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16th December 2016 at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall for the Nottingham Post

It’s hard to believe that The Human League released every teenager’s must-have album ‘Dare’ way back in 1981 The fans may have aged, the fashions have changed but the music still sounds as fresh today as it did during the days of lopsided hairstyles and kohl overload, when the group was selling millions of records worldwide.

 

This year’s trip around Europe, aptly named A Very British Synthesizer Group Tour 2016, features the band’s original member Phil Oakey, accompanied by essentials Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall and runs alongside the recent release of their 4 disc anthology.

Nottingham’s Concert Hall was buzzing for tonight’s show. The audience was suitably warmed up by opening act Ekkoes, who did an excellent job with a number of catchy tunes and certainly deserve a mention.

Enter Phil Oakey, clad in black in an outfit that wouldn’t go amiss in The Matrix and belting out Being Boiled in that deep unmistakable voice. This man has totally still got it and he’s looking and sounding pretty darned good. The audience goes wild. Everyone gets to their feet. Susan and Joanne appear to the strains of Sound of the Crowd and we are all transported back to 1981. Fabulous.

The setup was high-tec, which perfectly complemented the music, with colourful images of jellyfish, Pacman and even Donald Trump. It all added to the evening’s dynamic vibe, as Phil Oakey pounded the stage, obviously enjoying every second of this last show of the tour and the adoration of hundreds of die-hard fans, determined to squeeze the most out of every second.

A group with such longevity as The Human League will have a ton of hits to choose from and we were treated to a huge array this evening, including Fascination , Human and The Lebanon. Susan and Joanne, as always, provided the glamour, the dancing and the additional vocals that propelled the group to stardom and, quite rightly, helped to ensure that they have stayed the course for so many years.

The 1981 smash Don’t You Want Me is The Human League’s most commercially successful tune and they made us wait until the end of the night to hear it. Nostalgia swept the room in waves and the audience continued singing the chorus long after the group had left the stage. Returning for an encore, they could not have chosen a better song to end the evening with than Electric Dreams.

My verdict for tonight? It was like a great big happy Human League party in your 1980s pants.