky at The Hoppegarden (our staging area) we found
that we had too much gear for the van, so we also had to take Jacky's 'porn
car'. (Does everything in Germany look like it's from a porn movie?!) It
took about an hour and a half to get to Beildfeld. Maybe we could have got
their sooner had we been sober and known the way! The venue was a large
Irish Bar in which was once the city town hall. We are greeted by the Irish
owner Ray, who is very accommodating to ensure we have everything we need.
He tells us that there have been many telephone enquiries about our
performance and it looks like it could be a good night.
We are able to partially hang the claddagh backdrop and have to remove a
suit of armour from the small stage to make room. There are a lot of pillars
in the venue, which will make acoustics problematic. Thorsten and Jacky go
about assembling the P.A. system. I try my best to help, though through a
combination of drink and tiredness I find it difficult to absorb
instructions. After I had something to eat I felt much better. (Compliments
to the Chef!).
There we a few problems getting the P.A. up and running and this was clearly
very stressful for Thorsten. The stage was an unusual shape. I was in a
corner behind a pillar (is there something you're trying to tell me guys?)
and Dave and Jacky were playing next to each other on the opposite side
(like Status Quo). Thorsten was using an electronic drum set up which I much
preferred, as usually being beside him I get the full audio onslaught of his
kit. This was much easier on my ears and I thought the sound was great. We
only played about half of Waterfront at the sound check, then went to kick
back for a bit before the gig.
Based on an earlier discussion with the venue we had prepared to do two
sets. Then the rather 'camp' assistant manager called into our dressing room
as we were getting changed (coincidence?) and asked us to split the set into
three parts. This was a bit unexpected - he then added that he'd had to open
up the venue's other two bars due the number that had come through the door!
We went to have a look - then we went to the toilet!
Here's what we played:
1. ONE STEP CLOSER
2. LOVE SONG
3. PROMISED YOU A MIRACLE*
4. SHE'S A RIVER*
5. SPEED YOUR LOVE TO ME
6. GLITTERING PRIZE*
7. DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME
1. THEME FOR GREAT CITIES
2. UP ON THE CATWALK*
3. SEE THE LIGHTS*
6. NEW SUNSHINE MORNING
8. NEW GOLD DREAM
1. BELFAST CHILD
3. THE AMERICAN
4. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IN SUMMERTIME*
5. SANCTIFY YOURSELF
6. ALIVE AND KICKING
= = = = = =
7. EAST AT EASTER*
8. ROOM / BOOK OF BRILLIANT THINGS
= = = = = =
9. DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME
*new songs in the set from last time
Set 1 went fine, though we had a problem with One Step Closer. There's a
loop that plays in the background and Thorsten uses a click track to keep in
time with it. Unfortunately the click track had broken during the intro
strings! Somehow he kept in time by ear - not easy I can assure you - we're
lucky to have the '2nd' best drummer in the world in our band! After a brief
pause to sort out the issue we were off again closing with a sing-along
Don't You Forget About Me.
Though we knew what songs we were going to do during set 2, I made up the
running order as we went along. Ghostdancing was amazing. Steve got up on
a banister during the song and the crowd reaction was really thrilling - or
maybe it was the anticipation that the banister would break? From the
seclusion of my little corner, I was having ongoing problems with a large
drunk German who kept tugging at my leg and asking for Paul McCartney songs.
(At least I thought he was asking for Paul McCartney songs - they were the
only two words I could understand!). This was quite off putting as I was
trying to play Space at the time, but Steve sang a verse of Live and Let
Die and he went away.
It was nice to meet a few SM.com community members at this gig (and a good
luck message from Mike Simpson in America). We had several requests for War
Babies and we're sorry we didn't play it. During the 2nd interval we
discussed jamming it, but decided that unrehearsed we might have problems.
(Maybe next time guys). As a compromise I ran the War Babies intro loop
for a bit as we came back on stage before going into Belfast Child which
we dedicated to the staff at the Irish bar who really looked after us. As we
closed the set with Alive and Kicking, everyone was going mad (or was it
We hadn't rehearsed or played East at Easter for over a year, but we felt
we could pull it off. Our set list had been mostly greatest hits and I was
amazed at the reaction to East at Easter (we played the version from the
Sparkle 84 tour) and the audience response went up to another level. Then on
Room (in which we also now include Book of Brilliant Things) the roof
came down! We have an unwritten rule that we don't repeat songs in the set,
though for the first time ever we played Don't You for a second time.
Needless to say the reaction was great and the microphone was taken by the
audience and passed around during the lah, lah bit.
At 24 songs this was the longest set we'd ever played. The heat on stage was
almost unbearable so thank God we had the breaks in between. It was 1.30am
and we were knackered! Thank you Bielfeld - you were amazing!
"First Comes the rush, then comes the fall" (She Knows).
The last thing you want to do after a playing over a period of four and a
half hours is to have to dismantle your P.A. system. (It must weigh over a
ton). But, it was a job that had to be done. As we wheeled the flight cases
through the venues crypts to our van, I had a rather unusual experience. As
I was loading one of Dave's guitars, I thought Jacky was holding the back
and lifting it too, but when I turned around I was all alone. The guitar
case was in my hand at about waist height and as I pulled it towards me
'something' pulled it back. It felt like I was pulling a rope with someone
holding the other end. I pulled harder and then the grip was released and I
fell back. Now, the guitar was not caught on anything - it was just loose in
my hand. I was quite freaked out about this, though I decided not to tell
After the van was loaded we had 'one for the road' with the bar staff /
vampires! The Assistant Manager said, "Dis place.it'z all furrrked up!" We
asked what he meant and he asked, "Haz any of you encountered zi ghosts?"
Steve said how uncomfortable he felt in one of the cellars near our dressing
room earlier and I then told my tale of my tug of war with the guitar case -
I'm sure they think I'm mad, (or maybe I just drank too much!!!) Anyway, we
had a 'Dusk 'til Dawn' feeling about the place and left really fast!
The drive back through the torrential rain seemed to last forever and at
about 4.30am we finally got to bed. It was another restless night. After
such a great gig it was difficult to unwind - and thanks earlier to
Thorsten's brother, our right hands didn't work anymore!!!