Review by Jasmine Storm with Photography by Cath Dupuy

Heaven 17 never toured when The Luxury Gap album first came out even with it being their most successful album. It contains masterpieces such as Come Live With Me, Let Me Go, We Live So Fast and of course their most well-known track, Temptation. To hear it played live is an experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. This is a phenomenal show and Glenn and Martyn know how to throw a party. The London leg of the tour was hosted at Shepherd’s Bush Empire – a favourite venue of the band. The tour is currently over halfway through and yet on this cold November night, London came out in droves, queuing up to see these 80’s legends. The audience were rewarded by Heaven 17 telling them that they were the best audience – apparently even better than Liverpool. The audience lapped it up.

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Support was from X-Propaganda (The girls from that fabulous 80’s electronic band, Propaganda). X-Propaganda performed a 7-track set including Sorry For Laughing, Duel and Dr Mabuse. They are the perfect support and a good match for Heaven 17 with their raw and edgy synth sound. Claudia and Susanne had electronic, guitar and drum support to give a full rounded sound but what was most compelling was the girls themselves. Both Susanne’s and Claudia are talented and beautiful. Your eyes are naturally drawn to these two uber cool ladies who get a lot of love from the audience.

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Hearing Heaven 17 walk on stage to the BEF Ident music always brings a shiver down my spine. I can’t recall the time I first heard this but more recently, I associate it with the start of an amazing gig. And Heaven 17 did not disappoint. Playing The Luxury Gap album in full opens with Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry. A song that really can sum up Heaven 17’s Industrial Sheffield roots. The great thing about playing this album in full is you get to hear rare album tracks that don’t often get an outing on a live set including Who’ll Stop the Rain and Key To The World. Glenn and Martyn gave the audience a choice when it came to Temptation. Normally played as the last track of the night, Martyn said the album should be played in its original order but Glenn disagreed so let the audience decide. Martyn won. So, Temptation was played as the fifth track of the night.

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Martyn Ware is a founder member of The Human League and for those of you who are fans of early Human League, you are in for a treat as we have a mini Human League Fiesta. Glenn does an excellent job of covering Human League tracks and Phil Oakey is not missed at all. The audience were treated to Circus Of Death followed by Crow And A Baby, for which Martyn said the audience are invited to send answers on a postcard in if they know what it’s about. The audience were then offered a choice of Loving Feeling or Being Boiled. The latter won and we were all honoured to hear the beginning of Being Boiled played on the original keyboard from over 40 years ago.

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Following the Human League set, we are canvassed as their brothers and sisters to join in with (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang which is even more relevant today than it was 35 years ago. It just shows how much Heaven 17 were ahead of the game. Their first Top Of The Pops appearance was Play To Win which is followed by the title track of their first album, Penthouse And Pavement. Glenn joked about how bad their marketing was for I’m Your Money, however, despite it not charting, the audience were dancing and singing along. There is a mutual love between the audience and Heaven 17 and it feels natural and organic. Martyn and Glenn have such a great friendship and its obvious on stage with them joking around and even joked about being the new Morecombe and Wise and that Martyn makes a good cuppa. Yes, you can put the album on at home – but look at what you miss if you don’t come to see it live?! Heaven 17 have always been known for being smartly dressed but Martyn took it to a new level tonight by sporting the most amazing uber-cool jacket; an exact replica of Alex’s coat in Clockwork Orange, which is where Heaven 17 got their name.

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An unexpected treat was to hear Claudia being invited back on stage to duet with Glenn on When Your Heart Runs Out Of Time from the 1985 Nic Roeg film, Insignificance. It was a very unique and special moment. Both Martyn and Glenn are big David Bowie fans themselves and often incorporate a Bowie cover in their encore. Tonight, it was Let’s Dance and what a great dance cover it was. The final encore track is Temptation. That’s the joy of this gig – you get tempted twice! This version is the 1992 brothers in rhythm remix which is very dance orientated. The female support singers were Kelly and Rachel who knock it out of the park – their vocals complement each other and this song especially shows off their talent. I also want to make a special mention to Berenice who often hides behind her keyboards but tonight we tempted her to come forward with a mobile keyboard. She is multi-talented with a great voice too. She is currently working with Glenn on another project called Afterhere.

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This is a fantastic night out and if you attend it could well be the best thing you do this year. It’s almost sold out so grab a ticket if you can and celebrate this Heaven 17 at their very best.

Set List
Crushed by the wheels of industry
Who’ll stop the rain
Let me go
Key to the world
Temptation
Come Live With Me
Lady Ice and Mr Hex
We live so fast
The best kept secret
Circus of death
A crow and a baby
Being Boiled
We don’t need this fascist groove thang
I’m your money
Play to win
Penthouse and pavement

When your heart runs out of time
Let’s dance
Temptation

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