The Human League with special guest Altered Images, perform their Dare 40 Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Monday 13th December 2021

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It was forty years since synth pop band, The Human League released their third studio album, Dare, and they were at the Royal Concert Hall last night to celebrate its anniversary.

The evening of 80s nostalgia began with a short support set from the newly reformed Altered Images, fronted by Clare Grogan, whose sassiness and sense of fun has never left her. With a set that included I Could Be Happy and Change Of Heart she delighted the packed crowd with her mass sing along, Happy Birthday. With a new album due for release next summer, it wouldn’t be surprising if they have a headline tour of their own.

An orchestral fanfare announced the arrival of The Human League onto a stage that had a backdrop of both real and fake stairs, and when a three piece band opened with the synth strains of 1982’s Mirror Man, the eager crowd were immediately on their feet.

With front man Phil Oakey flanked by Joanne Cathedral and Susan Ann Sulley, they delivered a selection of their songs that had spanned their careers. Keep Feeling (Fascination), The Lebanon and Human had the crowd dancing in the aisles and showcased Oakey’s trademark vocals which do not appear to have aged at all.

Several costume changes later and the familiar intro from The Things That Dreams Are Made Of got a huge roar of approval which heralded the start of Dare. They played all ten tracks in order so hits like Open Your Heart and The Sound Of The Crowd were warmly received.

The tempo was slightly lowered with Get Carter, I Am The Law and the quieter contemplative Seconds but Love Action (I Believe In Love) and Don’t You Want Me raised it right back up there.

A two song encore followed which included the haunting Being Boiled, before the only non Human League song of the evening, Together In Electric Dreams brought to an end a fabulous night which saw the audience as exhausted as Oakey who had never stood still all night.