Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Live Review – Bournemouth Pavilion 19/11/19

Celebrating their 40th year, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark sold over 40 million albums and toured the world. They hadn’t been down to sunny Bournemouth for 26 years and a sold out crowd were more than happy to see one of the world’s finest synth pop groups play their greatest hits.

A patient Pavilion politely clapped OMD on stage to the sounds of ‘Stanlow‘, but this calm was brief and as their 1980 classic ended singer and bassist Andy McCluskey grabbed the mic and asked us to get on our feet, there was an essence of confusion throughout the theatre. But by the end of ‘Isotope the majority of the downstairs were on their feet whether they wanted to or not.

The security probably expecting a quiet evening were called into action as some of the more outgoing of fans wanted to actually dance in the aisles, but don’t worry health and safety fans, as the security made a stop to that – rules be rules- and most of us were just going to have to dance safely and calmly at our dedicated seats.

McCluskey reminded us that it said bring your dancing shoes on the ticket and by George didn’t they mean it as they went into ‘Messages‘ followed by ‘Tesla Girls‘ two songs that would have killed on many a dance floor in an 80’s wine bar. By now the audience were purring and with the average age of the audience in their mid 50′ there was a slight concern that some of the devotees would not make it to the encore.

Of course it wasn’t just the patrons who were having a blast. McCluskey at 60 can still show off his finest dad dancing and throughout the show he never relented from high fiveing as many people as possible and improvising some impressive arm movements. But this isn’t just a one man show and keyboard ist Paul Humphreys was given the spotlight to perform vocals on two of my personal favouritesForever (live and die)’ and the glorious ‘Souvenir‘. The first half ended with ‘Joan of Arc/ Maid of Orleans‘ creating the biggest applause all night with the added ‘Radio GaGa’ -handclaps and with the stage lighting working perfectly in tandem with the cinematic synths.

For the second half OMD changed it up by playing a few b sides and new tracks which is totally fine as their loyal fans don’t want to pay to see the same set each tour. But the more fair weather fans were obviously less impressed and many found themselves back in their seats with one lady to my right completely asleep. Not the best review, but things turned around when they produced some more radio friendly tracks like ‘Locomotion‘, ‘Sailing on the Seven Seas‘ and ending with their trademark ‘ Enola Gay’, a track that many had learnt to play using one finger way back in the early 80’s. OMD hadn’t finished yet and battled through a couple of tech mishaps to play ‘If You Leave‘, ‘Pandora’s Box‘ and the place where it all started 40 years before ‘Electricity‘ with McCluskey dancing with his bass like he was still a teenager up in the Wirall. A great night and a band who have used modern technology and charisma to become a better live act now than ever before.