9.30 Club, Washington D.C.
The one who looks like a gnome; the other gnome; the Chartered Accountant having a night out, and the gang leader lookalike. All dressed in black. “This is going to be a moody night” I thought.
I’ve never seen OMD live before. I’ve been a fan since the 80s, and was friend and worked with their bassist from The Id. So, my mental image of them was moody greys and blacks and meaningful delivery. And that felt like the best case. Worst case was that this would be a bunch of blokes phoning it in.
First night of the US tour, and they sold out. It was crammed in there to an extent I don’t recall for other sellouts.
Reader, it was fucking aces. The sound was just wonderful. You could every note and every word, which isn’t always accomplished at the 930. The lighting was beautifully managed; proper son et lumiere stuff going on.
And the band…well. They didn’t phone it in. Whatever plaudits Andy McCluskey gets for this show – and he should get plenty – he earned them. He worked his ass off – the ‘dancing’, the singing, playing, and his interaction with the audience. He got white DC to dance, and that isn’t easy. The rest of the band didn’t miss a beat (which made me wonder a bit) and Paul Humphrey’s vocals hit the right spot as well. It was also really well crafted in terms of tune choice.
An interesting mix. I was expecting a bunch of older white men in black leather jackets. A real bl-end of all ages and types. Some were clearly reliving their youth and others had come for the new stuff.
But the affection for the bad was something else. I don’t know if it’s just us locals, or if OMD have such a devoted following elsewhere in the US, but it seemed like the band were taken aback by just how well the crowd worked with them. It was interesting – I’ve seen bands there where the fans were, well, almost manic in their devotion. OMD, and I think RT at the same venue, seem to engender affection and a desire to share in a mutually understood good time.
It made me think..
You know when you see the band genuinely having a good time and enjoying themselves it buoys the audience? That. It felt like you were seeing a bunch of guys for whom this is their weekend gig, except they’re really good at what they do. They were having a blast and so were we.
Oh. And this. In the days of streaming and shuffle buttons, it seems that the lost art of track order, once such a critical element in albums, is now restricted to your concert playlist. And OMD could give lessons. Perfect. The blend of old and new; moodier tunes and absolute stompers. Closing the first piece with Enola Gay and then the encore being older crowd favorites, and then closing with the first hit…
Wouldn’t change a thing at all. 5 stars, would recommend.