Cremona’s main square is rather small by Italian piazza standards but what an amazing scene it is, with these wonderful medieval buildings including the ‘Torazzo’, the famous clock tower surrounding the square, and today it’s all at the disposal of Simple Minds as a pretty big stage has been set up at one end, with the 2018 AcqueDotto Festival getting under way on this hot summer’s night.

The vibe is buzzing amongst this fairly oldish crowd in the Piazza Del Comune tonight, hoping to test out all the 80’s dance moves or at least those still equipped to twist and groove their hips.

On the dot of 9.30pm the band come on stage and line up together, at the edge of the stage, to salute the crowd. Along with an on form Jim Kerr, looking very pleased with himself and his partner in crime, guitarist Charlie Burchill, the band has three girls playing on stage tonight adding, along with their talent, a certain glamour. They are Sarah Brown on vocals, Cherisse Osei the hard hitting drummer, and Catherine AD on keyboards and alongside Ged Grimes on bass and Gordy Goudie on guitar it’s a solid well worked band and they need to be as they have a long tour ahead.

Jim Kerr though is all smiles and thanks to a very commendable Italian, having spent many summers in Taormina, Sicily, wins over the crowd straight away. Wearing jeans, a red shirt and a black velvet jacket he is the supreme professional, ably using his voice, going to all parts of the stage and goading the fans, arms aloft and circling above his head. Charlie meanwhile concentrates on the guitar, or the guitars I should say as he changes one for every song even though the sound seems to be the same. Still it’s a great noise to my ears, clean and clear, sharp and polished, bringing most of the songs to life along with the classic Simple Minds wall of sound thanks to 80’s keyboards and thumping bass.

But what makes seeing Simple Minds a delight is the choruses of their classic songs which inevitably involve crowd participation. It’s a good set list with 4 tracks from the pinnacle album ‘Once Upon A Time’ and selected singles. New tracks from this year’s new album ‘Walk Between Worlds’, the title track, ‘Summer’, ‘The Signal and The Noise’ and the very splendid ‘Sense Of Discovery’ all fit in seamlessly to be honest as the 80’s sound dictates all the songs really.

Jim has a bit of a breather when Sarah takes the main mike in ‘Dolphins’ and ‘Let The Day Begin’ but then he returns, now dressed in a white denim jacket and black t-shirt to take the lead for ‘Don’t You Forget about Me’. Having spent many summers myself in Italy during the 1980’s, maybe with the exception of U2’s ‘ Pride(In The Name Of Love) , no other song was so consistently played on tv and radio. The whole place alights with crooners and even the tone deaf bellowing" lalalala".

After encores ‘See The Lights’, ‘Alive And Kicking’ and an excellent ‘Sanctify Yourself’ on the dot of 11pm, it’s time for thank you’s and farewells, the band and crowd delighted with the evening, fun and carefree.

Be good to yourself and go see Jim, Charlie and their Simple Minds this summer if you have the chance.