www.reflectionsofdarkness.com January 2008
Edwin Van Der Ende


The Human League you say, isn't that the band that made that one particular hit 'Don't you want me baby'? Yes of course they are, but they should be given way more credit than just that. Tonight at the 013's main hall they would perform an integral version of their 1981 Dare! album and after that they would sure play some more hits for the very diverse audience, mainly people in their 30's and 40's, those who may have been among the early adaptors of the electro music...


...If you need an introduction to this band you are probably too young or you have just arrived at this page by unfortunate accident. After all their hit single 'Don't you want me baby' was a great worldwide hit and is still being played on the radio these days. Being the last song on the Dare! album the audience was sure they'd play the song during their revisit of their highly acclaimed 1981 album.

Music & Performance

The Human League, live, after all those years, people who didn't go to any of their recent shows must have had no idea what to expect. The band however didn't just put together a small show, the 2007 Dare! tour has been worked on hard. Just when the first notes of 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of' kick in the huge curtain with the updated album cover art drops down and the show stage is revealed. The use of white details on stage, white catwalks for the three singers: Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley. Right behind them the rest of the band consisting of: Rob Barton (percussion, drums), David Beevers (engineering), Nic Burke (keys, guitars), and Neil Sutton (keys). The adventure people need has started and a very vivid and colourful light show accompanies the songs as we slowly progress through the album. After a few songs it seems like the 7 banners hanging above the stage turn out to be projection screens and from that moment on a wide range of video images is projected. Not just similar images but different from screen to screen as well at times. All further emphasising the meaning of the words sung by Philip, Joanne and Susan Ann.

Talking about the singing, it seems like time has been very kind to the voices of each of them. Philip hardly ever has any problems hitting the high notes and both ladies sound more mature and solid then on the albums from the 80's. With electro it's always hard to figure out if everything is played live, but with The Human league there is no doubt about that really. The music sounds richer than on the albums and apart from some bits and pieces arranged by David the music is played live and full of passion. With both Nic and Neil using a keytar to run around at times, and Nic showing off his stylish guitar all of the band do their best to get close to the audience and give them a show that really lasts in their memories. When after a range of emotions the Dare! album is finally concluded by 'Don't You Want Me Baby' the audience almost ashamed gives in to showing appreciation for this song that you couldn't really approve of for a long time. But with all those fellow believers in the music of The Human League the audience lets go of their restraints and enjoys the rest of the show with the critical 'Lebanon' and the beautiful and emotional 'Human'.

During the concert the singers change clothes, daring outfits for the ladies, and cool outfits for Philips who shows that aging doesn't have to mean you will be less cool. With his characteristic wobbling behind the mic he is a true front man, in control and very aware of what people expect. Of course the band has to return for an encore and of course their first single 'Being Boiled' had to be played and they ended the concert with yet another reference to dreams: 'Together in Electric Dreams'. The Human League have been around for years and have proven that a 26 year old album is still as great as it was when they released it. Let's just hope they will return so everybody who had any doubts before to go to the concert can make up for a missed opportunity for a clear dream.