Level 42 @ Birmingham Symphony Hall – Tuesday 7th October 2014


Review by Dean Pedley

Some two decades since their commercial peak Level 42 continue to attract a loyal following that warmly welcomed them to Symphony Hall and were rewarded with a set list made up of hits, deep cuts and a sprinkling of new material. Still led by singer / bassist Mark King and keyboardist / vocalist Mike Lindup the 2014 version of the band also includes a three piece horn section although the brothers Gould have departed to be replaced by competent if largely anonymous session players on guitars and drums respectively.

Level 42
Level 42

Taking the stage to the signature slap and thump of Mark King’s LED illuminated bass guitar they launch into ‘Love Games’ and it is evident they have lost none of the instrumental polish for which they were renowned. Newer songs such as ‘Sirens’ remain faithful to their trademark sound built around blending soul, light jazz, funk and carefree pop with the contrasting vocal styles of King and Lindup. Although King is the focal point for much of the near two hour set the latter is very much in the spotlight on ‘It’s Not the Same for Us’, ‘The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Starchild’ which finds him running energetically along the stage encouraging audience participation.

The setting at Symphony Hall usually makes for a reserved atmosphere but everyone rises to their feet for the trip down memory lane supplied by ‘Something About You’ and ‘Lessons in Love’ only to sit back down again for main set closer ‘Build Myself A Rocket’. By the encore of ‘Chinese Way’ and ‘Hot Water’ it is clear that although the days of filling arenas may be long behind them Level 42 are one of the most durable bands to have come out of the 80’s commercial pop era and remain a polished live attraction.

Set List:-
1. Love Games
2. Where’s Yo Head At
3. Are You Hearing (What I Hear)
4. 88
5. Mind On You
6. Kansas City Milkman
7. It’s Not The Same For Us
8. My Independence Day
9. Leaving Me Now
10. Tracie
11. The Sun Goes Down
12. Sirens
13. Starchild
14. Something About You
15. Lessons In Love
16. Build Myself A Rocket

17. Heaven In My Hands
18. Chinese Way
19. Hot Water