Saturday 6th March 2010 happened to be the night The Electricity Club was conceived, but it was also when HEAVEN 17 played their triumphant show at the Magna Science Park in Sheffield.
Playing the ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ album in full, along with associated tracks such as ‘I’m Your Money’, covers from BEF’s ‘Music Of Quality & Distinction Vol1’ and a version of THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Being Boiled’, this terrific evening has been dynamically captured on a new DVD set produced by Strong Films and released by Blink TV.
The live set is a timely reminder as to how much of ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ era sounds like the roots of modern electronic dance music.
The accompanying musicians Asa Bennett (guitar and programming), Joel Farland (electronic percussion), Julian Crampton (bass and synth) and Billie Godfrey (vocals) act as a cohesive unit to bring ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ up-to-date for the 21st Century while still allowing the songs to breathe as a snapshot of 1981 with political and social commentary that is as relevant today as it was then.
Premiered in edited form by BBC2 at Easter, the entire concert in front of 2000 fans is featured in the package, along with entertaining rehearsal footage, an intimate session at Glenn Gregory’s home studio featuring an insight into the process of rebuilding tracks for live consumption and fascinating behind-the-scenes footage from EMI’s Abbey Road studios where the production masters for ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ were being sorted for remastering and sampling following tape baking.
An extended version of the ‘HEAVEN17: The Story of Penthouse and Pavement’ documentary is also included. Featuring personal insights from Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware, there are also contributions from OMD’s Paul Humphreys, PROPAGANDA’s Claudia Brücken, Kim Wilde, LA ROUX’s Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid, Back To The Phuture’s Mark Jones, journalist Paul Morley, Stephen Fry, artist Ray Smith, designer Malcolm Garrett, former manager Bob Last and THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s Philip Oakey. One of the most intriguing moments is when Martyn Ware confronts Phil Oakey about the events that led up to the break-up of the original HUMAN LEAGUE which was engineered by Bob Last. This of course drove Martyn Ware to where we are today with ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ still standing up as being one of the important albums of the ‘Synth Britannia’ era.
Other points of interest include Claudia Brücken discussing how daring it was for HEAVEN 17 to confront the resurgence of Fascism in Europe and while Stephen Fry talks about the successful mix of politics and stylish music in their class struggle against the heartless Thatcher government. In a touching sequence, both Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware also pay tribute to Ian Craig Marsh who left the band in 2006 to persue other avenues. In a closing sequence, OMD’s Paul Humphreys sums things up by saying “Penthouse and Pavement, it was a specific journey with a vision; I think that’s why it’s lasting”.
“We are so excited about the DVD release of our homecoming show, it was definitely one the most treasured moments of our career to date” the band added, “The additional documentary really gives an insight to the band and captures the live digital visual show beautifully”. This package is the perfect souvenir for anyone who has had the pleasure of HEAVEN 17’s company during this recent live tour or who has the ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ album in their record collection.
The Special Edition 2-Disc DVD of Penthouse and Pavement Live in Concert including the documentary ‘HEAVEN 17: The Story of Penthouse and Pavement’ is available now. The first 200 DVDs purchased via www.heaven17.com will be signed.
The 3 disc collector’s edition of ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ released by Virgin Records is also available.
With thanks to Kayleigh Watson at Name PR
Text by Chi Ming Lai
30th November 2010