Gott Im Himmel! Chasinvictoria just sent this notice to me yesterday. It appears that the gloves are off. Heaven 17 are fully stepping into the breach left by the now moribund Human League and performing a pair of one-off [two-off?] concerts in the UK next year where Martyn Ware, along with Glenn Gregory and the rest of the Heaven 17 live band [Berenice Scott – keys, Kelly Barnes, Rachel Mosleh – vox] will be performing the first two Human League albums in their entirety!
Yes, we know that Martyn had long since mended fences with Phil Oakey and has tried to interest him in reforming the original Human League lineup but Phil has not been interested in revisiting his [more interesting] distant past for one reason or another. I can imagine that Susan and Joanne must have had zero interest in that gambit for obvious reasons. Phil’s loss is our gain as the two best Human League albums have been suppressed in the live arena for too long!
It has since come down to Heaven 17 giving that deeply strange and wondrous material the love it deserves in the face of the current Human League’s disinterest. Fortunately for us, Glenn Gregory has been more than fine with wrapping his lungs around that early material; which has salted many a Heaven 17 concert of recent vintage. Thankfully! But performing the entirety of “Reproduction” and “Travelogue” makes these two dates enter the realm of “Organ Auction Live Events.” It’s been some years since a concert of this caliber has sprung up and made me take serious heed of my inability to afford a quick pop over to the UK for a gig. And adding to the vibe considerably will be the fact that Mr. Ware tells us that the full multimedia spectacle that was an early Human League show, will be up for our inspection. One wonders if he would be able to get Philip Adrian Wright [slides, synthesizers] to reprise his visual role for these shows. If not, they had better find someone else with a huge collection of Gerry Anderson slides!
Heaven 17 | “Reproduction” + ”Travelogue” Tour | UK | 2020
Thursday 19th March, 2020 | Sheffield City Hall
Friday 20th March, 2020 | London Roundhouse
Tickets went on sale last Friday, July 5th here, so I am guessing that the shows will sell out in short order! I am anguished by these two shows since I cannot afford the high cost of a UK trip for a concert even if two of my favorite Post—Punk albums will be played in their entirety. As much as I love the first two Human League albums, I have to keep my options open in case there will be another John Foxx concert in the next year or two. I can only afford the debt of a single trip to the UK unless radical things happen to me financially. And I would wither if I said “to hell with it” and booked a trip for this [and it’s tempting…] only to have a John Foxx + The Maths concert manifest shortly afterward!
That said, “Reproduction” and “Travelogue” are two of the finest, most arresting examples of late 70s synthesizer “pop” that I have had the pleasure of hearing for the last 40 years. In the grand scheme of things, I consider “Travelogue” to be the best of its breed, and second only to “Systems Of Romance” on my list of favorites. Next to people like Gary Numan, there’s no comparison! I like Numan, but there is little else with the sound design and point of view that those first two Human League albums give me. I’m so charged up that even though I reviewed “Octopus” a few weeks back, I feel like dicing into a Human League Rock G.P.A.® just so I can wax eloquent about those first two albums! Of course, that means that I will need to acquire copies of “Credo” [which is currently in the cheapie bin at a local shop – once I get to that part of town it’s mine] and even [gasp!] “Crash” in short order. Any thoughts on that in the meantime?
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