Simple Minds: Live In the City of Angels

Few moments in cinema are as iconic and as deeply rooted in popular culture as the closing scene in The Breakfast Club: the group of five teenagers parts ways after a Saturday spent in detention, John Bender walking across a football field, fist raised in celebration, as Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” plays to the credits. Part of that success can be attributed to the genius of John Hughes’s coming of age filmmaking and knack for putting together a great soundtrack, but the heavy lifting comes from Simple Minds themselves. “Don’t You Forget About Me” appears in the opening and closing credits, almost presenting the thesis and tone of the film and does it so well, that the formula for a teen film almost requires the track, most notably in Easy A and Pitch Perfect in recent years. In many ways, “Don’t You Forget About Me” is an 80s anthem, not unlike Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is for the 90s. Both songs are generation-defining and deliver nostalgia for teenage youthfulness. Simple Minds rides that nostalgia wave from start to finish in their most recent release.

Lighting doesn’t often strike twice, but for seasoned New Wave vets that have been rocking longer than many current Top-40 artists been alive, Simple Minds makes it look and sound easy. Live In The City of Angels pays tribute to not only a career-spanning catalog featuring more than just their radio songs and best of hits, but also pays tribute to their fans. Audience participation is front and center with cheers and encouragement from the band to sing along to every word and features several instances of the band stepping away from the microphone to highlight the passion of their fans several times over the course of the track listing. Even the album’s title Live In The City of Angels is a throwback to their 1987 live album Live in the City of Light with the parallelism of titles- the City of Light being Paris and the City of Angels being Los Angeles, where each live album was recorded.

For many, Live In the City of Angels will fly under the radar of recent releases. For long time fans, it’s a worthwhile listen and time capsule for such a prolific career with a 21st Century revisit. At almost three and a half hours long, the album pairs best with a passive listen or curation of personal favorites opposed to one marathon listening session. Top tracks worth a listen include: “Don’t You Forget About Me,” “Alive and Kicking”, “Glittering Prize”, and “Theme for Great Cities”. For any cover enthusiast, “Let the Day Begin” a cover of fellow 80’s band The Call, is also notable.

Over the course of three and a half hours, Live In the City of Angels covers a forty year career in forty songs. “Live In The City of Angels” best serves fans who knows Simple Minds beyond their radio songs, but at the end of the day, there are certainly worse ways to spend three and a half hours- like waiting at the DMV or watching the Super Bowl.

Rating: 7.5/10

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