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Echoes Of Greatness
on 10 August 2009
Bruce Lampcov's turbo-charged, echoing production on this album makes it sound like it's been recorded in the batcave - and an empty one at that. Don't worry, that's no bad thing Reverb pedal turned up to eleven, Simple Minds let rip in the only way they know how - bombastically, passionately and beautifully.
Recorded at their commercial peak toward the end of the eighties, it's not the standards of their most recent work at the time, Once Upon A Time, that resonate here, it's the complete live reworking of some of the songs from their previous two albums, New Gold Dream and Sparkle In The Rain that make the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention.
Big Sleep is slowed to allow a vocal performance from Jim Kerr that is at once authorative, yet vulnerable - the heartbreaking keyboard coda playing over the song like the you're actually receiving your last rites but don't mind. Someone, Somewhere In Summertime is beefed up from the album version but retains its ethereal essence. Book Of Brilliant Things becomes the hands-in-the-air celebration rock-out it was surely written as, and, its sister song: East At Easter, stripped down from the trappings of the band becomes Kerr's heart-wrenching solo performance on the album.
You could nit-pick that no album before New Gold Dream was represented here, save a snippet of Love Song from the outro medely, but that would be getting away from the point. This album represents one of the most soulful UK bands of all time strutting their stuff at the peak of their powers. Bono once said that he wanted to be in Simple Minds - he knew the debt he owed them. The inclusion of Sun City dates the piece somewhat and the Dance To The Music band introduction is a bit toe-curling, but hey, this was the eighties after all. Saying that, the reason i give this a maximum 5-stars is the pay-off at the end: The version of New Gold Dream is as sublime and moving a song, live or otherwise, that you will ever hear.
Ok, the albums been doctored a bit in post-production but every song on here is superior to the album version and must be owned. I own one live album - this one.