The Human League live @ Dublin 13 Aug 2015

Horse racing and pop music don’t make for the most obvious bedfellows but since it started back in 2010, the Bulmers Live at Leopardstown series has gone from strength to strength. Spread over eight Thursday evenings during the summer months, this combination of a night at the races together with music from an array of local and international talent has proved enormously successful.

With the heft of a major drinks sponsorship behind them, the promoters have succeeded in attracting some pretty big names from the world of rock and pop and this year it’s left to eighties pop icons the Human League to bring the curtain down on proceedings for another year.

It turned out to be an inspired choice – with the weather gods providing one of few balmy evenings of a dismal summer, the Human League found the sweet spot between pure nostalgia and pop perfection as they unleashed one pristine hit after the next. The predominantly middle aged audience were old enough to remember a time when the Human League ruled the airwaves, scoring a number one with the triple platinum album Dare in 1981.

The band went on to release another six albums, but it’s the tracks from their most popular record that this audience want to hear tonight, and they duly deliver over the course of a short one hour set.

Opening with one of their biggest hits ‘Mirror Man’, singer Phil Oakey flanked by Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley had the crowd eating out of their hands as songs like ‘Love Action’,  ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’ and ‘Open Your Heart’ helped the racing crowd forget a night of discarded betting slips and heavy losses.

But there’s one song that everyone has come along to hear tonight – ‘Don’t You Want Me?’ is rightfully hailed as a classic pop song of its era and tonight it is greeted like a long lost friend, the crowd singing along to every word. It is truly one of music’s most unadulterated three minutes of pure pop nirvana, and a song destined to be played on the radio for many more years to come.

They finish with Oakey’s solo collaboration with Giorgio Moroder – ‘if anything, the cheesy, goofiness of ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ draws an even bigger audience response than ‘Don’t You Want Me?’.  The simple, unabashed joy of a song with no pretence of being anything other than a joyful singalong, perfectly in tune with the mood of an audience who left with big smiles and fond memories.