Date / Venue: Saturday February 27th, 2016 - Vector Arena, Auckland
Last Saturday night found me being ushered arm in arm with one excited lady (my mum) to some great seats to catch Simply Red on their 'Big Love Tour', celebrating 30 years of the band at Vector Arena.
As a teenager in the mid 80's, Simply Red's songs have long been committed to my memory. True, I'm generally not geared to this type of pop all of the time but I am a big soul fan and I am a fan of Mick Hucknall, especially some of his obscure early punk days so I was very keen to check out this show.
The arena had been setup for 3/4 capacity which was just perfect, nice and snug, with a big stage to fit the large band. Looking around I was surprised at the amount of men in the audience and the crowd was predominately 35+ with everyone happy & excited for the show. Big loves.
Pretty much right on time the lights went down and the band came on stage to a warm applause soon to be joined by Simply Red's front man, the man with the voice, striding on stage with arms held high and waving generously. They all looked genuinely happy to be there... my mum speculated at this point " I hope he sings... the song; I just loooove his voice".
It was a fabulous show. Mick's voice is gorgeous, unique and still strong 30 years down the tracks. He looked great with his trademark red curly locks and leather pants; time has been pretty kind to him actually, I'd like to know his secret... I want some of that thanks. Mick Hucknall, Ian Kirkham, Steve Lewinson, Kenji Suzuki, Kevin Robinson, Dave Clayton and Roman Roth played a tight show, their comradery and enjoyment on stage is plain to see, something I appreciate.
Mick constantly connects with the audience, chats throughout the night but not too much. The hits flowed, the sound was spot on, the voice beautiful. During the first half hour of the show it was a little low key and a little samey for my taste. Mick paused to tell a story about a song he had written when he was 17 in a small room at his dads and launched into 'Holding Back The Years' and the crowd was suddenly on their feet. The concert really began and hit after hit was played, everyone knew the words and sang along loudly and were repeatedly invited to do so.
Far too quickly and a little unexpectedly Mick & band left the stage... Momma Bear gave me the raised eyebrow look as if to say..."AHHHH WHERE IS THE SONG????" I assured her it would be ok, house lights were out, clap louder he’ll be back and do it in the encore... a few people around me were loudly expressing this also.
Mick and band returned for a quick panoramic photo, a couple more songs and then left the stage again... Momma Bear gave me a sideways look, with a now HIGHLY exaggerated eyebrow and hands on hips this time. A slightly tipsy (ok a lot tipsy) woman started shaking her fist in the air whilst her hubby cowered away flushed and embarrassed, tugging at her skirt to sit down and be quiet. BEHOLD Mick & the boys came back on stage to huge foot stamping and applause and finally delivered the song everyone wanted 'If You Don’t Know Me By Now'.
So its an unreserved thumbs up from me, quite a big one. I think I might even go buy some more Simply Red, if you are undecided about going along to any of the shows, don’t be, just go. It was a night of glorious tunes, much talent and big love. Thanks Mick and Simply Red, I had a great time and so did momma bear.
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