It was a great turn out, the hill was thick with revellers and even the rain and the bar stopping serving bottles of wine at 7.15pm couldn’t dampen the atmosphere. Simply Red were in the Valley and we were ready to party!
The band opened with an unfamiliar song but the 1989 hit, New Flame was up next up and got the A Day On The Green crowd on their feet.
This year Simply Red celebrate their 30th anniversary. And even if you’re not a fan, chances are over the past 30yrs, you listened to and loved a Simply Red song.
Mick Hucknell, though now showing his years, was as vibrant as ever as he strutted, grooved and belted out those well-acquainted tunes with ease. His voice, a testament to his years in the industry, was strong yet smooth and as a fellow fan pointed out, so polished it “was just like listening to a CD”.
Their ballads may have been slow on the uptake but they are the ones that have stood the test of time.
Never Never Love (the 3rd song of the set) was written in 1995 when the Seattle Sound, heroin and deep seated antiestablishment were all ‘happening’. Never Never Love was the antithesis of it all, and goes down a real treat tonight.
It was hit after hit with Thrill Me, For Your Babies, Something Got Me Started and Holding Back the Years which was written by Mick when he was just 17 years old, the second song he ever wrote.
When It’s Only Love came on there was nary a seated bum, but unfortunately that’s also when the Dance Police were on patrol – many were told to sit down or to only dance directly in front of their seats which of course meant blocking the view of those behind but by the time Fairground found its way to stage, there was no stopping the grooving crowds and the fuzz conceded defeat.
Hardly surprising considering the many layers of sound with guitars, percussion, sax, trumpet, chimes, piano and of course Big Red himself coming together in what this era of audience would term “real musicianship”.
Stars was definitely the highlight of the evening, seeing the lighting guys ramping up the show with their cascade of sunset colours and twinkling star-like lights.
After a brief faux finish, the band came back for their encore with more familiars like Money’s Too Tight To Mention and If you don’t know me by now.
All in all, Simply Red; simply awesome.
PHOTO: A Day On The Green Photographer – Tim Bradshaw