Heaven 17 + Pete Wylie 6.11.21 at Bristol O2 Academy
A tortuous five hour train journey to Bristol Temple Meads, changing twice and going via Southampton and Reading, from Poole, and before I know it a day had gone and was sat in the Hatchet Inn in Bristol, over the road from the O2 Academy. It’s a 67 mile journey by car. Perhaps a focus on public transport is the sort of thing to think about up at the climate conference going on right now.
Some notes on tonight’s venue and facilities nearby can be found here in my blog on the O2 Academy Bristol.
Heaven 17 are a band I liked back in the day but didn’t see them or have any albums. They would get a lot of play while out and about. It wasn’t until 2018 I saw them, twice on The Luxury Gap anniversary tour, at Bristol and Bournemouth O2 Academies. Then they supported Squeeze in 2019 at Bournemouth Pavilions. These induced second hand vinyl purchases of Penthouse and Pavement and The Luxury Gap albums.
We are in early for the soundcheck which is a novel treat and enables me to take a few snaps with ease.
Tonight Pete Wylie of The Mighty Wah and the various versions of WAH! was the support act. I was pleased to see him live at last – don’t think I’ve ever seen him. Some great 80s singles which get an airing: Sinful, Heart as Big as Liverpool and the excellent Story of the Blues.
He’s funny and talks through his song selection. It’s him and a backing track and, as he points out, the only guitar in the building given Heaven 17’s presence.
Not much spent on illuminating his performance and he appeared in a gloomy blue light. I’d like to see one his own gigs sometime.
Heaven 17 open with Height of the Fighting. The band are originals Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory accompanied by two backing singers and a second keyboardist (a different one to a few years ago) to keep Martyn Ware company and heighten the 80s electro beat.
Tonight’s setlist, given it’s a greatest hits tour, is a top selection of electro-pop tracks – ones I knew so well but forgotten I did. Fascist Groove Thing was introduced as having its 40+1 year anniversary in five days time…. good ole Covid has screwed around with a lot of anniversaries eh.
Come Live With Me remains something of favourite for me with its eyebrow raising opening line ‘I was 37 you were 17’.
There’s a cover thrown in mid-set: ‘Heaven 17’s cover of Human League’s cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling‘.
The last three songs of the main set underline the strength of their material: Let Me Go, Penthouse and Pavement and Temptation… so brilliantly 80s.
For an encore it was Bowie’s Let’s Dance and finally Being Boiled, the debut single by The Human League which Martyn Ware wrote while in The Human League….a cracker. Another good night of electronic pop hits with Heaven 17.
An early curfew and it’s all over and out by 10.30pm. Time to for more live music up the road at the Smoke and Mirrors bar. 😎