“Heaven 17 Sent”
Observatory, Santa Ana 10/1/22
Review by Jason Reed
UK new wave and synth-pop legends Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 made a historic return to the U.S. for their first national tour in over 40 years, performing on October 1st at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California to a packed house.
People not familiar with this band’s influence need to study up. Hailing from Sheffield, England along with other influential bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, the Human League and ABC, Heaven 17 formed in 1980 and later secured their rightful place in musical history with such songs as “Let Me Go,” “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” and “Temptation.” Their style was unique from their contemporaries, reflecting a stylistic new wave coolness while also incorporating the immediacy of dance and club sensibilities. Through the years Martyn Ware also continued to leave his creative fingerprints on the music industry through his studio production work with acts such as Terence Trent D’Arby, Marc Almond and Erasure.
I had the honor of meeting the band after soundcheck and was privy to some “world premier” news when Martyn revealed to me that their album “Before After” was directly influenced by the tragic events of September 11th, with the album’s cover design being a direct homage to the Twin Towers.
In addition to singing duties, the charismatic Glenn Gregory entertained the audience throughout the night with his quips, humorously strategic profanity and colorful storytelling. Other highlights of the evening included the band’s energizing performance of “Crushed By The Wheels of Industry,” “We Live So Fast,” and a spot-on rendition of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” “Let Me Go” is an immortal new wave classic (near and dear to the heart of this reviewer) and hearing Heaven 17 perform it live was just as satisfying as I imagined it to be.
The setlist for the night:
For more information check out www.heaven17.com.