I don’t like doing these kinds of posts. Just posting a video seems lazy to me, although I have done it before.
But there’s something about this performance that I want to discuss.
Everyone knows The Human League and their songs “Don’t You Want Me” and the one above, “Human.” Some know Human from those insurance commercials a few years ago (if you’re in the US), so there’s a tendency to dismiss it as just another cheesy 80s song.
And that’s where everyone is wrong.
I mean, it sounds alright in the studio recording. But live, it becomes something else.
At least during this live performance, the song’s subject, the regret of infidelity and the simultaneously true yet stupid excuses to justify it (“I’m only human”) becomes much more potent.
The performers don’t do much. Nothing really. But as the song comes to a close, watching Phil Oakey meander to the back of the stage, get uncomfortably close to the drummer, and gaze at the crap flashing across the background like he’s having a mental breakdown on stage is a subtle piece of performance art.
He has no words.
He knows what he’s done, and has to live with it.
This is done to the soundtrack of a haunting keyboard and a drum beat that absolutely slaps. I don’t know if it’s the acoustics of the room, but there’s a dimension to the bass keys that, well…it just hits you.
There’s something about this video that just hits.