Human League Show 9/23/2011

26 Sep
The Setlist:
1. Never Let Me Go
2. Open Your Heart
3. Sound of the Crowd
4. Heart Like A Wheel
5. The Lebanon
6. Egomaniac
7. Empire State Human
8. Night People
9. Human
10. Love Action
11. All I Ever Wanted
12. Tell Me When
13. Mirror Man
14. (Keep Feeling) Fascination
15. Don’t You Want Me
Encore
16. Being Boiled
17. Together in Electric Dreams

I never thought that I would get to see the Human League and so this past Friday was a total treat.  That being said, the concert followed a disastrous 6 1/2 hour car-ride from Albany to NYC thanks to being gridlocked in New Jersey traffic.  I missed the opener, Men Without Hats.  I can’t say that I care.  There was a major novelty factor there, but I’m not sure that I could have stomached a 40-minute set by a legitimate one-hit wonder.  For all I know they played a 40 minute “Safety Dance.”

I arrived at the Best Buy Theater at 8:55 drenched (from rain in case there was any question), which gave me just enough time to order three tall-boys at the bar and catch the second half of “Never Let Me Go.”  I have to admit…they sounded phenomenal.  I was also pleased that a band that was touring to promote a new album wasn’t afraid to have their set span their catalog.  Despite their popularity reaching the US in singles like “Don’t You Want Me” and “(Keep Feeling) Fascination,” the Human League had much greater success across the Atlantic.  And honestly, what I’ve heard off of their new album is not bad at all.

Phil Oakey was a little less androgynous than usual.  He, now bald, began with an occupied Europe-esque pleather frock and then changed into a white frill-less tunic.  I have to admit, Susanne Sulley looked pretty GILFy in her white applique dress.  The background visuals were great.  Most memorably: sheep tourists visited international monuments during “Sound of the Crowd,” clips of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” looped during “Heart Like A Wheel,” and a warp scene from Super Mario 3 was spliced into a black and white romance flick for “Together in Electric Dreams.”  There was definitely some Tron in there too…

I, like everybody else, raged when they sang “Don’t You Want Me” (I apologize for my drunken, tone-deaf singing on the video…I had a few more tall-boys under my belt at that point), but I have to admit that that song is still one of my favorite pop songs of all time regardless of its relegation to the realm of one-hit wonderdom in the US.

Overall, the concert was very entertaining despite the car ride down and the hot mess behind me who dumped her whiskey and soda all over my back before nose-diving in a puddle.  I did try to help her up until she got combative.  “Leave me alone I’m fine!”  Ok, bitch, sit in a puddle.

Early on in the concert, Oakey humbly remarked that the band members were all fans of their rock contemporaries like Television and T. Rex, but they were looking for something that people would not only enjoy, but could dance to.  It was synth-pop, and they spearheaded the movement.

“Empire State Human” Live

“Love Action” Live

“Don’t You Want Me” Live

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