Review + Photos: Del Amitri & Simple Minds, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 18, 2024

TUESDAY evening in Scarborough had a definite Scottish theme to it when Glaswegian bands Del Amitri and Simple Minds visited the Open Air Theatre.

The two bands have been touring together for a few months now and together provided a terrific evening's entertainment with Del Amitri playing a generous 45-minute support set before the headliners wheeled out their stadium filling anthems.

Led by bassist and vocalist Justin Currie and lead guitarist Iain Harvie, Del Amitri have an impressive back catalogue and soon got the crowd warmed up with songs like Always The Last To Know, Here and Now, Roll To Me and the haunting Driving With The Brakes On. Newer material like Missing Person and Lonely was not forgotten either before the set closed with an oldie, Nothing Ever Happens – still a radio station playlist regular to this day.

The summer evening saw headliners Simple Minds take the stage when it was still light and open their performance with the majestic Waterfront, a great decision which immediately inspired the crowd.

Singer Jim Kerr was his usual charismatic self, moving energetically around the stage dropping into knee-testing crouches, waving his mic in the air, or contorting his body into an endless assortment of rockstar poses.

While Waterfront led the way the set was full of crowd-pleasers with Once Upon A Time and Sons and Fascination making early appearances.

Speaking to the audience, Jim Kerr said "Our management said we are going to break new ground this year – 'we are going to Scarborough!' But myself and Charlie have been here before. We came here as children on family holidays. So, after all these years, we are back… so we better be good!"

The combination of euphoric songs with choruses built for singing along too and the passion with which they were both performed and greeted by the audience made this one of the best shows I've seen on the North Bay.

Childhood friends Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill are the only original members but there was no shortage of other talent on stage, including Cherisse Osei and singer Sarah Brown.

Osei was an eye-catching blur of sticks, smiles and boundless energy as she drove the band from her seat at the drum kit and vocalist Sarah Brown's contribution made it easy to see why she has performed with artists like Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd and Simply Red.

A magnificent section mid-set included Glittering Prize, Promised You a Miracle, Sanctify Yourself and New Gold Dream.

An emotional Belfast Child hushed the crowd before the band effortlessly picked them up again with Someone Somewhere in Summertime and an epic singalong to Don't You (Forget About Me) which had Kerr grinning from ear to ear and commenting "Some of you have been practising".

The encore began with Book of Brilliant Things with Sarah Brown on vocals, before the band closed the evening with an epic version of Alive and Kicking.

A band that has been around for as long as Simple Minds will, of course, have had their ups and – as they did in the '90s, downs – but right now Simple Minds are revitalised and deservedly back in the bigger venues where their music fits so well.