HEAVEN 17 + MAGNETIC SKIES – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 28.5.22
Originally due to play the venue almost exactly a year ago, Heaven 17 finally arrived at Brighton’s Concorde 2 and there was no doubt that there was a big performance in the offing as the band declared they were raring to go in a venue that they love playing.
Thus, there was something of a party atmosphere with the crowd eager to enjoy themselves after such a long wait. They weren’t disappointed as the band treated the audience to a walk-through of their impressive back catalogue plus a few covers which they more than made their own.
Glenn Gregory, still looking youthful at 64 in his white jeans and black tee shirt was in fine voice and Martyn Ware looked cool in a Stetson hat, oversize jacket and bootlace tie providing the synth wizardry and foil to Gregory’s humour.
Stand out tracks for me were a crowd-led ‘Come Live With Me’, the extended ‘That’s No Lie’ , Giorgio Moroder tribute ‘We Live So Fast’ and ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ which was a cover of the Human League’s version (which was a cover of the Righteous Brothers original) and featured a stripped back minimal synth backing and also saw Ware and the crowd assist with the vocals, although as Gregory pointed out, some of the crowd’s timing was a little suspect after a enjoying a few beverages.
The banter and anecdotes about the songs flowed throughout the night which made it even more enjoyable. After they performed ‘Play To Win’, Gregory mentioned they played the song on their first ever ‘Top of the Pops’ appearance. Sadly, he lamented that the performance probably won’t be shown again as Jimmy Saville was the presenter that night.
The highlight of the set for me was the power-packed extended ‘Temptation’ which was much more up-tempo and dance worthy, in which backing singers Kelly Barnes and Rachel Meadows got to showcase the full extent of their incredible vocal range. So good was this track that I felt it should have finished the show.
The encore was a little flatter. The cover of Bowie’s classic ‘Let’s Dance’ was good, but there were other omitted Heaven 17 songs that could have been played instead. The show finished with their rendition of the Human League’s debut single ‘Being Boiled’ which always goes down well with fans, and given it was co-written by Martyn Ware who was originally in the band, it definitely counts as authentic.
All in all this was a fabulous performance and a triumphant return to Brighton for a band that are now into their fifth decade, yet still continue to sound fresh and modern.
Heaven 17 setlist:
‘The Height Of The Fighting’
‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’
‘Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry’
‘Play To Win’
‘Geisha Boys And Temple Girls’
‘Come Live With Me’
‘This Is Mine’
‘That’s No Lie’
‘We Live So Fast’
‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ (Righteous Brothers/Human League cover).
‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’
‘Let Me Go’
‘Penthouse And Pavement’
‘Let’s Dance’ (David Bowie cover)
‘Being Boiled’ (Human League cover)
For more information on Heaven 17 visit: www.heaven17.com
Support this evening came from Magnetic Skies, self-described as ‘darkwave/80’s fuelled synth pop’. This four-piece band comprised front-man and singer Simon Kent on vocals with his band mates on synths, guitar and drums. They delivered an excellent set of retro sounding electronica and really warmed the crowd up well. If you like the 80’s style sound given a new twist, I’d highly recommend you check them out, particularly their single ‘Not A Fire’ which rounded off a great performance.
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