Sheffield Telegraph December 2007

It's not too long ago that Phil Oakey and company would bemoan the response they got when they played in Sheffield. They even snubbed the city and played at the Dome in Doncaster instead on at least one occasion. That's all changed now.


When the band hit the stage this time round, the first audience reaction was one of almost delirium. The screaming started the minute the lights went down. It was, after all, quite an event - the first time the League were to play their iconic 1981 Dare! album in its entirety live. It also marked the band's 30th anniversary, since the band set out their stall with Being Boiled.


Dare! was also the record that sent the band into the pop stratosphere. It included such gems as Don't You Want Me, The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, Seconds, Love Action (I Believe In Love), The Sound Of The Crowd, Open Your Heart not a dud to be seen.

Oakey came on flanked by Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley, all three dressed in black. "Hello Sheffield," was Oakey's opening words.

The audience was a mix of every hue - children, grannies, grandads, teenagers, gays, hundreds of couples, and the occasional bald chap doing a slow bout of head banging in the gods. The good news was that it was soon clear that Oakey's voice was in fine fettle after his problems of last year at the same venue.

It was very much a welcoming return for the band with same line-up as the previous year, featuring recently married guitarist, Nic Burke, who doubled up on keyboard and guitar, long-standing member Neil Sutton on keyboard and Rob Barton on percussion.

And The Human League would never be the same without the amazing array of images that hover over the band. The most striking were the morphed photos of various has-been-politicians, including the likes of Norman Tebbit, William Hague, Neil Kinnock and Thatcher. Not forgetting some of the welter of dafter images, such as a lone watch, various cartoons, high-chairs, Facts About America, Gasoline, Love Hearts and many more.

But that wasn't the end of the night. After an intermission, Oakey and the band went on to perform a set that started with one of their quirkiest songs, The Lebanon, followed by the likes of All I Ever Wanted, Human, Heart Like A Wheel, Tell Me When, Fascination, Mirror Man, with Georgio Merode's Electric Dreams as the finale.

It could have gone on all night, considering the audience's response.

The Human League are back big style, on the back of one of their biggest tours for a long time, taking in 13 performances, starting with St Albans and finishing at Gateshead, followed by seven shows in Europe in December. The League are back and let's look forward to the next ten years of the band.