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All recording for Simple Minds' 17th studio album has now finished. The album is now being mixed and mastered for release.

"The snow is falling in Glasgow as I write. And although it might be hard to imagine while looking out the window, officially yesterday was the first day of Spring. Time marches indeed. Today is Charlie's last day of recording on what is destined to be our new album - Simple Minds 17th to date. In a few hours he will pick out the last few beautiful notes, and most probably blast out some last minute ideas. The guitars will then go back in the cases, to be packed away until next week when rehearsals for the Acoustic Live tour begin. With the exception of the odd backing vocals to be added at a later date, I have also finished with my involvement in the recording. And so that is that! Another chapter in our story written, another effort complete. I like this current momentum in particular. Two and a half years since the release of our last album Big Music, and only 4 months since the release of Acoustic. In between we have toured extensively, while trying to also have some semblance of lives outside of the music. One that involves family and all that other crucial stuff. We've certainly had one or two "slow motion" career periods, but our own "march of time" has thankfully never really stopped since we started writing songs 40 years ago. It shows no sign of doing so either. So what will we do tomorrow, the day after an entire album recording has been concluded? We will get up early and start thinking about our next album - our 18th. This is how we live, it is the rhythm of our lives." - Jim, 21st March 2017.

"The European leg of the Simple Minds Acoustic tour is due to start this coming Saturday in Essen, Germany."

"Following on a few weeks later, with dates throughout UK and Ireland."

"We really want to "hit the ground" running, from the first show and continuing all the way through to the last In Dublin fair city."

"In doing so hopefully giving our best in making these gigs as enjoyable and as memorable as possible for all who come to see us throughout these next couple of months."

"I am confident we will achieve that. If not, it won't be for a lack of trying."

"I certainly cannot recall ever putting so much into rehearsing as we have done at various intervals over the last year, all in a build - up preparation for this tour."

"That was necessary, given that we have never previously toured with an acoustic show. Plus, the chances are that this may indeed be the one and only time that we do so."

"If so, it genuinely will be a unique experience both for us and the audience."

"And even more pressure then, to make it beyond good!" - Jim, 3rd April 2017

Colosseum Theater, Essen, Germany
8th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall

Many thanks to Paul Van Haeff for the ticket scan and picture.

"Exactly a year ago today we played an acoustic set for the first time in our long career. In fact, we first considered accepting the chance to play an acoustic show for MTV Unplugged some 30 years ago. But y'know, somethings take a while to get round to, and more than often it is as much about "the timing" as it is the idea."

"Anyway, 12 months ago, we made our way up a snowy mountain in Zermatt, Switzerland. Not knowing at all how we would feel 24 hours later? And with no idea if our first ever acoustic set to be played later on than night would fail miserably?"

"In that case we would have sloped off the mountain next day, and little more would be said of Simple Minds performing acoustically ever again."

"Thankfully that was not the case."

"Instead, within a minute or two of the opening song that night, See The Lights we knew that with a lot more effort, and a dose of ingenuity, Simple Minds music could easily work its magic being performed acoustically. And so we rolled up our sleeves and decided to spend the summer continuing to work on the new Simple Minds album - the follow up to Big Music - plus, put added energy into recording an acoustic album featuring a list of Minds classics."

"Around 6 months later, the release of the Acoustic album, and our UK acoustic showcase gig, broadcast live by BBC from Hackney Empire London, hopefully demonstrated the effort we put into the acoustic project. We were delighted by the results, and we were certainly enthused enough by the public reaction to then announce an extensive tour of Europe, UK and Ireland."

"Tomorrow night in Germany we begin that tour, and my intention is to savour every minute of every show. Who knows if we will ever tour in this fashion again after all? My own sense is that this will be the "one and only.""

"Thanks to all who are coming to see us. Thanks to all who have supported us throughout the Simple Minds Acoustic project. See you out there. Somewhere?" - Jim, 7th April 2017

Colosseum Theater, Essen, Germany
9th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall
Main Set: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / See The Lights / Glittering Prize / Chelsea Girl / Big Sleep / Stand By Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Waterfront / Andy Warhol / Dancing Barefoot / Speed Your Love To Me / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Long Black Train / Promised You A Miracle / For What It's Worth / Alive And Kicking

Many thanks to JohnnyBGood for the set-list and pictures.

On the eve of the albumís release in November 2016, the band took to the stage at Londonís Hackney Empire to perform a special show for the BBC Radio2 In Concert series.

The show comprises acoustic versions of some of their greatest hits and best-loved tracks along with cover versions of some of the songs that shaped them. Watch out for a very special guest on the finale!.

Fore more details see Acoustic In Concert

Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
10th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall

"Our acoustic tour finally got underway last night in Essen and I don't think we have had a better opening night to any tour?"

"Exciting as "opening nights"are, understandably there is usually something a little nervous about them. And as things are tried out for the first time, of course some errors and gremlins are normally encountered."

"In fact things could not have run smoother last night."

"Very nice venue, wonderful audience, the perfect acoustic set list, and a group of musicians who love doing what they do."

"KT Tunstall's involvement also raised the level greatly. We are so fortunate to have her as special guest and then join us later on during our own set."

"What else to say? Our crew did a splendid job with light and sound, and we look forward to more of the same tonight for the 2nd Essen show."

"After that, we will be more than prepared for tomorrow night (Monday 10th) in Frankfurt."

"Thanks to all for coming to see Simple Minds Acoustic." - Jim, 9th April 2017

Meistersingerhalle, Nuremberg, Germany
11th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall

"Our Long Black Train will pull in to Nuremberg, tonight for the 4th Simple Minds acoustic concert. Thank you to all in Frankfurt. We are loving these venues, and the special atmosphere that is both present and unique to this tour. Looking forward to seeing everyone who plans on coming to see Simple Minds" - Jim, 11th April 2017


The singer has stayed in luxury all over the world, but his most profound experiences took place on tour in the back of a Transit.

"Travel has been important to me since I started hitchhiking as a teenager with Charlie Burchill, my partner in Simple Minds, to see bands such as the Sex Pistols. We still feel weíre on that hitchhiking trip ó Iíve had some of my most exhilarating thoughts in the back of a van. The greatest feeling was learning our trade, driving through the snow in Holland or Sweden to get to a place where the audience was two men and a dog. But those two men and a dog went crazy when we played. It was the oxygen we needed."

"If you canít have fun in a band, I donít know what you can have fun with. I remember touring Australia and New Zealand with Talking Heads, Eurythmics and The Pretenders. Every night we were in someoneís room. Debauchery, no... but I did end up getting married as a result [to Chrissie Hynde]. The music was louder than it should be, and there were exotic smells wafting up the corridors, but no TVs flying out of windows."

"I loved Italy from my first school trip there, aged 13. The history, the culture, the colours, the climate, the food... I went to Taormina, in Sicily, to lick my wounds after my marriage ended, and Iíve been going back for 20 years. I do almost the same walk every day and find it as exhilarating now as I did the first time: you see Mount Etna and the sea, Arab forts and gothic architecture. Eventually, I started a hotel business there. Iíve stayed in incredibly plush hotels ó we were spoilt rotten ó but sometimes they have an empty feeling. You canít relax. Our hotel is about the view, and feeling welcome as soon as you enter."

"I also have a holiday home in the Trossachs, with a spectacular view. The countryside is an antidote to the hustle of working. If you go up those hills, you could be in Tibet. I love the scale of the landscape ó you feel the world is a very old place. And I like walking. Itís good for the health, I hope, and clears the head."

"My most memorable hiking trip was to Petra, in Jordan. At night, it was stunning to lie out and see the stars, but it wasnít all Lawrence of Arabia. Sometimes it was slogging over stones, head down."

"Iíve been to Bali a gazillion times, usually in January to make amends for the previous monthís excess. I do a few days at the beach, then I go into Ubud to take advantage of the whole massage thing."

"Las Vegas is a place that holds no interest for me, so I took a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon. That was mind-blowing. The helicopter lands in the canyon, they pull out bread rolls and you have breakfast."

"My partner is Japanese, and itís magic to go to Kyoto when the cherry blossom is coming. There are people under trees having picnics, tea ceremonies in the temples. In Nishinomiya, where the river is lined with blossom, itís all graceful when everyone sets up at 6pm; three hours later, theyíre steaming drunk. But itís magical. I miss that sense of foreignness as the world becomes smaller."

Jim Kerr, 57, the lead singer of Simple Minds, grew up in Glasgow. He has been divorced twice and now lives with his partner, Yumi, in Sicily, where he owns a hotel. Simple Minds Acoustic is out now, and they will tour the UK from May 17.

Caroline Rees
The Times
April 2017

Admiralspalast, Berlin, Germany
13th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall

"Arriving in Berlin as we have this morning, inevitably brings back many memories of our first trips to this most unique city."

"Whilst touring between 1979 and 1982, Simple Minds probably made that famous "Berlin corridor" drive - from Hamburg to what is now the capital city, at least 6 times. In doing so we travelled through part of what was then known as East Germany, and at that time it of course belonged inextricably to the so called Soviet Bloc of countries, all umbilically tied to Moscow."

"The experience of that was nothing short of fascinating. As we, fuelled on Graham Greene novels and an endless amount of spy movies, set out on our very own Cold War appointment, feeling entirely like we were travelling into a parallel world. One that is, that we in the West were mostly taught to both abhor and fear. Such was the bi-polar clash of philosophies that dominated world politics in those days."

"Placid enough. The images we saw along the way were mostly ones of country landscapes and little, nondescript villages. Undoubtedly though the surrounding atmosphere felt undeniably stark, and strangely as though we had entered into the dimensions of another time all together. Time gone backward, I suppose."

"However as we approached West Berlin itself, we gradually came into contact with army vehicles, scary looking watch towers, barbed wire fences and finally camouflaged tanks set off from the side of the road. All of course induced a great sense of imminent warning, I assume that was the overall purpose? If so, it had maximum effect."

"We were never advised to stop or get out our mini bus. We were however definitely advised not to go nosing around as we would elsewhere in the world. In fact the only occasions we did stop was for random security checks by the military guards. All unforgettably dressed in uniforms bearing the single Soviet red star. Ominously they were there to keep a fixed eye on all that was going on, in turn leaving us more than a little paranoid."

"Young men themselves, their roles within a world of stern officialdom could not have been in more contrast to our own laid back and somewhat decadent artistic lifestyles. Recalling it all now, it is very difficult to describe the quiet that came over all of us, as we seemed metaphorically to be holding our breath, while sealed in our 9 seater bus throughout the 3 to 4 hour drive, leading us finally to what we and countless others worldwide then regarded as a haven - better known as West Berlin."

"On arrival it seemed that we could fully breathe again. Free to return to ourselves somehow. Amongst the bright lights and energy of West Berlin, we were certainly free to re-connect with a world of which we were much more familiar."

"And as the horseplay and chutzpah, common to most 20 year old lads flooded back, we headed first for the infamous "Checkpoint Charlie" border crossing, and then finally to stand against that iconic light grey, linear monument. It's brutal purpose known globally as a tragedy for humanity. It was however simply referred to as the Berlin Wall."

"I fully admit that looking back on things so long ago is not always an easy task. The essence of what happened always remains, but sometimes it gets a bit blurred between the stone cold reality of events as they genuinely occurred. And a more fuzzy, exaggerated, picture of sorts."

"That is probably to be expected, as in some cases we are often talking about countless experiences, some of which happened a whole 4 decades ago."

"Hard to believe it, but almost no one had video cameras or even photo cameras amongst us back then. That again sometimes leaves me either fully forgetting events, or wondering about how likely the details I recall are in relation to the truths of those innocent years when it was all brand new to us. Plus, when you move around like we do, flirting from one tour to the next etc. It is normal that it all gets a bit tricky to distinguish certain tour memories from the other."

"Thankfully the journalist Ronnie Gurr was there with us on one of those initial trips to Berlin. Recently available, the snaps he took of Simple Minds larking around in the shadow of the wall, were genuinely a joy for both Charlie and I to see."

"I myself, so taken, have ordered prints that will adorn the walls in one of the rooms in my house. Memories never to be forgotten, images of early Simple Minds feature brilliantly in "So Far, so Distant And So Long Ago: Simple Minds in Berlin 1980""

"Check them out. Thanks to Ronnie for being there!" - Jim, 12th April 2017

"I commented recently that between travelling, resting and hanging around waiting for showtime, which is where all the time is actually "eaten up". It means that we actually don't play that much music when go on tour?"

"Including that is, even when there is a crazy schedule, as is the case this week where we will play 6 shows in 7 days. Well again, most of the time is spent setting the concerts up, and in comparison so little is spent performing. That is just the irony of going on tour to play live music."

"But it also explains why we massively appreciate the efforts of our road crew/technicians who do work almost non-stop to facilitate us as we aim to put on the kind of events that we can feel proud of, and of which we feel our audience deserve. They have been particularly impressive this week, ensuring that Simple Minds Acoustic Live has had an excellent opening run of gigs."

"As this recently taken photo suggests, a lot of time on tour is however spent laughing. Yes, even on stage, where the banter between us continues!"

"I have no idea what Sarah and Charlie are laughing at in this pic, and who knows what I am looking at? But the image made me both laugh and reflect on the fact that being on tour with Simple Minds at this stage in our career, is much more fun than it was at any other previously."

"Don't get me wrong. It was always a pleasure, always plenty of good times. Somehow though, we are in general much more relaxed about just about everything these days. See you tonight in Berlin I hope." - Jim, 13th April 2017

Laeiszhalle, Hamburg, Germany
14th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall
Main Set: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / See The Lights / Glittering Prize / Chelsea Girl / Big Sleep / Stand By Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Waterfront / Andy Warhol / Dancing Barefoot / Speed Your Love To Me / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Long Black Train / Promised You A Miracle / For What It's Worth / Alive And Kicking

"As in the picture, we will be on the front foot tonight while putting out as much energy and effort for Hamburg. The day off in Berlin prior to the Berlin show definitely revitalised all of us, and I personally felt better on stage last night as a result. Thanks to all who welcomed us in Berlin, making us feel so good. Thanks to all who are coming to see us in Hamburg tonight, we will make it worthwhile. Guaranteed!" - Jim, 13th April 2017

The Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
15th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall
Main Set: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / See The Lights / Glittering Prize / Chelsea Girl / Big Sleep / Stand By Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Waterfront / Andy Warhol / Dancing Barefoot / Speed Your Love To Me / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Long Black Train / Promised You A Miracle / For What It's Worth / Alive And Kicking

"Thanks to everybody in Hamburg for a wonderful night in the beautiful Laeiszhalle!

"Now to Copenhagen where we will see you later tonight!"

"Denmark has always been generous to Simple Minds, particularly recalling our first ever visit back in 1979 and so many times since."

"But our "acoustic show" is something different, and truly a reward to see the reaction to the music that these great musicians are performing at each and every show."

"Thanks to all who are travelling from near and far to see our acoustic concerts, it is truly appreciated." - Jim, 15th April 2017

"Easter Sunday and we have one of those rare things... a day off from work!"

"Luckily we will spend the day in Baden Baden, (playing there tomorrow night) a beautiful little spa town that lies in a valley of the Northern Black Forest in southwestern Germany."

"It was the Romans (of course) who first settled there, going all the way back to the Emperor Hadrian, already using the natural spring waters to relieve all manner of "arthritic aches.""

"I suppose that since Simple Minds have played 6 shows in the last 7 days, we might also benefit in helping out with our own arthritic aches!"

"Only joking of course. Because despite the full on schedule, we are having a ball each and every night, being energised in the process."

"That is entirely due to the reaction from the audiences at each of these Simple Minds Acoustic Live Shows. Thanks to all of you for that!" - Jim, 16th April 2017

"Simple Minds has forever been in motion, with virtually nothing about what we do remaining fixed."

"The exception being the relationship that both Charlie and I have with each other, and our shared determination to see that our band has continued to grow creatively whether out there on a live stage, or within the hub of rehearsal and recording studios."

"Hopefully we mostly make it all look/seem easy? That is the aim. After all, when anyone buys a ticket or listens to our music, they don't really need to know the trials and tribulations that occurred along the way. And they certainly are not required to share in any of the pain that perhaps came our way as we struggled to make sense of what we do and why we do it - through good times - and some measure of bad also."

"To be fair, not much of our "angsty stuff" is that interesting, or unique? Not been that much of it either. Not recently. Sure, a very long time ago, way in the distant past, we went through some of the usual "run of the mill stuff" that is bound to happen when young males group together within an initial shared ideal. One that then inevitably untangles as power struggles and petty jealousies naturally kick in. And that right there - is the story of just about all rock bands. Even if some are reluctant to admit."

"The thing is, we might work in a realm that seems exotic compared to the so called everyday work scenarios. But our story has been shaped by the same kind of forces/happenings that I'd venture we all experience in our own individual ways as we try to eek out successful experiences and relationships within our work and personal lives."

"Admittedly we have had great fortune in achieving things beyond any comprehension imaginable from when we set out on this adventure almost 40 years ago. But like everyone else, we have also known what it is like to feel desperate; remorseful even."

"We also know the feeling of dread on realising that even with people you know and have loved being with for years, that somehow you have now arrived at an intersection - that in turn leads you to take separate paths. Moving apart - in endlessly complex ways. Sad of course. But that is also all part of growing and evolving. At least as we have come to know it."

"And what else do we know as a result of doing what we have been doing for so long?"

"Well, we know a unique talent whenever it walks in the room? And we also know the difference between good, really good.....and world class!"

"I'm now talking about percussionist/drummer Cherisse Osei. And those who have seen our Simple Minds Live Acoustic will surely understand my breathless enthusiasm for rare individuals like her. I mean those who are willing to work beyond the norm in order to achieve a level of excellence beyond what most others settle for."

"Still very new to working with the music of Simple Minds, there is a lot more to tell about Cherisse, and in time she will do a better job of that than me. But I can nevertheless tell you how inspired I was by listening to her extraordinary story, told to me as we travelled through Germany together last week."

"Let's face it, not many 11 year old girls beg for the keys of the school? So that they can go in at 7:30 am every morning, and then bang the hell out of all manner of percussion prior to the daily school lessons. Likewise, not many young women were invited to do a quasi solo spot, playing drums at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing."

"If details like that don't impress you, then I don't know what to say?"

"Except, don't take my word for it. Come witness Cherisse Osei doing her thing - for yourself."

"And know that as far as Simple Minds are concerned, if we are going to continue to sweat blood and tears, then as always - we will want to do it within the company of the very best. And those with best attitude only!" - Jim, 16th April 2017

Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany
17th April, 2017
Support: KT Tunstall

"Easter Sunday got to off to a great start on arrival at our hotel in this quaint spa town. We are usually spoiled, but the room I had been allocated is particularly stunning, breathtaking in fact. So good, and big enough, that it took me a few minutes to take it it all in. The thrill of it all lasted up until I drew back the curtains, only to find a floor to ceiling view... of a full - on construction site!"

"Well, you can't have it all I suppose. Or maybe you can, if you are bothered enough to kick up enough fuss. But that is rarely my style, and in any case having spent years working on construction sites prior to "working in show business", it did not take me long to remind myself how lucky I am to have found the career that I have."

"The air here is particular fresh, and the town looked stunning to both Charlie and I as we pottered around in the afternoon drizzle."

"The clearest of water streams that run through town are loaded with flower petals from the various trees/plants that are now full approaching full bloom. The only other time I have witnessed that to such a degree was in Kyoto, Japan, also during springtime."

"Baden-Baden coincidentally, is where we first met KT Tunstall. I think that was in the summer of 2003 - 4 maybe? She had newly broken through with her debut album and was picking up an award at a ceremony that was also acknowledging the music of Simple Minds."

"We did not have the chance to talk much that night, but we were certainly taken by her engaging and spirited personality, which was every bit as impressive as the music she was releasing to the world."

"From then on we listened and enjoyed each subsequent release, recognising that KT was really rather special as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and live performer. And if I had a pound for every time I have listened to her singing Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue" as she did on Later - with Jools Holland, I would probably be able to afford one of those great looking period houses that give so much character to this town that sits on the edge of the Black Forest."

"It was in fact not until last year, while at yet another award show this time in Glasgow, that we once again met up with KT. And within a heartbeat, from listening to her soundcheck only, we knew instictively that she would be perfect to feature on the version of Promised You A Miracle that we had planned for our acoustic album."The rest is now Simple Minds history. It was absolutely rewarding to spend the day with KT in our London studio, but it is truly an honour to have an artist with her talent out touring with us throughout our European dates - as our special guest."

"The emphasis being on "special" is genuinely merited this time. So get there early and take the opportunity to see and listen to KT. We know that you will be as impressed as we are." - Jim, 17th April 2017

Updates to the discography:

Here's some exta information and pictures from the band's second Zermatt Unplugged concert. This was the first to feature the new acoustic live-up (and the chandelier... although it appears to be a different Chandelier to the one they had at Hackney - perhaps Elton's bathroom had more than one?)

Zermatt Unplugged, Kaufleuten, Zurich, Switzerland
29th October, 2016
Main Set: The American / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / See The Lights / Chat / Glittering Prize / Stand By Love / Waterfront / Andy Warhol / Chelsea Girl / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Chat / Dancing Barefoot / Speed Your Love To Me / Promised You A Miracle / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Alive And Kicking / Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

This was the band's second special acoustic show.

"Rehearsals are finished. We now look forward to Saturday night when we will get to perform for the first time many of these new acoustic arrangements that feature on the soon to be released Acoustic album. After Zurich we have a few days off (the last for this year) and I have been thinking about trying to get back to Scotland asap as it will be my last chance this year to get some hiking/hillwalking done. Then the thought occurred to me. "Don't they have a few hills/ mountains in Switzerland? Is that not what the country is famous for after all?" Anyway, we will see what pans out. In the meantime just the other day someone asked if there is particular music I like to listen to while hiking? No, is the answer. I like to listen to the sounds of the landscape. However quite often certain songs come into my head. The Silencers' version of Wild Mountain Thyme is one of them. - Jim, 29th October 2016.

"Featuring a new acoustic band line up. Playing songs from throughout our career, plus at least a couple that we have never played live previously. That is quite a few "firsts" right there. See you tonight!" - Jim, 29th October 2016.

"Thanks to all for the reception in Zurich last night. We appreciate all the support that we are getting for the acoustic shows. It is obviously a new format for Simple Minds - and one that we intend to master - in our own sweet way. We really enjoyed ourselves last night. We learned some things. And it looked like we made a lot of people happy. What can be better that that? All that is left to say is thanks to the Zermatt Unplugged team. After all it was their invite to Simple Minds, back at the start of the year, that subsequently led to this new acoustic album from Simple Minds - soon to be released. They were the catalyst.. so thanks to all of them!" - Jim, 30th October 2016

Many thanks to Lionello for the pictures.

A Day On The Green, Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley, Australia
4th February, 2017
With: The B-52s
Main Set: Waterfront / Love Song / Blindfolded / Book Of Brilliant Things / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Hunter And The Hunted / Real Life / Once Upon A Time - All The Things She Said / See The Lights / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

"Great memories from last time, beautiful countryside and a red hot gig. We will be looking to make it even better this time. Thanks to all who are coming to listen to our big music. See you later tonight... after the wonderful B-52's." - Jim, 3rd Feb 2017.

"A lot of of energy came our way from the audience in Yarra Valley. We enjoyed it very much last time - 5 years ago. But tonight we "felt it" so much more. Beautiful evening, among some pretty countryside. It feels great to be touring in Australia - an energising experience. Thanks to all for coming to see the show, we appreciate it. Next up, heading towards Adelaide, expect us to give 100%." - Jim, 4th February 2017.

Many thanks to Otto for the set-list.

Updates to the discography:

The Acoustic International Promo also includes a slightly different press release. It's printed across the inside of the gatefold of the release itself, which is a very nice touch, and much more presentable than a sticker or insert.


Simple Minds have taken their time in coming up with first acoustic album. But given that they made their biggest commercial impact with towering singles like Promised You A Miracle and Don't You (Forget About Me), that's not surprising. The band became the standard bearers for a new kind of rock music in the Eighties when they added big chorus and widescreen atmospherics to the art-rock invention of the post-punk era. So, even in the 'unplugged' upswing that followed, when practically every major rock band stripped down their songs and played then acoustically, Simple Minds shied away.

But now, on Simple Minds Acoustic, they have found a way of doing the acoustic thing without losing their essence, and a dozen Simple Minds songs loved by millions now sound softer, more organic and even more likely to leave a lasting imprint. The synths are no more - but the Celtic soul remains.

The fact that the album sessions entailed a sentimental return ot their Glasgow roots for Jim and guitarist Charlie Burchill helped, with some songs recorded in Gorbals Studio, a former railway workers' social club located a stone's throw from the high-rise estates of the city's South Side where the pair took their first musical steps. It was in this building that Jim and Charlie played their first gig, as teenagers in a school glam-rock band, and emotions were understandably high on their return. "The memories came flooding back the moment we were in," says Jim. "Our parents used to drink there. An old school friend turned it into a recording studio, but he kept the original room with its little stage."

With so much music to choose from, picking a running order wasn't easy. But there were still some numbers that had to feature. A quartet of songs from 1982's New Gold Dream album, all still performed live, were among them. For Promised You A Miracle, the band are joined by fellow Scot K T Tunstall, whose distinctive vocals, acoustic strumming and rolling bass groove transform a piece of music that was the band's first 'pure pop song' when it arrived in 1982. "KT was great," says Jim of their duet. "We sent her an outline of the song based on an arrangement I'd done with Martha Wainwright, but KT turned it on its head. She really set about it!" With regular backing singer Sarah Brown soulfully to the fore, there is also a powerful feminine presence on Glittering Prize, another New Gold Dream song. "The female musicians are very prominent," continues Jim. "Sarah's singing is beautiful, and Cherisse's percussion is important too." The two remaining New Gold Dream tracks, Someone Somewhere In Summertime and the title track, add deeper, darker textures while retaining the panoramic ambience of old.

Simple Minds Acoustic goes back further, too, with Charlie adding Spanish guitar to Chelsea Girl (from 1979 debut album Life In A Day). He also supplies acoustic lines with the feel of Led Zeppelin III on The American, the swaggering song that was the band's first single for Virgin in 1981. There are later highlights, too, with 1984's Waterfront joined by two songs from 1985's Once Upon A Time - Alive And Kicking and a soulful take on Sanctify Yourself. From the following decade, 1991's See The Lights shows just what can be done when an acoustic guitar is treated with special effects.

The album concludes with Don't You (Forget About Me), the enduring Breakfast Club closing song that gave Simple Minds a number one single in America, plus a yearning cover of Richard Hawley's Long Black Train. Jim Kerr discovered the wonderfully moving lament, from the Sheffield singer-songwriter's 2001 album Late Night Final, when it cropped up on an Alan Yentob BBC documentary about Man Brooker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, whose brutal novel The Narrow Road To The Deep North chronicled the experiences of Allied POWs working on the Thailand-Burma railway in WWII. "Long Black Train came on at the end of the documentary and I could feel the tears welling up," says Jim. "The song is a reflective ballad about the passing of time, and it meant a lot to Charlie and I, as we've both lost close family members in recent years. We love doing covers, so it was good to come up with a great song that is relatively unknown. There is a touch of Lou Reed's Perfect Day about it, and it's a nice bonus to finish the album."

As a group who formed in the punk era and found their mojo through a shared love of Bowie, Kraftwerk and electronic dance, Simple Minds are not natural acoustic adventurers, but they have done a remarkable job here, adding fresh nuance to brilliant songs without trampling on sacred memories. "Our songs mean a lot to people, so we had to be careful," says Jim. "It wasn't a case of just knocking up some acoustic riffs. We had to show respect to the songs and retain everything that made them good in the first place."

Acoustic International Promo CD

It's a nice coincidence that With Simple Minds currently touring Australia, details of a previously unknown Australian concert has just turned up.

Civic Hotel, Canberra, Australia
December 6th, 1981
Support: Tablewaiters

Many thanks to Tony for the flyer.

A Day On The Green, Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley, Australia
11th February, 2017
With: The B-52s
Main Set: Waterfront / Love Song / Blindfolded / Book Of Brilliant Things / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Hunter And The Hunted / Real Life / Once Upon A Time - All The Things She Said / See The Lights / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Sanctify Yourself
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

"'Heat records smashed as Sydney temperatures hit 47°C, desperate residents flock to the beach and firefighters battling 53 blazes across New South Wales raise bushfire warnings to CATASTROPHIC level' scream the local headlines! And all true enough and with record breaking temperatures all round, that means it was considered dangerous enough for the authorities to cancel major outdoor sporting events etc. Nevertheless the show at Hunter Valley goes ahead, and with plenty of people there waiting for the B-52's and Simple Minds, of course it is relevant to ask how we will cope performing in that condition? Well, two things are going through my mind. Firstly, I am glad that the show is going ahead and disappointment is avoided. Anyway, can you imagine us going home and telling people that we had to cancel playing a gig to thousands of people - because... er... "It was too sunny outside." Jeez... that would be a first! The other thing I am thinking is that we will cope with it, because we always cope, no matter? After all, as dramatic and serious as some of the warnings have been. Let's remember that we are going on stage to play music for an hour and a half. And it is not like we are doing eight hour shifts, day in day out, year in and year out, at the furnace of a steel mill. Like so many from the communities around us did when we were growing up in Scotland. Now those people could really tell you about HEAT. Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of hours. Thanks so much for coming and enduring! Huge thanks also to our crew and all associated with the event, it cannot have been fun spending an entire day out there at the site. Well done all of you!" - Jim, 11th February 2017

"We loved every minute. Great venue, beautiful moonlight, and an audience of brave souls putting up with today's heatwave etc. Thanks to all of you for listening to our music - and making us feel so good. An Apology: When I was larking about I said a couple of things - off the cuff - using one or two expletives. I then noticed a few young kids in the audience. I feel bad about that. Really sorry. Classier behaviour in future." - Jim, 11th February 2017

Many thanks to Otto for the set-list.

Belfast Child

I know theyíre Scottish, but the song that kept playing in my head in Ireland was Simple Minds' Belfast Child.

Thereís this place in the city called the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Kinda like that song by Roxy Music? I donít think so, but you should check that one out, itís the best song on 1980ís Flesh And Blood, after the band decided to reunite, if you were never infected by Bryan Ferryís voice, youíll get it after listening to this.

How can we drive to a movie show
When the music is here in my car
Thereís a band playing on the radio
With a rhythm of rhyming guitars

Thatís what it used to be like, sitting, parked, you and your honey, listening to the radio, revealing your truth as a prelude to physical interaction.

And, be sure to listen to the end, for Phil Manzaneraís subtle guitar solo. Oh Yeah is understated, yet majestic, from back when music was supposed to touch your soul as opposed to assault you.

Anyway, the Oh Yeah in Belfast was started by a bunch of locals, including Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, at the end of the last decade, as a place for acts to get started, and thereís rehearsal space and offices and a mastering studio and a club and in the antechamber, painted on the walls, is a timeline of all the Belfast hits, some known and some unknown, at least to me, but if there was a denizen of Belfast involved the track is up there.

And Iíd forgotten that Henry McCullough was from Belfast, but what stunned me was the endless number of hits by native son Gary Moore. Most Americans know him from his work in Thin Lizzy.

And Still Got The Blues from his 1990 Virgin album of the same name. Do you know it? Phil Quartararo made it a hit when he took over the newly resuscitated Charisma in the U.S. Amazing what one person on a mission can do.

And then Mr. Moore was promptly forgotten over here, but when he succumbed to a heart attack induced by a night of drinking six years ago it was Still Got The Blues that played in my head, remember when guitarists were all infected by the Delta roots and returned there, back when guitars still mattered?

And U2 wasnít from Belfast, and neither were the Simple Minds, but it was their songs that were playing in my brain so...

I pulled them up on Spotify.

And thatís when I found Simple Mindsí Acoustic album.

Actually, to be honest, which writers rarely are, because oftentimes the truth is messy and it doesnít square with the story, I discovered the album a couple of months back but I did not give it as good a listen as I did last night in my hotel room in Belfast when it suddenly resonated, took me away, I couldnít turn it off, I was afraid of breaking the mood.

And to tell you the truth, Belfast Child is not on it. The song I played first was Sanctify Yourself.

Is this the age of thunder and rage?

MOST DEFINITELY! Even though the original was cut back in í86, but like it says youíve got to open your eyes (and your ears!) and if I didnít tell you this was an acoustic recording you wouldnít know, itís nearly electrified, and itís not slowed-down and sotto voce searching for meaning, itís got just about the same energy as the original.

And I knew it way back then, but I got hooked when Virgin put out a double CD package The Best of Simple Minds, in 2001, I played it again and again for days, one of the cuts that resonated so much was Sanctify Yourself.

And Waterfront. Which is on Acoustic too. But it starts out more mellow, although it does build, but the original incarnation is a TEAR! It starts out with a bass bleating which sounds more like a Kraftwerk record than something organic but then the whole thing explodes, like fireworks at Disneyland, or an SSRI in your brain not long after youíve taken it, and that bass continues to beat and Jim Kerr rides the track like a jockey, imploring the band to victory, it sounds nothing quite like anything else, it enraptures you, COME IN, COME OUT OF THE RAIN!!

Something they had to do yesterday in Southern California.

But my favorite track from that two CD compilation is Let There Be Love.

I missed it the first time around, even though I bought New Gold Dream back in í82, on gold vinyl no less, I didnít buy another LP thereafter, this was back when I was paying for music, before I started getting it for free, but someone sent me this Iva Davies CD and his cover of Let There Be Love resonates and itís not on Spotify and you can hear it on YouTube here:

and I love it, but as magnificent as it is, itís still shy of the original. Which is not quite as good as the less in-your-face positively stellar extended mix where you can luxuriate in the sound, bask in the orchestral greatness filling up not only your head but the entire damn space.

Now where was I?

No, thatís a joke, I know exactly where I am, making a parallel to Gary Moore, you see Simple Minds keep making music but without a champion in the States no oneís aware of it. Itís like Acoustic never came out, and if youíre a fan you want to hear it, I found Glittering Prize fascinating, the same song yet different from the original.

And at this point Jim Kerr is famous for marrying Chrissie Hynde and recording Donít You Forget About Me, the hit from The Breakfast Club which made the band a household name, however briefly, and pissed Jim and the rest off, thatís right, letís not forget Charlie Burchill, who architected the sound, funny how these guys spearhead one band and never cross-pollinate, youíd think so many people would want to work with him and get some of that magic and...

I became a dyed-in-the-wool Simple Minds addict with 1995ís Good News From The Next World, an aural assault from back in í95 it was the last release in America for so long, the last one to make a dent, but it starts off on a tear and stays there, but the track youíve positively got to hear, that encapsulates the genius of this LP, has all the magic, is 7 Deadly Sins, not that I expect you to check it out, either youíre young and listening to hip-hop or old and need no more new music, but back then, when music was still scarce, weíd go to somebodyís house and theyíd play a track for us that we couldnít get out of our head and then weíd have to end up owning it ourselves. 7 Deadly Sins jerks you by the wrist and pulls you away, it squeezes out everyday life and when you crank it up you think music is the greatest thing in the world and with it riding shotgun you can win, even if the game is rigged, because you know itís simply about how you feel and listening to it you feel GREAT!

But this all started with Belfast Child.

It went to number one in the U.K. back in í89, itís meaningless over here, but one listen will tell you otherwise.

Itís based upon the old Irish folk song She Moved Through The Fair, but itís got Kerrís lyrics and that Simple Minds melding of majesty and melody, this is music thatís subtle yet can change the world, Oh Yeah is intimate, playing to you and me, Belfast Child is playing to everybody!

And the song starts off a cappella, all quiet. And then the strings add support and gravitas but the sound that grabs you is the penny whistle, like on a Paul Brady record.

And if you think this is a wimpy number that belongs to the sands of time just wait until the drum starts to pound and the guitar starts to wail and the song starts to march through the streets and you cannot help but fall in behind.

Come back Billy, wonít you come on home
Come back Mary, youíve been away so long

There was a brain drain, the Troubles sent the youth away, there was no opportunity, but with the ceasefire the emigrant sons and daughters began to return.

The streets are no longer empty, and life goes on.

And I wonít say that you can attribute this to music, but we all need strength to put one foot in front of another, get up every day and keep on keepiní on, and thereís no fuel like music.

One day weíll return here
When the Belfast Child sings again

Heís singing, I heard him, I canít wait to return.

Bob Lefsetz
The Leftsetz Letter
19th February 2017

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