Simply Red an English soul and pop band that have sold more than 50 million albums were the main act to grace to stage at the SSE Arena. With 30 Years of experience it was apparent that we were in for a treat.
With a packed crowd supporting act Natalie Imbruglia warmed up the crowd by playing hits from her new album Male including a cover by The Drifters and “Friday In Love” where Imbruglia and the crowd sang in unison . The former Neighbours actress sung new material as well as reminding us of old classics, such as “Shiver”, “Torn” and ending her set with “Big Mistake”.
Beginning the set with “Holding Back the Years” from their 1985 debut album, Mick Hucknall head of the band on acoustic guitar, announced that this tour was marking their 30th anniversary with a world tour. A slight distraction due to a heckler who called out to Hucknall, was booed by the crowd as he walked away from the stage after being told by Hucknall: “People have paid good money to listen to us not you.” However, this did not dampen the spirits of the crowd or band.
A video on the gigantic screens showed the history of Simply Red and as you can imagine fuelled the love this crowd had for the Simply Red. Hucknall, thanked the crowd for the welcome and said “It’s great to be back here in Belfast … celebrating 30 years of Simply Red.”
“Enough” written by Hucknall, and the late Joe Sample founding member of the Jazz Crusaders was absolutely amazing live. The tone of the saxophone solo was indescribable. Nothing can compare to having the opportunity to hear this live. The chilled atmosphere of the crowd was immensely apparent for the appreciation of the talent and quality of this sound.
“Say you love me” took a carnival twist on the original which really got the crowd up dancing. Entertaining us with not only his music but with stories of how songs became about to be written, Simply Red’s velvet tones of “Never Never Love” was embraced by the crowd.
Singing “The Right Thing” and “Stars” started to fuel the party atmosphere and as “Fairground” echoed around the arena, not one person was sitting down. The electric atmosphere filled every member of the crowd. This resulted in the aisles being filled with spontaneous enthusiastic dancers of all ages, shapes and sizes enjoying the music.
Thanks to a screaming, foot thumbing crowd, Hucknall came back for an encore saying: “Let’s go back to 1985”, preparing us for a trip down memory line by singing their Valentine Brothers cover, “Money’s too Tight to Mention”
Hucknall then thanked the crowd for a wonderful evening, the band finished off their set with “Something Got Me Started” and their classic hit “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”.