Case Number 20914: Small Claims Court

HEAVEN 17: LIVE AT SCALA, LONDON

MVD Visual // 2010 // 148 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 16th, 2011

The Charge

Let me go!

The Case

Break out your Atari 26000 along with your Rubik's Cube, and get ready for one of the most underrated dance bands of the '80s. Heaven 17 always consisted of three guys from England, two of whom fled from The Human League to create a new group with the mission to fuse icy synth rock with rhythm and blues influences. Ex-Human League-ers Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware both show up on the keyboards, and ex-photographer Glenn Gregory sings the lead vocals. This 2005 concert was timed around a new release from the band called Before / After which offered a new batch of dance songs from the group. This show was taped in front of a near-capacity club crowd in London's Scala. The songs include:

1. Intro
2. Are You Ready?
3. I'm Gonna Make You Fall in Love With Me
4. Geisha Boys & Temple Girls
5. Come Live With Me
6. (We Don't Need) This Fascist Groove Thing
7. What Would it Take?
8. Hands up to Heaven
9. Into the Blue
10. Crushed by the Wheels of Industry
11. Let Me Go
12. Way It Is
13. Penthouse & Pavement
14. Temptation
15. Do I Believe?
16. Being Boiled

The group onstage is the original lineup, and added to great effect are three back-up singers who do some of the heavy lifting when Glenn just can't quite get there vocally. Truth be known, Heaven 17 has always been primarily a studio creation. They never played concerts often, and you can tell that the trio is a little rough around the edges when it comes to a performance. But they are game to span their career and muddle through for the adoring fans. It's fun to see these guys live, and nostalgia often makes up for any lack in the actual show. It's filmed well, and the venue is intimate. You can see the crowd bopping along. It feels exactly like what you would expect from a Heaven 17 Show in 2005.

The DVD Heaven 17: Live At Scala, London clocks in at close to two hours and twenty minutes. It includes a look at footage shot at a sound check with fans present as well as a trip to the studio with the band. They sit down for a long trip down memory lane, and the interview is interesting and well done. This is pretty much exactly what a fan would want between the show, the backstage, and studio footage. The sound mix is a simple stereo which is fine given that this is a club date where the sound works best in two channels. Surround would be overkill. It's an awesome chance to see Heaven 17 after all these years in a rare live appearance. I hate that it is not 1985, but twenty-some years later can we gripe too hard?

The Verdict

Guilty of loving the '80s.

Review content copyright © 2011 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 148 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurette
* Interview

Accomplices
* Official Site
http://www.heaven17.com/