Review: Living Electric Dreams with The Human League at Audley End

PUBLISHED: 08:58 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:58 25 July 2019

Human League headlined the Heritage Live 80s concert at Audley End

Human League headlined the Heritage Live 80s concert at Audley End


Choose 80s’ Leigh Adams and Sue Archer review The Human League’s Heritage Live concert at Audley End.

A summer evening can't get much better than relaxing in front of a stately home in the English countryside, while enjoying a cold drink and a musical blast from the past.

And it doesn't get much better than Heritage Live's 80s line-up at Audley End, near Saffron Walden, of The Human League, ABC and Belinda Carlisle.

It's now 38 years since synth-pop legends The Human League's third studio album Dare topped the charts, and they sound just as good as they did back then.

While Don't You Want Me is the Human League's signature tune, there are so many more to their repertoire which are equally as familiar when they start performing them.

From the synth beat of Electric Dreams to the pop songs of Keep Feeling Fascination, Love Action and Mirror Man, this is a group whose track record can now be appreciated in glorious retrospect.

Throw in the industrial rhythm of Sheffield with Being Boiled and the political outrage of The Lebanon and Seconds, and you can truly see The Human League's musical genius.

Famously formed in 1977 after a chance meeting in a nightclub, when Phil Oakey's head was turned by teenagers Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley, the band have stood the test of time.

Enjoying eight top 10 hit singles, five top 10 albums and selling more than 20 million records worldwide, The Human League were one of the most successful of the 80s bands.

But it's never been just about the music with Phil Oakey and The Human League; it's all about their image too.

Phil might have a bit less hair to style these days but he certainly maintains a striking image, alongside Joanne and Susan, with slick costume changes, big screens and special effects.

It's no surprise The Human League were headliners at Heritage Live, providing the audience an unforgettable finale with Electric Dreams.

Earlier in the show, it was the turn of ABC and the exuberant Martin Fry performing their catalogue of 80s hits.

Dressed in a dandy new romantic style gold leaf jacket, Martin showed he hasn't lost his well-honed image.

This was evidenced on the big screen with original videos of some of their hits, showing a fresh-faced Fry performing hits such as Poison Arrow and The Look of Love.

Their Tamla Motown-esque hit single When Smokey Sings and the soulful All of My Heart, complete with an accompanying string quartet, provided a richness to their repertoire.

Like The Human League, ABC hail from Sheffield and just like the steel it's famous for, both of these acts are as sharp as ever and last a lifetime. Long may this continue!

Defying the years, 80s pin-up Belinda Carlisle got her fans' hearts racing as she performed her much-loved hits Heaven is a Place on Earth, I Get Weak and Circle in the Sand.

This was yet another evening when Heritage Live really showcased the rich and vibrant heritage of British and American pop music.

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