Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark @ House of Blues Anaheim – 03/30/2018
With a recent explosion of ’80s revival rock & pop tours, it certainly appears that there has never been a hotter time for artists to tour and play hits they created over 30 years ago. The House of Blues Anaheim was ground central for a time machine trip back to the decade that brought us the end of the Cold War, video games and MTV with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) on Friday, March 30th. The resurgence is not relegated to those that lived through the 1980s but quite noticeably a younger generation of fans who have been exposed to the pop culture from decades ago by their parents. This particular show was an immediate sell out, this coming off another capacity crowd the night earlier at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
The English electronic act that was founded in 1978 consists of lead singer and bassist Andrew McCluskey along with Paul Humphreys (keyboards and occasional lead vocals) – these two are the clear focus of the band while drummer Stuart Kershaw and Martin Cooper (keyboards and sax) fill in the gaps. When not playing bass, McCluskey struts his stuff all over the stage with what could be best described as a form of expressive dance moves (while some could possibly call it bad ‘dad’ dance moves). This was apparent during the band’s first two songs “Ghost Star” and “Isotype”, both are newer tunes that much of the crowd was not familiar with. The packed crowd patiently waited through these and were rewarded with a much welcomed hit from 1980 “Messages”, the first of many familiar hits the band would present this evening. McCluskey broke out his bass and swung it violently around the stage to the screams of those in not only the pit but upstairs in VIP.
They sprinkled in 5 songs from last year’s Punishment Of Luxury release, which again were tolerated by the crowd but the venue came alive during a mid-set four song barrage of hits. Humphrey’s took lead vocal duties on “(Forever) Live & Die” and “Souvenir” while the band’s biggest hit, “If You Leave” (from 1986’s Pretty In Pink) and “Joan Of Arc” saw McCluskey in his element. Towards the back half of the set, the band held out additional chart toppers such as “So In Love” and “Locomotion” before ending the main set with “Enola Gay”, which elicited chants of “OMD! OMD! OMD!” from the crowd upon completion.
Upon returning for their 3 song encore, it was clear that McCluskey and company were extremely appreciative for the positive response from the boisterous crowd. The sentimental “Dreaming” (a top 20 hit here in the US) kicked off the encore and basically created a giant dance pit both downstairs and in the mezzanine while “Secrets” was dedicated to the ladies by McCluskey and saw Humphreys take his final turn on lead vocals for the evening.
Stating that everything “must end at the beginning”, McCluskey introduced the band’s closing song “Electricity”. While it may be the band’s fastest song, it is actually the first single they released way back in 1978 and still packs a punch live. You could literally feel the ground shake from all the dancing upon the first note of the classic hit that jump started the band forty years ago.
Openers GGOOLLDD provided a lively brief set that included props that included flamingos as well as an explosion of lights. Hailing from Milwaukee, the electro pop band is led by singer Margaret Butler who provided a charismatic performance that was appreciated by the early arriving crowd.
OMD has consistently shown that they well deserve the legacy that they have created. They influenced the early careers of many electro pop artists such as Vince Clarke (Erasure, Yaz) and Howard Jones while their work have been sampled in modern songs and covered by countless artists. While they may be best known for a song that they reluctantly supplied to the iconic John Hughes move Pretty In Pink, it seemed as though everyone in attendance this evening had their own personal connection with these multiple classic hits from the 80s. This round of touring concludes Saturday, April 14th in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with the band returning to the UK in late May and June for shows and festivals in the UK and Europe during the summer of 2018.
OMD Setlist: Ghost Star | Isotype | Messages | Tesla Girls | History Of Modern (Part 1) | One More Time | (Forever) Live and Die | If You Leave | Souvenir | Joan Of Arc | Maid Of Orleans | The Right Side? Please Remain Seated, Frontline, Decimal | Of All The Things We’ve Made | What Have We Done | So In Love | Locomotion | The Punishment Of Luxury | Sailing On The Seven Seas | Enola Gay Encore: Dreaming | Secrets | Electricity
GGOOLLDD Photo Gallery
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark Photo Gallery