WHEN they performed at the Tatton Park picnic concert on Sunday, the lead singer of The Human League, Phil Oakey, thanked the fans for their loyalty to the group.

His words were heartfelt and touching, as the songwriting genius behind this iconic electro outfit reminded us they’ve been around for the best part of 30 years.

But when you see them live one thing that immediately strikes you about Sheffield’s finest is that they perform with an energy and passion that belies their musical longevity.

A sensational set included The Sound of the Crowd, with its thudding synthesised beat and featured many of my own personal favourites, from their politically charged single The Lebanon to the brilliant Open Your Heart. Oakey may be 50 something now but his voice has remained as strong as his stage presence and the band brought their set to a close - it was over far, far too quickly - with Together In Electric Dreams.

The whole event had an 80s theme and The Human League received top class support from the likes of ABC, Belinda Carlisle, Go West and Heaven 17. Of all the support acts, Ms Carlisle, peddling her trademark soft rock, was the most impressive, sounding as good as she does on her studio recordings. Another music highlight was Heaven 17’s performance of their classic hit Temptation, a song that still sends my spirits soaring every time I hear it.

But this was The Human League’s show and I hope they continue touring for many years to come, reminding this ageing hack of a youth mis-spent. Rick Bowen * Star rating - The Human League - *****