Simple MInds have announced six special shows in November to celebrate 30 years in music and say "thank you" to loyal fans. We spoke to singer Jim Kerr.

THERE'S something slightly ironic about a band famous for a song called Don't You (Forget About Me) celebrating 30 years as one of the UK's top live acts.

For Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr, the decision to play six special shows in November - including one in Manchester, for which tickets have just gone on sale - was not taken lightly.

"It did take some thought," he admitted. "I think in the end we came to the conclusion that it would be weird not to mark it in some way, if only to provide a marker and then move on.

"I think one of the key elements in our decision to do a limited number of anniversary shows was our fantastic fans who have travelled with us over the years. They have developed their own friendships and almost a life of their own built around the band, so it gives them a chance to celebrate it.

"For us it's a bit strange to use words like career, as this is what we've been doing all our adult lives.

"When we were growing up the only mature people in the music business were blues guitar players."

The show at Manchester Arena on Thursday, November 27, will see Simple Minds play their acclaimed album New Gold Dream in its entirety for the first time. The rest of the show will then include many songs from their best-selling albums, from Life In a Day through to 2005's Black & White, including the hits Waterfront, Alive and Kicking and Belfast Child.

"Putting a set list together has been challenging," said Jim. "What we've tried to do is give a sense of the journey that the band has been on. Obviously there are about 10 songs which will always have to be included into a show but that does give us scope for others which we can chop and change."

Live shows have always been a key part of Simple Minds appeal.

"When we were growing up in Glasgow we saw the likes of Bowie and Roxy Music, all the great live bands at the time, and that stuck with us," said Jim.

"An audience can see when a band is just going through the motions and not delivering and we never wanted that to happen to us.

"An audience doesn't care what sort of day you've had or whether you've been on the road for weeks. To them, that show is one they have been looking forward to for months and that's what lifts you.

"There are times when you're doing a soundcheck when it just doen't feel right, but the moment you get an audience there and you're in the moment, it all comes together."

Jim is determined that the six special shows will be the sum total of the 30th anniversary celebrations.

"It's a chance for us to refocus and to go on from," he said. "In the next few months we'll be getting together and working throuigh ideas which could develop into songs and we hope to have a new album out next year. This anniversary is really a point from which we can go on."

  • Simple Minds play Manchester Arena on Thursday, November 27. For tickets call 0870 190 8000 or 0161 832 1111.