The Human League, Pseudo Echo @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 11/12/2017
There’s no doubt I’m starting to sound old when I’m contemplating going out to a show on a Monday night? Really? Yes really! With the mad sprint across town and woofing down dinner on the way combined with some legal but erratic driving to be there to catch Pseudo Echo who were scheduled originally to go on at seven but were bumped out by a half an hour ended up being premium for me to catch my breath before the show started.
Surprisingly, after going to many shows over the years I had never seen Pseudo Echo play despite growing up with this band when they were riding high in the charts. In short, Pseudo Echo were brilliant and complemented The Human League famously. So many great songs which got the crowd up and out of their seats dancing like there was no tomorrow. Opening with Ultraviolet it wasn’t until the hit machine kicked in with Don’t Go and A Beat For You lifting the intensity up a notch. Living A Dream was the oldest Pseudo Echo song written by mainstay Brian Canham as a teenager.
Love An Adventure was awesome as was the Pseudo Echo touch up of Ike & Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits. It was at this point when Canham introduced Paul Gray of Wa Wa Nee fame to the crowd who featured prominantly on keytar. Ironically, they covered Real Life’s Send Me An Angel which was well and truly off the hook. Listening kept that party vibe going but the roof was blown off the Thebbie with their infamous cover of Lipps Inc.’s Funky Town. The energy amongst the crowd was electric and were no doubt warmed up for The Human League.
To say it has been a long time in-between drinks for The Human League is an understatement but they more than made up for it with eighty minutes of pure bliss. Hearing these classics gives credence to the fact great songs will never fade away standing the test of time and sounding just as great now as they did when they first came out. What was puzzling was the need for seats when the crowd really wanted to stand, dance and basically reclaim some of their youth for a brief moment. Everything hung together perfectly right from staging, to the lighting, the projections and the band’s sound.
Right from the opener of Sky from the 2011 album Credo the band did not put a foot wrong. Open Your Heart got the crowd excited wanting more. Lead singer Phil Oakey had some interesting wardrobe selections looking more akin to some sort of cult leader more than anything else. Vocally, Oakey sounded great even though some of those more melodic tones had gone. He powered through each song and really worked the stage getting his step count up for the day.
Hit singles The Sound Of The Crowd and Love Action (I Believe In Love) from 1981s Dare album were big moments in the set as were Mirror Man and (Keep Feeling) Fascination off the Fascination! EP. The Lebanon is such a powerful song but The Human League isn’t just Phil Oakey but the glamourous singers in Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley who have been a significant part of this outfir since 1980. They looked absolutely stunning and the vocals really hit the spot. The main set finished with crowd favourite Don’t You Want Me and there’s plenty of great footage on YouTube of the Adelaide folk getting right in to this one. Returning for an encore it was Being Boiled with quite the visual projections on screen but it was the big monster hit Together In Electric Dreams that sent the crowd on their way. Pop songs don’t get any better than that and no doubt is the prefect pop song. Will they be back? Let’s hope so but if you didn’t go you really missed out.
Review by Rob Lyon