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
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