Washington Post August 2008
Christopher Porter


Not-So-New Wavers Still Thrill at Wolf Trap

Human League had Wolf Trap dreaming of the '80s.

It's impossible to spike your hair when you no longer have any. But even follicularly challenged former new wavers could do the shoulder-dip shimmy and off-beat head-bob at Regeneration Tour, which stopped at Wolf Trap on Tuesday.


The '80s package featured, in order, Naked Eyes, A Flock of Seagulls, ABC, Belinda Carlisle and the Human League, each doing a greatest-hits set that thrilled the crowd, which filled the lawn area but left the seated section about half empty.


While new wave is now a mature ripple, the artists featured on the Regeneration Tour were all in good voice, sound and spirits, happy to have their heydays remembered by people recalling their own. But the bands made several self-aware jokes, too, indicating comfort with the oldies party. Pete Byrne of Naked Eyes said, "In those days [1981], people used to pogo in front of us. But you can just take it easy." That didn't stop one woman from hopping onstage during "(What) In the Name of Love" and doing some kind of flamenco-Devo dance -- and then slipping and falling on her fanny.


The Human League's Philip Oakey made note of the slick stage conditions, but it didn't slow him down: The natty-suited singer ran back and forth throughout his group's set, sliding to a stop each time. But even he doffed his shoes and socks entirely for an encore performance of "Together in Electric Dreams," whose chorus summed up Regeneration Tour: "We'll always be together/However far it seems (love never ends) . . . Together in electric dreams."