The league of extraordinary gentlemen...
John Foxx and Louis Gordon live at Sheffield City Hall, Tuesday 9th December 2003 - Support for The Human League
I had booked to see The Human League many months in advance, so you can only imagine my excitement, when, just weeks before the sow, it was announced John Foxx would be the support act! Anyway, the night came, and I was having a pre-gig drink with a friend, in a bar opposite Sheffield City Hall. Then I turned around and nearly dropped my pint, at the unexpected sight of Mr Foxx sitting right behind me!! I hadn't seen a recent picture of John, but I could tell it was him - and indeed it was. He was (as he always is) very charming and easy to talk to. I seem to recall we spent a long time talking about his album cover images and how he had used stills from old film in the Crash and Burn booklet.
But all too soon he had to go and get ready, but I was still on a real high from this unexpected encouter, and this only added to the excitement of seeing him play live for the first time.
An hour later, the house lights dimmed, and John and Louis came on stage to a rapturous applause and a backdrop of exquisitely hung curtains. The short setlist didn't disappoint, with the tracks from Metamatic not even sounding half their age, and perfectly complimenting the new tracks from the Crash and Burn album. The beefed up version of “Metal Beat” with it’s mehcanical bass and clanking rhythms stuck in my head for days after the show. Another high point was the new arrangement of the old Ultravox! track, “My Sex", which absolutely blew me away. Every track sounded fantastic, each one bettering the previous, leaving me astounded at how two men and a couple of synthesisers could make such a huge sound. One thing that struck me about the eleven-song set was the sweeping power of Foxx's smooth vocals as they echoed around the auditorium.
An amazing evening – I was certainly not disappointed. The only disappointment came when they had to leave the stage, to make way for The Human League. I was left wanting more, but at the same time, it felt like I had finally experienced Foxx’s musical world for real – and I wanted to get back there right away!
Intro / No-One Driving / Plaza / Metal Beat / Broken Furniture / Crash and Burn / Drive / Underpass / My Sex / Endlessly
Review and photography by Alex Storer