LEIPZIG 2005 REVIEWS
www.musik.terrorverlag.de May 2005
From a favorable start position after the Erotik-show, it was easy to arrive at the front of the stage, since an entire row of blokes had cleared off. It was certainly a somewhat different style, as the average age of present Sheffield’sters on stage was so much higher than the previous performers. The design of the Agra Hall makes it bad as a stage event, especially from a distance, as the sound only comes rationally over only in the first 10 rows. Consequently it was must for me a to arrive in "enjoyment range". The efforts were worthwhile: To the sounds of "Seconds" of the ‘82 success album "Dare!" (And simultaneously the B-side of Don’t You Want Me" -Single) a, in the beginning, somewhat sceptically, concentrated looking, sunglass wearing Philip Oakey entered the stage. Then followed the ’84 hit "The Lebanon" (including the well known guitarline) and his two long serving backing vocalist Joanne Catherall and Susanne Gayle (former Sulley) entered the stage - classic line up: Susanne (the blond) to his left, Joanne (the black haired) to his right. In addition a unite of younger musicians were accompanying the keys in the background.
Somewhat oddly Philip walks stiffly from side to side of the stage, as if to give the show some movement and get a view of the entire crowd. Even though it looks more like he’s walking with a stick up his back ;-) But the voice is still the same - like in the old days! No word stretching, no sound lying beside it, crystal-clear, everything cool! It should go unnoticed that Philip will celebrate his 50th birthday this year in October. So even more respect to him! At least Susanne was looser in the hips and her enviable figure was certainly well trimmed. Joanne had it somewhat more difficult, but overplayed so well that it worked. It became a trip back into the golden time of the '80er's and contained all what the heart desires: "Open Your Heart", "Mirror Man", "Empire State Human" (of the ‘78 Debut-album - cool!), "Human", "Heart Like A Wheel", "Sound Of The Crowd", "Love Action", " (Keep Feeling) Fascination", "Don't You Want Me", "Being Boiled" and as a last encore even (actually somewhat cheesy, but still great) “Together In Electric Dreams”, that Philip once composed together with Giorgio Moroder (my God, that must be why it was sooo terribly nostalgic!). The approx 75-minute gig was one almost without exception a compilation of hits: one was almost stirred to tears, as I for a few moments felt like 14 again!
There was also an entirely new song- delivered in the accustomed style so that it fitted best into the tracklist. Not even minor problems with Oakey’s microphone disturbed these experienced performers. Not when you have been active since 1978 and experienced the Punk-era, where such problems were order of the day. Right to the end Philip looked happy and relaxed by the response from the crowd to “Together In Elecdric Dreams” and had even time to shake hands with fans in the first row.
There couldn’t be a better ending to the 13th WGT-Treffen 2005 – a real highlight!
Loosely translated from German
May 2005 new
www.movinghands.net 2005 new
Andreas Wandegren and Towe Rundgren
WGT (as it'll now be referred to) consists of a variety of events taking place across the city in various venues. Given that there can be several events going on at once, and that there are a few miles separating the various locations, there is no way for one person to even get close to reviewing everything, even with free travel on the city's tram network included as part of the ticket price. I therefore decided to prioritize bands which I like but had never seen live. This meant a number of favourites got left by the wayside - including Girls Under Glass, Das Ich and Diary of Dreams, all of whom I'd pay to see in their own right, but sacrifices had to be made…
...One commitment still remained, however - get into a cab and zoom right across town to the Agra to watch The Human League. I can't be only one to express a degree of surprise that a band this retro appeared on the WGT billing, but unlike last nights disastrous Visage set (I wasn't there, but EVERYONE was telling me how bad they were), The Human League were really quite good. Very good, in fact. Screw this, they were completely and totally brilliant! Phil Oakey can still sing as well as he could all those years back, and Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall still looked like the pop stars they once were, getting into the gothic spirit of things with a couple of pretty black dresses.
Opening up with 'Seconds', the 'League took us on a journey right through their extensive history, occasionally paying tribute to their newer material (such as 'All I Ever Wanted'), but generally concentrating on their biggest hits, playing plenty of material from 'Dare'. The appearance of 'Human' and 'Heart Like A Wheel' reminded us that even their weaker creative phase produced a few decent songs, whilst 'Empire State Human' and 'Being Boiled' paid tribute to bands early years. There was one brief moment where Phil's mic failed, but it didn't dampen things a bit. By the time they got to 'Don't You Want Me', thousands of us were singing our lungs out, including me! They eventually finished on 'Together In Electric Dreams', mission very much accomplished. Someone out there was obviously aware that Goths like Synth-Pop.