The Human League Live In Bournemouth Nov 24th 2012


I’ve been going to Human League concerts regularly for 20 years, and they’ve never failed to be a great live draw. Given they have at the very least an all-time classic album (“Dare”) to draw on for songs, that is bound to help. Like the other guaranteed-to-be-brilliant 80’s synthpop act Pet Shop Boys, there’s a delicious irony that they’ve outlasted most of the guitar bands of that time (and a lot of other big pop acts) by turning into live performers as the primary way of making a music biz career last for 30 years. When synth acts first came out they were sniffed at as not being “proper” live acts, well, turns out they are!

Phil Oakey, remarkably, is still cool. He dresses cool, he acts cool, he sings cool. You wouldn’t think he was over 50, and the two reliable former schoolgirl-popstars, Susan and Joanne continue to provide great support at either side of him. The new stuff sits comfortably with the classic (from album “Credo”) and full marks for not using the concert as a giant plug for the new album, like some other annoying stars do to the point of tedium. To do the whole album (of any popstar) the material really should be topnotch if you already have a great back catalogue, which, let’s be honest, paying punters want to hear.

In terms of previous gig comparisons, my fave was probably the Greatest Hits tour, purely because they had time for even more great oldies. If I had one criticism this time, it’s for the lighting – try and avoid being upstairs to the side of the stage cos you just get blinded and can’t see what’s going on with all the spots before your eyes. I moved to a vacant seat elsewhere and it was fine. Tellingly, this is the first all-seated concert they’ve done in Bournemouth, as me and others now need to sit down for at least part of the concert. The 70’s and 80’s generation have reached that certain age, I’m afraid. If I had advice for the audience, it’s the same advice I’d give to 20-year-olds as well as 50-year-olds: if you insist on recording “Don’t You Want Me” on your mobile phone en masse, please consider putting some anti-persperant on previously. And if you want to look cool by wearing a hat inside to hide your greying or balding head, please take it off when you stand up and block short-arse’s views – at least they have small chance of catching a glimpse of the stage, then!

Support band, French synthy act The Penelopes were OK, I particularly rated the manic instrumental they did, which came over a bit like The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” rhythm set to a Chemical Brothers “Setting Son” exciting dance style. I think it was called The Sweet Song (Fukushima Mon Amour). I also enjoyed the female British musician onstage asides and introductions to the audience, they were engaging.

So, my faves on the night? Roughly in this order…

1. Love Action (I Believe In Love)

2. The Sound Of The Crowd

3. Open Your Heart

4. Mirror Man

5. (Keep Feeling) Fascination

6. The Lebanon

7. Together In Electric Dreams

8. Don’t You Want Me

9. Tell Me When

10. The Things That Dreams Are Made Of

11. Seconds

12. Night People

13. Sky

14. Louise

15. Heart Like A Wheel

Kiddie Playground Versions Of Pop Songs


Doctor Who was a passion of mine. School-book proof from 1965ish



Pop Songs. School playgrounds. Nursery Rhymes.

Sometimes they get all merged together, and a harmless pop song gets turned into something naughty, little kids love it and repeat it, and change the lyrics some more. Back in 1968 Hermans Hermits had a big British hit with a song called Sunshine Girl, quite sweet and innocent. The playground version was much funnier though (at least to 10-year-olds living around Lincolnshire) and the lyrics went like this:

Sunshine Girl I’m looking down your bra

I see two round things I wonder what they are

Will you invite me,

to squeeze them tightly –

Not bloody likely!

My Sunshine Girl!

If there was any more I’ve forgotten it (please feel free to fill it in, Peter Noone:)

I wonder if there are any 2012 versions, or perhaps the lyrics are already far naughtier than anything kids could invent…?

Concert Reviews – The ELO Experience

I thought I might add in some concert reviews as a feature, at the moment that’ll be just current ones, but I may re-visit old favourites at some stage.

First Up: The ELO Experience (Bournemouth Pavilion Nov 8th 2012)

I’ve seen a few really good tribute acts, like T.Rextasy and Bjorn Again, but I tend to avoid them on the whole, I’d rather see a “real” pop star. I took a chance on these though, as the likelihood of ever seeing Jeff Lynne do them live seems almost as unlikely as seeing T.Rex (impossible) and Abba (highly improbable), and like those two I loved ELO to bits, throughout.

Happily, despite just a 7-man-and-woman stage presence they were pretty good, certainly better than some big name acts I could mention who recently bored me (Hi Paul W*ll*r). Some of the songs came over better than others, especially the rockier hits, but even the orchestral ones had a pretty full-bodied sound to them. I could quibble that some of my faves were omitted (10538 Overture would have been impossible to recreate, though the intro was actually “borrowed” in large part by the afore-mentioned Paul W*ll*r for one of the few old hits featured when he did Bournemouth), but most of the classics were done, and done well.

So, in roughly rated order of preference on the night…

1. Livin’ Thing
2. Evil Woman
3. Showdown
4. Mr Blue Sky
5. Sweet Talking Woman
6. Confusion
7. The Diary Of Horace Wimp
8. Strange Magic
9. Don’t Bring Me Down
10. Hold On Tight
11. Twilight
12. Telephone Line
13. Turn To Stone
14. Last Train To London
15. All Around The World
16. Rock n Roll Is King
17. Latitude 88 North
18. Rockaria
19. Wild West Hero
20. Xanadu


UPDATE: January 7th 2016



This time 8 were on stage, and the Tivoli is a perfect venue for the band, they were even better, a great night out, everyone in the band was fab, and a longer set with even Jeff Lynne’s latest lead track When I Was A Boy very happily in the set – working on the very 1970’s-sounding One Step At A Time – and some great album tracks like Across The Border and Tightrope included along with previously-omitted singles like Can’t Get It Out Of My Head and 10538 Overture, all were excellent. The banter was fun, the band seemed to be having a ball, and of course Jeff Lynne, against all expectations is now ELO again, new album (fab) and touring later in the year. If you can’t get tickets (like me) go see this great tribute act, you won’t be disappointed!