Did we want them, baby? Oh (oh-oh-ohh) yes.

Last night Sheffield's synth-pop pioneers The Human League materialised at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre looking exactly as if they'd beamed in straight from the future.

The stage was pure 80s sci-fi, with the group's three piece band and their instruments (two synths, two keytars and an electronic drum kit) all presented in a crisp, clinical white which would be bathed in warm neon purples, reds and greens throughout the night. Behind the band a giant screen projecting various graphics, old videos, slogans and, at one point, even hellish fire and brimstone.

The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light
The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light

Vocalist and main-man Philip Oakey, a towering, slim presence, stalked the stage looking very much like a man who fell to earth. He started off dressed in a The Fifth Element-style, PVC, sleeveless dress/coat type thing that was sort of a cross between Gaultier high fashion and an emergency poncho.

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Flanking him at the front were singers Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, dressed to kill in glittering evening gowns and somehow managing to emanate a fashionably detached cool even as they sung, shimmied and smiled.

The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light
The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light

The aesthetic was neon-noir and often looked like a scene straight out of films like The Neon Demon or Drive. The Human League's arty roots were very much on display and still remain very much ahead of their time.

As do their tunes. The phenomenon of Don't You Want Me aside, the band have a solid catalogue of gold to call upon and really, you couldn't have asked for a better set list.

Their 1981 classic album Dare did most of the heavy lifting but was supplemented with hits from across the years.

The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light
The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light

Standouts included the rousing ska-cribbing anthem The Sound of the Crowd which got people out of their seats and saw Oakey in full gobby punk spirit and volume, the percolating arpeggios of new wave classic Love Action, and an extremely heavy, vibes-wise that is, rendition of Seconds.

The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light
The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light

The jubilant synth-funk of (Keep Feeling) Fascination kept the groove going and gave all three singers a solo spotlight before the huge synth riff of Don't You Want Me rang out and got everyone - and by this stage it really was everyone - shouting along.

It was a triumphant way to close the set and the group were clearly giving it their all. Oakey, desperate and pleading and skirting around the fringes while Sulley was all dismissive sass as she took center stage.

The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light
The Human League performing at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, 2017. Photo: Doug Peters / Ambient Light

An encore was demanded and the band returned to trip everyone out with the hypnotic mysticism and hard synth riffing of early hit Being Boiled before waving goodbye with Oakey's vibrant, insanely catchy collaboration with disco king Giorgio Morodoer and promising that we'd always be Together in Electric Dreams.