http://rushtrader.com August 2008

Regeneration Tour Hits Los Angeles

On Tuesday, August 6, 2008 I caught the Regeneration Tour in Universal City, CA. For fans of 80’s pop music it featured some of the better artists to emerge from the era - Naked Eyes, ABC, Belinda Carlisle and The Human League.


Dead or Alive were originally on the bill as well but their tour was cancelled at the last minute due to an unidentified illness by lead singer Peter Burns (Translation = more botox injections). Who cares anyway, I’m glad they weren’t there as it would have seriously degraded the overall quality of the show. A Flock of Seagulls were to replace Dead Or Alive on most US dates, but they didn’t play this show either…again, no big loss. If it had been the original lineup, now that would have been fantastic. But nowadays they’re led by original singer/keyboardist Mike Score and his band of goons that sound pathetic.


With the crap acts trimmed from the lineup, the remaining bands offered up solid, hit intensive sets that made for a very enjoyable evening.

The highlight for me was undoubtedly the headliners, The Human League. Being in the front row was a treat too. Before their set I watched anxiously as roadies completely cleared the stage of all acoustic instruments used by earlier bands only to wheel in one badass electronic setup (reminiscent of Kraftwerk) with electronic drums, computers, keyboards and video screens.


One note about The Human League is they have never gone away. Even when there hasn’t been a new album, they’ve toured consistently over the years making their live performances very sharp. While they haven’t had a U.S. hit since the 80’s, they’ve remained extremely popular in Europe and have released many albums (that have gone quickly out of print). In particular, their last album “Secrets” from 2001 was amazing - a blend of instrumental electronica along with their signature edgy, melodic, pop music.


Since they only had about 45 minutes, their set focused squarely on their hits and concert favorites including “Mirror Man”, “Love Action”, “Sound of the Crowd”, “Tell Me When”, “The Lebanon”, “Seconds”, “Fascination”, “Don’t You Want Me Baby” and their encore of “Electric Dreams”.


The band looked and sounded phenomenal, particuarly lead singer Phil Oakey who never remained in one place for too long - constantly walking (or running) from one side of the stage to the other. Singers Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley remained stationed at their mics most of time but did go backstage three times during the show for costume changes (and each time Joanne’s dress got shorter and shorter)…


...Anyway…the Regeneration tour was a great evening out and trip back in time musically. Each band had contributed, in their own way, to some timeless music from the 80’s. I can’t turn on the radio these days without hearing “Always Something There To Remind Me”. Forget about Human League’s “Don’t You Wan’t Me Baby” - which reminds me, the 10 year-old daughter of a friend referred to it as “the song from that Oreo commercial”.Many of these songs have transcended any chart positions, stigmas or fads once associated with them. These songs have been re-discovered by a new generation of fans who are embracing much of this for the first time. A Regeneration indeed.


Playboy.com August 2008
Robert DeSalvo


Time After Time If you’re a Gen Xer or just a fan of Reagan-era music, the Regeneration Tour 2008 is your summer pass to new wave nirvana. Now crisscrossing the country for the remainder of August, Regeneration brings together several classic ‘80s artists—The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, ABC, Naked Eyes and, on some dates, Flock of Seagulls—and gives each of them about 30-to-45 minutes of stage time to play their greatest hits. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for filler or obscure tracks, which will make those only interested in a nostalgia trip feel, like, totally rad.


This editor—a certified Atari-age wonder—caught the summer tour at the Gibson Theater at Universal Studios near Los Angeles and is still “feeling fascination,” as The Human League might say…


..Finishing off the flashback were The Human League, who are officially new wave royalty and have been together in various incarnations since 1977. Lead singer Philip Oakley along with backing vocalists Susan Anne Sulley and Joanne Catherall delivered pitch-perfect renditions of their most memorable hits, including “Human,” “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” “Tell Me When” and “Keep Feeling Fascination.” More importantly, the group seemed completely contemporary with urgent, poignant songs like “Lebanon” and “Seconds” that resonate even more today then when they were released. Moments like these jar nostalgia nuts into remembering that there was sometimes substance behind the music of the Me Generation—something any generation can appreciate.