Simply Red | Doncaster Racecourse | 13 August 2016
Holding Back The Years...
Having been to two seaside concerts in Scarborough in the the last week tonight it was time to venture inland to Doncaster racecourse for the final concert of their summer Music Live! Race Day events. Wrapping up a successful series of events following earlier shows by Level 42, Will Young and Tom Jones were blue-eyed soul purveyors Simply Red. With worldwide album sales in excess of 60 million over a thirty plus year period, it was quite a coup to land the band who are at the tail end of their "Big Love" tour.
Although derided in some quarters, Simply Red actually provided the perfect soundscape for a warm summer night's party. Many of the crowd were suitably refreshed after an afternoon's carousing and betting on the races and an evening singing along to some light soul classics was just what they wanted to hear - even the guys sporting the curly orange wigs.
The band took to the stage shortly after the afternoon's final race a little after 6pm and opened with two songs from 1985's debut album "Picture Book", firstly "Look At You Now" followed by "Come To My Aid". The band were exceptional: the voice of Mick Hucknall - who, of course, IS Simply Red - remains as smooth and velvety as it did on that debut album and guitarist Kenji Suzuki was a star, offering up note perfect guitar riffs.
It proved to be an evening of sheer nostalgia as a succession of familiar songs tripped by from the band’s extensive back catalogue. The crowd lapped it up - singing, swaying on their feet or in their grandstand seats and waving their arms to the procession of hits including "A New Flame In Town", "Something Got Me Started", a cover of Gregory Isaac's classic "Night Nurse", and a lovely acoustic version of "Holding Back The Years" with Hucknall playing guitar.
With an extensive arena tour set for later this year celebrating twenty five years since the release of the "Stars" album, there seems no diminishing of Simply Red's popularity and tonight's performance demonstrated why as they provided a crowd pleasing set of familiar songs delivered with polished professionalism.
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