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    Electric and Euphoric: OMD at Rewind North 2018


    Above: OMD at Rewind North 2018

    Photograph (C) Joshua Atkins


    Celebrating their 40th anniversary year, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark delighted the Rewind North audience on Sunday evening, closing the weekend with a performance that cements them as one of the greatest live bands in music.


    Opening with ‘Enola Gay’, the audience’s energy was equally matched by the band who delivered a non-stop set of iconic songs. Their entire set was exciting, exhilarating and euphoric.


    Talking to Paul Humpreys before their headline performance, he explained how the energy is integral to every show:


    “The energy in our shows has always been important. We’re forty years in now and it’s our fortieth anniversary year, but we’ve still got a lot of energy for it. The great thing about being in this band is that we all get along; we’re all great friends. 


    We love travelling around together and we want to put on a great show every night, whether it’s one hundred people or twenty-thousand people”.


    OMD’s live shows are not only energetic, but uplifting. At one moment, Andy McClusky asked for the lights to be on the audience and it was lovely to see the happiness that OMD’s music has brought to the thousands of people at Rewind North tonight.


    Cheering for more, songs such as ‘Souvenir’ had the audience’s voices souring as they sang along, while ‘Talking Loud and Clear’ led them into a brilliant arm-swaying, sing-along momentum that continued through the duration of the show. The hour seemed to go too quickly, but they do say that time goes by when you’re having fun and we certainly did.


    As the years pass and with the release of brilliant albums such as 2017's The Punishment of Luxury, new generations of fans are discovering OMD’s music:


    “It’s really interesting and we’ve noticed it. Over the last twelve years we’ve noticed that the audience demographic and the age demographic is getting younger and younger coming to see us”.


    OMD were one of the bands who I discovered as a teenager, their songs a soundtrack to my years as a music student in Liverpool. Yet it was the film Pretty in Pink that first hooked me onto their music and I couldn’t resist asking Paul about writing the film’s closing song ‘If you leave’:


    “John Hughes, the writer of Pretty in Pink, had put our song ‘Tesla Girls’ in Weird Science. That wasn’t written specifically for that, but he was doing Pretty in Pink and said ‘Look, I really want you to write a song for this film. He sent us the script and we wrote the song. Then we flew to LA to mix it, two days before we were going on an American Tour”.


    ‘If you leave’ wasn’t the record originally written for Pretty in Pink however, as John Hughes rewrote the ending of the film and asked the band if they’d write a new song:


    “There was a message for us at our hotel saying ‘It’s urgent, please call me’, so we called John. He said ‘Listen guys, I’m so sorry but the song you’ve written, I’ve changed the whole ending of the film and your song doesn’t work - can you write us a new one?’. We had two days before we went on the road and all our gear was being air freighted to San Francisco! We said to him, we haven’t even got any instruments! John said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pay for whatever you want’, so we went into a studio and spent twenty-four hours straight writing.


    We wrote ‘If you leave’ off the top of our heads. Then it got to eight in the morning, we stuck it on a cassette and sent it straight over to John. We went to the hotel and then two hours later, the phone rang and John said ‘The song’s great, get back in the studio’ and we were like, we’ve only had two hours sleep! (Laughs). We were really lucky that we just wrote such a good song”.


    Though not in their set at Rewind North, ‘If you leave’ will always hold a place in my heart as the song that introduced me to OMD’s music.


    OMD's performance at Rewind North 2018 was spectacular. The ground seemed to vibrate as the audience jumped up and down to 'Electricity', while songs such as 'Tesla Girls' had the crowd dancing through the night. Great dancing extended to the stage too, as Andy McClusky danced from one side to the stage to the other! 


    Each song was a sonic sensation, with the change over between songs sung by Andy and sung by Paul seemlessly leading into one another. It was a slick, excellently performed set and it was great to hear tracks including 'Pandora's Box'. OMD gave a truly incredible and memorable performance at Rewind North 2018, closing the festival to rapturous applause. They are one of the most incredible bands I've ever seen. 


    With so many songs loved by fans across the world, OMD’s sets are ever-changing as Paul adds:


    “We tailor the show for each audience and change the set every night, so we do a different show every night”.


    That’s one of the exciting things about an OMD concert - you never know what songs you may hear, but you do know it’ll be an excellent show by one of the greatest bands in music. 



    By Sarah O' Hara




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