The steel city tour arrives in Sheffield

16 December, 2008 Sheffield


......., ABC and ...... come home


A slightly belated post, but I thought I ought to mark the arrival of the steel city tour to Sheffield last Saturday.


I’d seen the Human League and Heaven 17 live before but not ABC, and the combination of all three playing on the same bill on the last night of the tour in Sheffield was irresistible – even though I knew that the atmosphere at arena gigs can be inferior compared to a smaller venue.


Although it was billed as a near sell out, it wasn’t a full arena show due to the stage being positioned about two thirds of the way down the venue and the rest curtained off.




Up next were ABC. The likable Martin Fry looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself, and so was the crowd as cuts from the amazing Lexicon of love album were performed to perfection.


As a live band they sounded excellent, aided in particular by the great percussionist and female backing vocalist. And when you can end the set with the irresistible four-song salvo of All of my heart, Tears are not enough, When Smokey sings and The look of love, you know that you are going out on a high – and they did.


The curtain was then lifted to reveal the full stage for headline act of the night, the Human League.....


This show may have been considered by some to have been a home banker, with three classic and influential Sheffield bands playing in the steel city on the closing night of a Christmas tour. But with expectations raised the pressure was on to deliver and I think that all three bands did.


What’s more, they reminded us of the lasting influence that their pioneering brand of electronic music continues to exert today – plus of course their ability to write some of the most enduring pop songs of the last 30 years.