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Ugly Duckling - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 2/5/2013

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 29 / 4 / 2013

Ugly Duckling - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 2/5/2013


Dave Goodwin finds 80's electronic giants Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark still standing the test of time at a gig to promote their new album 'English Electric' at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham

It is at this point of the average review where we give the reader a bit of information about the band, the musicians inolved and other general information. But what could I say that you don't know already about a band that have been one of Britain's best loved groups, and are still knocking the hits out over 30 years since they first started? There can't be many music fans that don't know the big three letters of OMD and what they stand for...can there? They have a new album out, 'English Electric'. Their sound has gone back almost to their beginnings and to the synth-driven brilliance they are known for. Their line-up is their original line-up. Oh, and one more thing, they are absolutely as brilliant and fantastic as they were back in 1979. As we came in to the Royal Concert Hall, there was a big lad sitting on the right-hand side who I noticed straightaway because he was telling the security guy that he was a lifelong fan, and knew every word to every song, and his dream was to sing with Andy McCluskey, although he knew that would never happen. Near also to where we sitting and on our left was a lad who looked too young to know the early stuff, but who admitted to his girlfriend that he loved OMD and thought that the new album was brilliant. And directly in front of us were a group of people that were obviously old enough to remember OMD first time around, but could well be so far out their faces not to notice anyway. John Foxx, one of the original members of Ultravox, came on first, and received a great reception and reaction to every track he played. Taking us back to 'Underpass', 'Burning Car' and my favourite 'Europe after the Rain', he was a big part player, and had his own studio which artists such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, the Cure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds all used. OMD began with 'Metroland' from the new album, and it was evident that McCluskey was going to be in top form as he wandered across the stage. Then to my utter surprise, as they drifted into 'Messages', the young lad started to jump and down and shout, "This is brilliant. This is 'Messages'. It is brilliant!" as if no-one knew what it was. The two inebriated couples in front of us were now in the side aisle and dancing, although I couldn't fathom how they managed as they were all so far gone. The stage show was as electric as usual, and totally complimented McLuskey as he bounded around and twisted and spun in all directions. Paul Humphreys came to the fore for 'Forever Live and Die', and then McCluskey took over again with a classy rendition of 'If You Leave'. Other high points in the set were the two versions of 'Joan of Arc', one after the other, taking us back to 'Architecture and Morality' days, the young lad going bananas with each track. By the time we got to 'Locomotion' McCluskey had got down to crowd level, and was low five-ing the occupants of the front row. When he got to the end of the row on the left-hand side, he lowered the mic to one person in the crowd. Yep, you guessed it. The big lad had got the mic up to his face, and was actually singing along with his idol, and his dream was done. During the set members of the group in front had got themselves ejected for secretly sipping on vodka from their bags, had had a fantastic argument, and all made up again in a big group hug, all in the space of four or five tracks. Bloody brilliant! The lad at the side turned out to know EVERY track they played, and insisted that they played 'Statues' from the incredible 'Organisation' album. One thing remains though with OMD. They put on a good show. No matter when or where McCluskey and the crew put everything into it. And they are still 'Sailing on the Seven Seas'. Not only that but they have picked up a new generations of fan too. At this rate they will pick up momentum enough to pack the Royal Concert Hall out again. Every time they come back to the Royal Concert Hall it is slightly more busy, and each gig is a bit more raw and raucous than the last. It seems to me OMD are going full circle and becoming as big now as they were then. Let's hope they continue to stand the test of time! Set List: Metroland Messages Tesla Girls Dresden History of Modern (Part 1) (Forever) Live and Die If You Leave Night Cafe Souvenir Joan of Arc Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) Our System Talking Loud and Clear Atomic Ranch Kissing the Machine So in Love Sister Mary Says Locomotion Sailing On The Seven Seas Enola Gay Walking on the Milky Way Electricity

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