Watch: Heaven 17 dishes out hits, covers David Bowie (twice!) in first-ever U.S. concert

This past week saw pioneering British synthpop group Heaven 17 do something it never had done before: perform a live concert in the United States. Specifically, Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory brought their live show to New York City’s Highline Ballroom on Wednesday night.

The group performed hits “Let Me Go,” “Temptation” and the once again topical “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang,” as well as songs from Ware’s tenure in The Human League (“Circus of Death,” “Being Boiled”) and not one but two David Bowie covers (“Let’s Dance,” “Life on Mars”).

Heaven 17 long had been more of a studio entity than a live vehicle. The group, which formed in 1980, didn’t perform live until 1997, and, until this week, had never performed in the U.S. It’s a short run, though. Heaven 17 is playing one more show, today at the Music Tastes Good Festival in Long Beach, Calif.

In a 2010 interview, we asked Ware about bringing Heaven 17 to the U.S. to play live:

“We’d love to. I’m desperate to do it. Only problem is finding promoters who can afford to pay for us to come over and make it economically feasible. We wouldn’t be confident in booking venues with more than about 1,500 seats, and that’s difficult with a six-piece band. … I’d love to do it. I know for a fact we’d do well in New York, but you can’t do that amount of work for one gig. If any of your readers are promoters who want to bring us over, we’d be very happy to talk to them.”

Below, check out the full setlist from the New York gig, and a selection of live fan-shot video.

 

Setlist: Heaven 17, Highline Ballroom, New York, NY, 9/27/17

1. “Circus of Death” (Human League cover)
2. “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”
3. “Crushed By the Wheels of Industry”
4. “Play to Win”
5. “Geisha Boys and Temple Girls”
6. “Come Live With Me”
7. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (Righteous Brothers cover)
8. “We Live So Fast”
9. “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie cover)
10. “Let’s All Make a Bomb”
11. “Let Me Go”
12. “Penthouse and Pavement”
13. “Temptation”

Encore:
14. “Life on Mars?” (David Bowie cover)
15. “Being Boiled” (Human League cover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • David

    Thank you for posting. I Love Heaven 17. (I wish “Sunset Now” was part of the setlist). Thanks again!

     
  • Jim Turoczy

    “(Human League cover)”? They WERE the Human League!

     
 

 

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