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6th and 7th October 2018
Most will realise by now that I consider OMD to be one of the best live acts around at the moment, particularly when compared to some of their ‘80s contemporaries. And these two gigs- the second time the band has performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra- cemented this fact, despite the differences between these concerts and a ‘usual’ OMD gig. On tour or at festivals the general opinion is that it’s the band’s energy (particularly lead singer Andy McCluskey’s performance and ability to hold an audience) that makes them stand out from the crowd. These two concerts, on the other hand, showed us a different side to OMD, and whilst there was admittedly the occasional bout of ‘windmill dancing’ from McCluskey (and indeed certain audience members during the second half), the primary focuses were the songs themselves and their intricate orchestral arrangements.
One of the most interesting things about the set was the changing dynamics between and within the two halves, and in particular the emotional effect that this had on the audience. Certain tracks from the first half (where the ‘obscure’ songs were nestled) like ‘Stanlow’, ‘Sealand’ and the stunning ‘Ghost Star’ left most of us reaching for tissues, whilst the breezy realism of ‘90s b-side ‘The New Dark Age’ and the moving effortlessness of ‘The View From Here’ were both transformed into something strangely uplifting.
If the first half was for the hardcore OMD fans, with its ambient album tracks and brand new instrumental ‘The Daughter of the Minotaur’ (possibly the highlight of the evening), then the second half was probably more to the taste of a casual listener.
Saying that, whilst we were presented with some hits and better-known songs (‘Enola Gay’, ‘Talking Loud and Clear’ (complete with McCluskey messing up the lyrics on the first night), ‘Messages’ and ‘Souvenir’ to name just a few), we were also treated to ‘All That Glitters’- a heart-wrenching ballad from 1991’s ‘Sugar Tax’ album’- and ‘The Native Daughters of the Golden West’ from 1985’s ‘Crush’. The latter in particular was clearly one of the audience’s favourites on the Saturday night, erupting into cheers as McCluskey belted out the final note that he had been ‘dreading for months’.
From that point onwards the atmosphere became significantly more relaxed and once people started standing up, it finally became recognisable as an OMD gig.
From what I have seen so far the concerts have received no bad reviews, and rightly so; not only did they prove that McCluskey and Humphreys have more than earned the title of ‘the Lennon and McCartney of synth pop’, but also that, as OMD, they are relevant as ever.
Let’s hope McCluskey keeps to his promise and that OMD will return with more orchestral gigs in the not-so-distant future.
Here is a 2019 OMD (unofficial)Calendar that you can download as a .pdf and print your self. The photos taken by Neil Taylor are from The Punishment of Luxury Tour and taken at Sheffield/Manchester.
This is yours for FREE. But if you can please would you consider making a donation no matter how small to Marie Curie a charity that offers care and support through terminal illness.
To Download this please click on the attachment link.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Pretending To See The Future - Hardcover – Release 15 Nov 2018
by Richard Houghton.
This is Memoirs, Manoeuvres and a Stroll down the Memory Lane from the ‘70s to the first 2 decades of the new Millennium. Rather than a full on biography, Pretending To See The Future is more of a gentle coffee table / bathroom read which you can put down and pick up whenever you want.
The book opens with a statement from Professor Brian Cox that I for one can really relate to: “They are as uplifting now as they were then.” Even now, after 40 years of existence, they are still touching minds, bodies and souls of their fans and opening new worlds to anyone who got drawn into what is OMD world.
This biography clearly proves that – it consists of words from Andy and Paul, of snippets and memories contributed by current and past band members, including previously unseen material. It starts with the Paul’s and Andy’s recollections of how they met and joined forces, of the early bands to the formation of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, by mistake.
Fans and observers will be delighted with the previously unseen hand drawn notes and ditties, as well as some lovely photos. There are mentions of the names of the clubs, venues and other places from the past, and even a mention of Subbuteo for those old enough to remember!
Every person, musician and band which OMD encountered on their path, from Joy Division, Kraftwerk , Factory and Tony Wilson that got mentioned added another side, different and special that will give you a feel for the journey from conception to the birth of OMD.
Peter Saville recalls back in 1979: “‘Electricity.’ It was good. It’s still one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
From supporting Gary Numan in 1979 and some well-crafted words of his, you will find the stories meandering along the way as distant memories emerge from the Band and Fans, covering the times of Orchestral Midas’ touch followed by the dark days after Dazzle Ships, when it all came crashing down. Shortly afterwards, the band re-invented itself in a truly dazzling manner!
Past support acts also share their memories and recollections, with many stories to tell. You will find it all. from band members going on Strike to reincarnations,.
At moments, the stories and tales from everyone can get a little lost but not in a bad way, more of a way where the memory ignites a judder for something that has to be told. As the book progresses you further follow the band’s story, from the period of Break up, the Dark years, to the Make up, when the original band members got back together again.
Pretending To See The Future is not a biography in a classic sense, so some events and years and some finer details are missing, but really this not what this book is about, it’s a short sharp quick fire of memories on the journey of Orchestral Manoeuvers, seen from many different eyes.
The fans, especially those who have made a contribution, will love this, and it will stand proud on any book shelf.
It spans on almost 500 pages and thanks to every person that contributed, from first-hand accounts of things in the ‘70s right up to now in 2018, this is a well-deserved publication that will proudly adorn every home.
Pretending To See The Future is a fabulous reminder of the past and a journey that leads us to the present. Unique and never heard stories from fans of OMD are the proof that the future indeed will not be silent.
Congratulations to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for 40 years gone, and counting, for getting this little gem published.
Neil Taylor -
You can purchase the book by following THIS LINK.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Pretending To See The Future
The book contains a commentary from OMD founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys and is packed full of fan memorabilia and hundreds of photos. With many images in full colour and previously unseen pictures from the bands own archive, this is the OMD story as it's never been told before.
Told in the first person, Pretending To See The Future is an oral history of OMD, mixing hundreds of fan anecdotes with memories from the band, their collaborators, other musicians and celebrity admirers garnered from 40 years of recording and performing.
The book contains commentary from OMD founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, plus band members Martin Cooper, Malcolm Holmes and Stuart Kershaw, and is packed full of memorabilia and hundreds of photos. With many images in full colour and previously unseen pictures from the band’s own archive, this is the OMD story as it’s never been told before.
Professor Brian Cox
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of one of the world's most popular electronic bands, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Pretending To See The Future is the first official OMD biography since 1987's Messages. Taking the reader on a journey from their Merseyside beginnings via debut single `Electricity' (released on Manchester's iconic Factory label) into the 1980s and a string of Top 40 hits that includes `Enola Gay', `Souvenir', `Joan of Arc', `Locomotion' and US smash `If You Leave',
the book also covers the band's break up in the 1990s and their triumphant return in 2006. The book contains a commentary from OMD founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys and is packed full of fan memorabilia and hundreds of photos. With many images in full colour and previously unseen pictures from the bands own archive, this is the OMD story as it's never been told before.
You can now purchase the book on Amazon by following THIS LINK
Interview with Nigel Ipinson , Nigel Ipinson-Fleming who talks about Rock and Roll to Redemption. Nigel Spent time with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and co wrote the single Walking on the Milky Way .
He was also in The Stone Roses, and has worked with the likes of Hot Chocolate . The interviews cover his life journey from Rock and Roll to church pastor. Nigel is now living in Bristol.
He first appeared in the group Juvenile Jazz, which won a 1987 BBC TV talent contest on Saturday Superstore called "Search for a Superstar" and we hear about those early days.
We took your questions and we asked them.
This is a up close and personal interview with Andy
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