Simply Red are bringing their ‘Stars’ 25th Anniversary tour to Newcastle 22nd November. Mick Hucknall answers a few questions before the tour kicks off.
What are your thoughts on Stars being 25 years old? For an album to have that kind of longevity you obviously did something right in the studio back then?
‘After the success of ‘A New Flame’ I set myself the challenge of composing a whole album of original songs. I could never have imagined that Stars would have the impact it did. It’s always about the music. I have this abiding faith in the music and that will shine through when I’m dead and gone. I don’t really care about the contemporary side of it because I’m always trying to make music that will last a long time.’
How has it felt to be back on the road, not just here in the UK, but also around the world?
‘We finished the last leg of the tour at the Olympic Stadium in Munich the other night and the band were all saying how fresh the whole thing felt , especially after over 100 shows in the past year around the world . It’s been great seeing so many smiling faces in the crowd. We’ve also noticed on this tour a lot more younger people coming to the shows . I guess some people are discovering our music for the first time on Spotify and Youtube.’
Do you adapt your live experience for the different cities, towns or countries you visit?
‘For us, it’s more about putting on the best show we can – come rain or shine, indoors or outdoors but it’s a great change of scenery to be playing all over the world. We’ve played some unusual venues this year around Europe. Racecourses, forests and a few castles, it will make for an nice change to not worry about the weather with this upcoming arena tour. November isn’t ideal for anything outdoors!
I’m really lucky to have an amazing band, we’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to putting on the best show possible. We constantly push each other to perform at our best, to go above and beyond for the audience because at the end of the day, if the audience isn’t enjoying the show then we’re not doing our job properly!’
Any rituals before stage time?
‘It used to be one of our tour rituals to play cricket in the downtime before a show and for a while, I had some cricket nets in my back garden. Now days I mostly play it on the PS4 at home but I still love going to see the matches at Lords Cricket Ground when I have a chance.’
This tour is specifically to celebrate 25 years since the release of Stars and that tracklisting will be the second half of the show, what about the first half?
‘Rather than just play the same songs we’ve been playing for the last year , we are going to introduce a few songs that we have’t played for a while, a few fan favourites .There’ll be plenty of big Simply Red hits in the first half but maybe not the most obvious ones!’
You are a settled family man now, will you be bringing them out on the road?
‘Touring is effectively me going back to work, so while I’m sure they’ll be coming out to see a few shows, I think it may get a little boring for them at this point! Plus, we have to work around school term for my daughter so that limits the amount she can visit while I’m away. Luckily, we won’t be too far from home this time so I’ll be able to pop back and see her more often than say, if I were back in Australia.’