Regeneration Tour at Bank of America Pavilion, August 20, 2008
THE HUMAN LEAGUE: rocked Moroder.
“I’ve seen the future and I can’t afford it,” sang ABC’s Martin Fry a week ago Wednesday, decked out in a tailored mandarin-orange suit with a crack six-piece backing band. (If you want to predict the future in song, dropping references to expected inflation is not the worst idea, right?) Fry and company were a surprise highlight in a sea of surprise highlights; if the inaugural Regeneration Tour seemed likely to play out as a string of “We’ve played our big hit, now what” moments, well, guess again. This particular limey-centric crew of early-’80s “has-beens” have deep, deep catalogues.
A Flock of Seagull’s six-song set was a two-fold revelation: 1) “I Ran” isn’t even the band’s third or fourth most awesome song, let alone their “one hit”; and 2) new wave’s first iteration is a lot darker and more poundingly rocking than most people care to remember. Lead Seagull Mike Score no longer sports his namesake plumage, looking more Buffett than Buggle, and his scab band included nary an original member — all the better to remind us that, stripped of the big hair, bigger glasses, and Spocky spacesuits, these tunes still can obliterate the senses with their new-romantic blunt force.
Belinda Carlisle bounded on stage like the seasoned pro she is, and to answer your two questions: yes, she’s still a complete babe, and yes, she can still bring it. And yes, she did a few songs by “my old band,” a crowd-pleasing move that reminded us how much she slowed down her game when she went solo.
It isn’t often that an encore is introduced by “Here’s a song I wrote with Giorgio Moroder” — then again, it isn’t often that Sheffield’s Human League get to bring their earthy technopop to middle-aged Americans in “Choose Life” T-shirts. Phil Oakey and the League threatened to kill the party for good with their Molotov cocktail of a love song to Lee Harvey Oswald, “Seconds,” with its pummeling electro beats and repeated mantra of “It took just seconds of your time to take his life.” But all was forgiven by this good-time crowd when they finally, finally got to sing “Don’t You Want Me” in chanting, cathartic unison.
: Live Reviews
, Belinda Carlisle, Lee Harvey Oswald, Giorgio Moroder, More