The civilised setting of the Royal Hall is an odd place for the crowd of 40-something-year-olds who want to sing ‘Don’t You Want Me’, while lamenting the loss of the Lido and Ballakermeen school disco and times lost when it was first released.
The 33 years since the release of their ‘Dare’ album has seemed to have flown for The Human League and the crowd that had gathered to see the 80s’ icons perform.
The band all dressed in black with white instruments and stage settings were very 80s with Phil Oakey prowling the stage looking mean and moody in his black leather trench coat and boots.
It was hit after hit all the way with the beefy, pulsating beat of electra transporting the crowd back to their teens, pointing in the air to ‘The Sound of the Crowd’, ‘Mirror Man’ and ‘Keep Feeling Fascination’ sounding as glorious as they did back in the 1980s.
Phil Oakey strides back and forth across the stage between Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall, the two girls that could have lived next door. You cannot fail to fall under the spell and picture the group wearing heavier eye makeup and the trademark fringe worn by Oakey, which created a look that they were famous for.
The classic story, told in ‘Don’t You Want Me’, of being plucked from obscurity in a humdrum existence to stardom rang true for Sulley and Catherall.
Sulley’s flat toned lyrics sounded transfixing as she wowed the audience wearing a sassy silver cat suit.
The show teeters between cheesyness and pop genius, ‘Electric Dreams’, ‘Open Your Heart’ and ‘Love Action’ still pulsate the electra heartbeat as much as they have always done.
However, it’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, of course, that received the loudest vocal sing along.
The group – that spawned five albums and eight singles in the UK top ten and broke into the difficult USA market – were worried about a return to live performing after an absence, but had no need to be. Classic and iconic, yes, I think so. Songs that define the 80s for future generations, yes, I believe they are.