ONE thing I will always think of when Simple Minds are mentioned is that they were the band to follow Queen at Live Aid. They did it, and they held their own.

Thirty-eight years later, they were back home in Glasgow on Friday and Saturday to finish the UK leg of their Global Tour before heading off to Europe.

The support for this tour is another Scottish gem, Del Amitri. The appearance is somewhat bittersweet due to front man Justin Currie’s recent Parkinson’s diagnosis. which he says “will stop him”.

The National:

It’s exhilarating to see them on a huge homecoming stage, but being reminded that these opportunities won’t last forever stings.

It’s easy to put the sadness at the back of our minds, however, as Justin beams across the stage while they launch into Always the Last to Know.

It’s clear that a lot of the crowd already in the sellout arena were here for Del Amitri as much as our headliner. Justin’s voice is soft and warm while the chemistry between the band members was a joy to watch.

The National:

Perhaps absurdly, there’s no "Roll to Me" in the set which would have been a solid fan favourite.

Maybe it’s not a band favourite – and with support slots you always have to do a bit of culling of tracks – but it was missed by us in the stalls. Finishing with Nothing Ever Happens almost makes up for it, although it ends the set on a more melancholy note than Roll to Me would have.

The National:

Simple Minds take the stage

Simple Minds return to the home stage with a hero’s welcome.

The Hydro is all seated tonight, but it needn’t be ... they go unused.

Opening with Waterfront gives guitarist and only other original member, Charlie Burchill a chance to showcase some expert note wrangling. The sustained harmonics and soaring lead guitar fill the Hydro easily, while Jim Kerr’s vocals are as powerful as they were forty years ago.

The National:

There’s a fair bit of dad dancing going on by our frontman, but we can give him a free pass in return for the moment he drops to his knees and folds his body all the way back to the floor before effortlessly rising up again.

The sound at this show really sits in layers. We have the airy guitars on top – sitting up in the rafters, the vocals coming right down the middle at us, and driving bass working its way through the crowd from the feet up. The mix coming from this stage washes over you rather than bogs you down and that’s something really refreshing.

The National:

The stage glows with visuals on massive screens, but they’re so aligned with the music that you almost forget they’re there. The lights lift the performance to another level – most notably in ‘Belfast Child’ where dreamy white lights move through a haze, somehow filling the gap left by the lack of instruments.

It would be a complete injustice to not mention the heroic efforts of both Sarah Brown and Cherisse Osei tonight.

Sarah has the unenviable task of providing backing vocals and she does so without breaking a sweat. She makes matching – and occasionally overtaking – one of the greats seem effortless and it’s a pleasure to witness. It makes absolute sense that she gets her own numbers to perform tonight.

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Cherisse has been on drumkit duties since 2017 and proves why she’s sticking around. Tight drumming with an infectious grin across her face; her solo which follows ‘New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)’ channels Bonham and Mullen Jr beautifully with her own accents and twists. The show simply would not be as good without this pair on stage.

The National:

The moment that most of us were waiting on - ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me) - comes with the crowd’s best participation of the night. The “hey hey hey”s and “ohhhhhhs” could have gone on for hours and no one would have minded. A great bit of clapping and “la la la”s in the bridge strings us along for who knows how long while Jim quips encouragement before an outstanding crescendo.

Perhaps this should have been the song to finish on, as anything else is a come down. ‘Sanctify Yourself’ is a good second choice if I couldn’t have the singalong, but I’d love to have left the Hydro tonight with the ear worm living happily inside my head.

Friday’s show left me wishing I could go back for the second night.