NORWICH 2005 REVIEWS

 

Evening News December 2005

There was more than a hint of nostalgia about this show by a group who would probably once have recoiled at the very idea. Back in the early 80s, the Human League were among a new wave of post-punk electronic bands making futuristic sounds.

Twenty-five years on and they are offering pre-Christmas entertainment a crowd of mainly 30-somethings keen to get away sharpish to make sure the babysitter is OK.
Yet, to fair to the Sheffield trio, they have survived better than many of the period, and it's not all about their 80s heyday. They have continued to have hits throughout the 90s and as recently as 2001, when their Secrets album got rave reviews.
Part of their ability to avoid total 80s nostalgia comes because they manage to appeal to different crowds.
Several early experimental efforts get an airing, pleasing the electronic music fans, while Love Action and (Keep Feeling) Fascination bring a smile to the faces of those who only remember the hits.
It's impressive that they manage to make it all work so seamlessly, but singer Phil Oakey and ever-foxy sidekicks Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley look and sound just as good as they did at their electro-pop peak.
Clearly revelling in their continued success, they rush through numerous costume changes to put on a genuine show in front of an impressive, if strangely 80s, stage décor: all white sci-fi keyboards and drums, which back then would have been known as “futurism”.
And there is no problem filling two hours as they have one of pop's best back catalogues at their disposal. With Oakey making every inch of the stage count, they packed a surprisingly powerful electro-funk punch, before swooning into the number everyone was really waiting for, Don't You Want Me