By Carron Stacey, A Humdrum Mum
WHEN?: Saturday 28 May 2022, tour runs to 6 October 2022
My admissions pre-review: I’m a sort of fair weather Heaven 17 fan plus akin to Princess Di’s statement that there were three people in her marriage, there are three people in my relationship. Me, Mr Humdrum and Martyn Ware.
- Read on for reasons including why you should check out the Electronically Yours podcast
Such is the power of Ware’s podcasts, Electronically Yours, where he interviews key figures in … electronic music what else …, every day Mr Humdrum is heard mumbling, “Martyn said this today,” “Martyn had them on the podcast today,” or “Martyn likes this group”. You get the picture. He’s a fanboy. So I approach this gig knowing I’m going to enjoy it but mostly for Mr Humdrum.
Concorde 2 is an intimate venue and Heaven 17 clearly love it there, having played it many times. Ware is dressed in an oversized jacket and Stetson, with bootlace tie. Glenn Gregory struts on in white jeans, ever the pop star. Stage presence set.
There are two backing singers, though they are really part of the band, plus a second keyboardist at the back. The intimate space works well for them for it is almost An Evening In With Glenn and Martyn, such is their on stage inter-song chat.
The songs are sometimes secondary after the guys chat about how they were written, whose influence was key and other funny anecdotes. I could see the two of them filling theatres around the country with this.
They tell of their favourite track and the one Gregory hates singing the most (due to the number of words to remember and fit in!), while tipping their hat to Spandau Steve Norman, who was in the house that night, and whose song (Chant No 1?) influenced one of theirs.
The band cover their hits, including Crushed By The Wheels of Industry, (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, Come Live With Me and of course, the anthemic Temptation – with Kelly more than filling in for the original Carol Kenyon, and Ware playing a more dancy, current version (akin to the Brothers in Rhythm remix), alongside The Human League’s Being Boiled (as Ware wrote it) and Heaven 17’s version of the League’s cover of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.
The latter is emotionally and harmoniously performed by Gregory and Ware on stage alone. Even then, Gregory manages to make the crowd laugh as we sang the whoa who oh bits too soon. The fun they have is so apparent in their delivery. A number of songs, laments Gregory, have become so lyrically relevant again today, not just when they were written in the 80s; none so much maybe as Let’s Make a Bomb.
My personal favourite of the night was Penthouse and Pavement, which made me realise just how well crafted their songs are. Sunset Now was omitted, which didn’t upset me as much as Depeche Mode not playing Just Can’t Get Enough live, but I am still a little cross. Bowie’s Let’s Dance as an encore was surprising for me, not so for the diehard fans it seems.
Gregory’s voice – how has he still got it? I’m not being mean but I listened today to a fellow (read rival) Sheffield front man and he can’t hold his notes (as is common as we age, nothing new) but Gregory can! Vocally he is still 22!
We sang, we danced, we laughed – not all of those things we usually do at a gig. This felt like a show. I would certainly thoroughly recommend seeing Heaven 17 again, mostly for “In Conversation with Martyn and Glenn”.
- Read more from Carron at her blog A Humdrum Mum
- Main picture by Carron Stacey courtesy Heaven 17. Tickets
- In article picture by by Carron Stacey. Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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