Waterfront [Single Version] (3:58)
It becomes immediately apparent that some money was spent on this one. Not only did the director shoot masses of moody black and white
'waterfront' images on the Clyde, he also shot masses of footage of a moody Simple Minds freezing
on the Renfrew Ferry, and then went on to shoot a multiple camera spectacular at Barrowland Ballroom where the band
flung open the doors and played a free gig for the lucky crowd.
Completely at odds when viewed against their early videos, the Waterfront video stands the test of time (albeit the sea of
mullets in the crowd) and gives a great indication of how the band looked and played live. Even the multiple-screen effects were sensibly kept to a minimum,
which was a welcome relief.
And here's some trivia: that's Mark Kerr walking across the empty floor at the start of the video. And the band ran through
the title track three times.
The rushes for this video still exists on several 16mm reels. They vary in length from 53:00, 58:00, 45:00 and 44:00 and all have the
date of 22nd November 1983. They are probably unedited footage from each camera.
The venue [Barrowland] was closed until Simple Minds shot the live performances for the
Waterfront video here, as part of a free gig for
fans, leading to its reopening. "Basically, the
Barrowlands has thrived ever since,” says
Kerr, with pride. "Anywhere we go, if we meet
the guys from the Foo Fighters or Iggy Pop,
they go, 'Aw man, the Barras, it’s fucking
fantastic.' It’s been synonymous with Simple Minds from 1983."
JK: To people growing up in Glasgow, even Scotland, Barras and Barrowlands are a mythical place. We heard about it from our mums and dads, and our
aunties and uncles, maybe even our grandparents. This is a place for people came to dance and sing and as every different new wave music came along, from the
big bands to the early rock and roll - Alex Harvey... The Rolling Stones played in Barrowlands too - Barrowlands was this mythical place.
JK: Glasgow at that time and this part of the city was, shall we say, rough around the edges. So you could say that Barrowland's reputation, and the
reputation around here, had a double edge to it. When we were growing up, the doors had closed. It seemed that time had moved on. But as Willie said, in 1983, in
November, we just put out what was then going to be our new single from the album Sparkle In The Rain, a track called
Waterfront. Which was written about Glasgow, and doing the clip, the video for it, the promoter said "How about if we can
get the doors open in Barrowlands again? And really you know, there's some talking about Barrowlands to open again as a venue, and you could be the first - if
this thing works you could be the first."
JK: So on a Sunday afternoon – I think we've gave out free tickets on radio - there were queues for miles, pandemonium.
We shot the video for Waterfront here and
we also played a few songs. It was was a roaring success, the video was shown around the world. Everyone wanted to
know about this place, Barrowlands. And within months, or within a year, ourselves, U2, Big Country, The Cure,
The Pogues... it goes on and on... The Smiths... and suddenly Barrowlands was becoming mythical.
Jim Kerr and Janice Long
The Long Walk
BBC Radio 2
12th July 2018
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