The Power of Music

© Phoenix Media Mallorca

SIMPLY RED: Concert in Palma, August 20, 2016.

THIS summer I have photographed a lot of concerts: mostly DJs, and a few bands. It’s been fun and exciting sometimes to be up close with musicians in the midst of their performance. The atmosphere at a gig is always fundamental to its success, sometimes the energy has been generated by the band, sometimes by the audience, but whichever source it originates from inspires the rest of the night. Even so I wasn’t prepared for how I was going to feel at the Simply Red concert last Saturday. 

The eagerly awaited Simply Red tour finally came to town at the weekend and 5,500 fans were there at the Bullring to meet them on a perfect balmy summer evening.  I was there to photograph the event. As I waited for it to begin I bumped into many familiar faces, so many in fact it felt a bit like a British expat convention. Up in the circle (where if you were clever you’d remembered to bring your own cushion), I could see and hear many, many Mallorcan locals. Then I scrambled up to VIP right at the top and blagged my way in for a quick look about at the clever arrangement with private boxes overlooking the whole auditorium which was stunning, and then made my way back down to where the action was always going to be: in front of the stage. 

Mick and the band kicked off at 10pm with a rapturous reception from the audience. The next hour and a half flew past as they performed hit after hit to an increasingly vocal and passionate crowd. Mick spoke in English and tried out some Spanish, joking that he was feeling ‘frio’ dressed in leather trousers and a long sleeved shirt. After three encores the final finale of the show was the performance of one of their most iconic and best loved songs, and my favourite which I know word for word and sing in the shower, the car, or wherever the mood takes me, ‘If you don’t know me by now.’ It’s a cover of a song first released in the early 70’s by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes which took Simply Red to the Number One spot in 1989, back when I was considerably younger and just starting out on my adult life. Mick took out his earphones and invited the audience to sing the chorus for him, and boy did we all with gusto. 

I stood still and let the atmosphere wash over me: the communal love for this man’s music, his energetic and generous performance and our reciprocated love and joy. Just for a couple of minutes I was 18 again, being swept away by the emotions in the song and the night, and with that, out of nowhere, I burst into hot, salty, sobbing tears, as did much of the audience. What a perfect summer night in Mallorca. More please. 

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