Human League & Pseudo Echo – Logan Campbell Centre December 6, 2017


It was time for another injection of eighties synth-pop as The Human League finally made their first trip to New Zealand, aided and abetted by Australia’s Pseudo Echo.

Poor Philip Oakey had to shed his very-80s plastic coat earlier than planned as the Human League front man was confronted with Auckland’s Logan Campbell Centre on a warm night. Yep, it gets hot in there, even at the beginning of December.

I should add that opening act Pseudo Echo raised the temperature a bit as well, with a surprisingly energetic set that had fans buzzing. Their 45 minutes on stage was just long enough to whip the crowd into a mild frenzy with hits like Send Me An Angel and Funky Town. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Canham even threw in a touch of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds at the end. Well played!

The Human League’s sound is more keyboard based than guitar and this led to them sounding somewhat fey compared to the openers.

They began with Sky, a moody tune from their 2011 album Credo. Oakey hung back at the rear of the stage while vocalists Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall stood at the front on opposite sides. The band was filled out by a drummer and a couple of keyboard players who also played guitar occasionally.

But the fans didn’t show up to hear songs from the 21st century, they were there for a hit of 80s nostalgia and that began with Love Action (I Believe In Love). Phil Oakey’s distinctive baritone voice  remains strong although Susan and Joanne were sometimes difficult to hear in the mix.

Credit to Oakey for refusing to age gracefully…his outfit was classic bad taste eighties.

Unfortunately, many of the lesser known songs featured in the mid portion of the show could be classified similarly. I admit to feeling like a quick nap as they churned through songs like Soundtrack To A Generation, Seconds and Tell Me When. The repetitive nature of those songs didn’t help matters.

But the energy level came back up with 1983’s Mirror Man, followed by (Keep Feeling) Fascination and the one tune everyone came to hear…Don’t You Want Me.

For the encore, Oakey dipped back to the band’s early days to play the dark Being Boiled, but sent everyone out on a high with his 1984 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder…(Together In) Electric Dreams.

If The Human League had been kept to a 45 minute set, as their Australian friends had, I imagine their show would have felt more snappy and succinct. As it was, Pseudo Echo came out ahead on this night.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Reuben Raj:

Pseudo Echo set list:

  1. Ultraviolet
  2. Don’t Go
  3. A Beat For You
  4. Living In A Dream
  5. Love An Adventure
  6. Nutbush City Limits
  7. Send Me An Angel
  8. Listening
  9. Funky Town

The Human League set list:

  1. Sky
  2. Love Action (I Believe In Love)
  3. Heart Like A Wheel
  4. The Sound Of The Crowd
  5. Soundtrack For A Generation
  6. Open Your Heart
  7. Seconds
  8. The Lebanon
  9. Human
  10. Behind The Mask
  11. Tell Me When
  12. Mirror Man
  13. (Keep Feeling) Fascination
  14. Don’t You Want Me
  15. Being Boiled
  16. (Together In) Electric Dreams