8th April 2017
Simple Minds & KT Tunstall
After reviewing the splendid acoustic album of the band I was very eager to experience these songs live. As the actual date in Essen was quickly sold out I was more than happy that we got the accreditation for the additional concert at the same venue.
The Scottish singer/songwriter started learning to play the piano with four years and later other instruments. She grew up as adopted child in a family with a father being a physics lecturer at university and a mother who was a primary school teacher. And although her family had no interest in music or owned any records they supported her wish to study music and drama in which she graduated with the Bachelor of Arts in Drama & Music in 1996 at the Royal Holloway, University of London. In the early years of her musical career she played in independent bands and focused on songwriting. She signed with the British Independent label Relentless and released her first album ‘Eye to the telescope’ in 2004. Her solo appearance at the British music TV show ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ with her Folk Blues song ‘Black horse and the cherry tree’ caught great attention as she was asked to perform there on short notice not leaving much time for preparing. Shortly after this appearance her album was re- released and shot up the British charts and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Her song was not only successful in the British but also in the US Billboard Hot 100 charts. Another single from the album ‘Suddenly I see’ was used in the opening credits of the film ‘The devil wears Prada’ as well as in ‘Ugly Betty’. With the in 2016 launched album ‘Kin’ she released 6 studio albums. She was nominated for several British and US awards and won some of them. KT TUNSTALL also worked with bands and musicians like TAVIS, SUZANNE VEGA, HOWE GELB and SIMPLE MINDS to mention only a few. Besides her live appearances at concerts and festivals she also performed at diverse American talk shows amongst them at ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’. In 2014 she moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue a soundtrack movie career besides working on her album. When her live band is not touring with her, she is a one- person band playing her acoustic guitar, tambourine and using a loop pedal. http://smarturl.it/KT_KIN / https://www.facebook.com/kttunstall
Music & Performance
Jim Kerr himself announced us KT TUNSTALL. On this evening she appeared as one-person band. With her winsome personality, her great vocal quality and some nice songs she convinced the audience quickly and received big applauses in return. In between the songs she addressed to the people and introduced us her loop pedal with the words “I have my band here. It is very cheap and they do exactly what I want”. Well, the wonders of modern technology. In former days a one-person band had a guitar in front, a rack for the harmonica on the guitar and the drums and cymbals fixed on the back. But of course when she played guitar she had no hands free to play the tambourine. So it was lying on the floor and she stepped with one foot on it. Although her attempt to invite the people to sing along to one of her songs didn’t work out so well, it didn’t harm the atmosphere of a solid opening act.
01. Invisible empire
02. Other side of the world
03. Hold on / Walk like an Egyptian (THE BANGLES)
04. It took me so long to get here, but here I am
05. Feel it all
06. Black horse and a cherry tree
07. Suddenly I see
Total: 8.3 / 10
With a musical career that spans more than three decades the Scottish band also understood to integrate diverse musical genres like Punk, Minimalism, Experimental, Industrial, Electronic, Trance and Rock but still be recognisable SIMPLE MINDS. As big DAVID BOWIE fans the band name was inspired by the song ‘Jean Genie’. With albums like ‘New gold dream (81 – 82 – 83 - 84)’, ‘Sparkle in the rain’ success set in but it was the song ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’ which was a film song for the teenage film ‘The Breakfast Club’ the band reached the N° 1 in the USA. Apart from the own concerts the band took also part in events like Live Aid and performed at the Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute Concert. In its changeable career SIMPLE MINDS was a stadium filling band for some years but also experienced times when it was not that commercially successful. Also the band paid its tribute to the pressure and stress with changing band members. From the original line up there is Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill left. As passionately musicians they managed to overcome the crisis and with a loyal fan base in the back the band now play at usually sold out shows. Not only are the guys busy releasing albums and thus have up to now seventeen studio albums, thirteen compilation/ best of albums, two live albums and 36 singles/ EPs on their list but they are also very busy in touring the world and still they apparently deeply enjoy doing so. http://www.simpleminds.com / https://www.facebook.com/simpleminds
Music & Performance
During the stage rebuilding I had the chance to have a good look at the audience which was mainly clearly not under 30. Apparently there were a lot of fans from the early days of the band. And having some people from the Netherlands sitting in front of me it was also quite obvious that some of them travelled far in order to see the band. As I had the great pleasure to review the latest album I was of course very curious how the acoustic show will be. The stage setting consisted of a platform with the drum set in the middle and on the left and right two seats each: on the left for Sarah Brown (backing vocals) and Charlie Burchill (acoustic guitar) and on the right Ged Grimes (acoustic guitar, upright bass) and Gordy Goudie (acoustic guitar, harmonica, melodica). And in front of the platform was the position for singer Jim Kerr of course. For the acoustic tour Charisse Osei played the drums as she did for the album recording. The show started with a drum solo as opener and then the other band members appeared on stage under a big applause. Right from the first tunes of ‘New gold dream‘ the audience was clapping and singing along and nothing kept the people in the pit on their seats while the people in the gallery preferred to stay on them. Not only is Charisse one of the cutest drummer I have seen but she is one of the rare drummers playing in the standing position.
Sarah Brown, breathtakingly beautiful as always convinced once again with her vocal qualities both as backing vocal singer and when she performed her interpretation of PATTI SMITH’s ‘Dancing barefoot‘ when Jim takes this time to change his shirt. Jim himself convinced also with good vocal qualities though he surely doesn’t sing the high notes like in his younger days. But this is a phenomenon that comes with age and at least he hasn’t lost the characteristic of his voice. Besides that he danced frolicsome and every now and then he shook the hands of the fans standing in front of stage. Every now and then he introduced one of the band members after a song. Apart from Sarah Browns solo performance, Gordy’s performance of DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Andy Warhol‘ was a special highlight of the show for me. A bit annoying in my eyes was one guy shouting his song wishes, especially as these were songs that didn’t belong to the acoustic album but Jim eventually indicated that this tour is on occasion of this album and not a kind of “Best of” concert. Anyway the fans enjoyed deeply the show and were in an exuberant mood and thus didn’t need an invitation to sing along, especially to songs like ‘Don’t you (forget about me)‘. Besides the sound of the venue was excellent and I don’t want to let the extraordinary light show unmentioned. When KT TUNSTALL performed there was only static light with some colour changing and I was afraid that it would look like the same during the SIMPLE MINDS show. That wouldn’t have been too unusual with the acoustic setting where every band member stays on his/ her position. But to my delight the light technician has designed a fantastic light show.
After the main set the band left the stage. However the audience shouted and clapped for an encore and so the band returned. Jim asked the fans if they want more. What a question! Of course we wanted more. And we got four more songs where KT TUNSTALL also returned on stage to perform two songs with the band. With 'Alive and kicking‘ the show ended and the band left for good and so a fantastic evening ended. And I visited the merchandise stand in order to buy the album so that I have finally the physical edition as well in my collection.
01. New gold dream (81-82-83-84)
02. See the lights
03. Glittering prize
04. Chelsea girl
05. Big sleep
06. Stand by love
07. Someone somewhere in summertime
09. Andy Warhol (DAVID BOWIE cover) sung by Gordon Goudie
10. Dancing barefoot (PATTI SMITH cover) sung by Sarah Brown
11. Speed your love to me
12. Don’t you (forget about me)
13. Sanctify yourself
14. Ghost dancing
15. Promised you a miracle (feat. KT TUNSTALL)
16. For what it’s worth (BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD cover) (feat. KT TUNSTALL)
17. Alive and kicking
Total: 10 / 10
More on KT TUNSTALL and SIMPLE MINDS
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)