Human League delight forest crowd

A SUNNY summer's evening, it wasn't.Rain showers lent a damp air to The Human League in Thetford Forest and the venue was far from a full house, but the thousand or so of us who were there, certainly enjoyed it.

A SUNNY summer's evening, it wasn't.

Rain showers lent a damp air to The Human League in Thetford Forest and the venue was far from a full house, but the thousand or so of us who were there, certainly enjoyed it. The support act Hue and Cry played familiar tunes including Looking For Linda, Labour of Love and Ordinary Angel and the drummer's energy alone was a sight to behold.

Then the League's performance added to the 80s fest, and lived up to the standard of the Sheffield hit factory which many of us remember from their early days.

It's now 32 years since the band formed in 1977 (the girls joined in 1980), yet Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley sang live for just over an hour, including favourites like Don't You Want Me, Together in Electric Dreams, Love Action and Tell Me When.

In all, they had eight UK top ten singles and two number ones in their heyday, selling an estimated 20million records worldwide. That's not bad going for two nightclub dancers who were never trained singers, and both girls still had 'it' and were happy to flaunt it on the Suffolk stage, in a series of thigh-skimming, sometimes sequinned, outfits.

David Beevers, their studio engineer since 1990, was busy pushing buttons at the back to stop and start the computerised synthesiser backing track, but the rest of the band was live. As a point of honour the band refuse to use recorded material on stage, and rehearse before every show, ensuring no two performances are the same.

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They didn't play the huge hit Louise but did give renditions of Lebanon, Mirror Man, Human and (Keep Feeling) Fascination, plus the incongruent first single Being Boiled where Phil donned white robes.

The 80s fashion and music revival which we're currently seeing, has inspired current acts like La Roux and Little Boots, and it shows no sign of fading yet.

With several groups of teenage girls singing along in the crowd last night, a whole new generation of concert-goers are buying tickets to discover these original tracks for the first time.

Tracey Sparling

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