Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark live 1979 to 1983
I first saw Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on 21st September 1979 when they supported Gary Numan on tour at Newcastle City Hall. This was the original two piece band featuring Andy McCluskey on vocals and bass and side-kick Paul Humphreys on vocals and keyboards. Oh, and not to forget “Winston”, their friendly four track tape-recorder, on backing tracks. My memories are of crazy (or cool; all depending upon your point of view) dancing by Andy and that great first single “Electricity”. This was before the release of their eponymous first album in early 1980. OMD hit the chart big-time later in 1980 with the very catchy “Enola Gay”; an anti-war song entitled after the plane which dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, during the final stages of World War II. By the time they played Newcastle Polytechnic on 18th November 1980, OMD were massively popular and tickets sold out immediately. By now Andy and Paul had augmented the OMD line-up with the addition of Martin Cooper (saxophone) and Malcolm Holmes (drums). This tour was to promote Organisation which was their second album, and support came from Fatal Charm. The students union ballroom was packed to the walls that night; and the band got a great reception, with “Enola Gay” and “Electricity” being stand-outs. Exactly one year later to the very day, on 18th November 1981, OMD were headlining at Newcastle City Hall on the Architecture & Morality tour, to promote their their third album. Support came from Random Hold. I saw the band once more, on 23rd April 1983, when they returned to the City Hall as part of their the Dazzle Ships tour (to promote their fourth album). Support came this time from the Cocteau Twins, featuring the beautiful voice of Elisabeth Fraser. The Cocteau Twins were on the cusp of success at the time (this was just before the release of “Pearly Dew Drops Drop”). The classic four-piece OMD line-up split in the late ’80s, and they reunited in 2005.
A setlist from the 1981 tour: Architecture & Morality; The Romance Of The Telescope; Sealand; Pretending To See The Future; Messages; Almost; Mystereality; Joan of Arc; Motion And Heart; Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans); Statues; Souvenir; New Stone Age; Enola Gay: Bunker Soldiers; Electricity. Encore: She’s Leaving; Julia’s Song; Stanlow.
Archive for the ‘OMD’ Category
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark live 1979 to 1983
Gary Numan. Newcastle City Hall 21st September 1979, and 29th September 1980
It was May 1979 and Gary Numan and his band Tubeway Army seemed to come out of nowhere. I remember seeing this strange, scary guy singing “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” on Top of the Pops, and being fascinated by both his image and his music. Numan had, actually, already released an album and a few 45s, before he hit No 1 in the UK singles chart with “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and No 1 in the lp chart with “Replicas”. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”, was very different from anything else around at the time, and a million miles away from the fast punk music that most bands of the time were producing, and which had influenced Gary Numan to start out in the business. Writing for Smash Hits in 1979, Cliff White described the song as “a dark, threatening wall of synthesized sound” which “throbbed ominously behind a gloomy song of paranoia and loneliness”. Come September 1979, Gary Numan released his third album “The Pleasure Principle”, dropped the Tubeway Army moniker, and went out on his first national tour, calling at major concert venues up and down the country. The publicity prior to the tour promised a spectacle to match the scifi imagery we had all seen on TV. I bought tickets for Marie, me, Marie’s younger sister and niece to see the concert, which sold out very quickly. We had seats close to the front and were blown away by the concert. The show lived up to all our expectations with great use of stark white lighting, rising towers, and Gary our robotic hero centre-stage making quirky, jerky movements. My favourite songs were “Electric”, “Cars” and “Me! I Disconnect From You”. Gary had a cute little car (like a small dodgem car) which he drove around the stage as he sang “Cars”. Support came from OMD who had recently formed. This was before “Enola Gay”; I’d heard the single “Electricity” (which was played a lot at Middlesbrough Rock Garden at the time) and remember staying out of the bar and watching them just to hear that song. Setlist: Airlane; Me! I Disconnect From You; Cars; M.E.; You Are in My Vision; Something’s in the House; Random; Everyday I Die; Conversation; We Are So Fragile; Bombers; Remember I Was Vapour; On Broadway (The Drifters cover); The Dream Police; Films; Metal; Down in the Park. Encore: My Shadow in Vain; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; Tracks.
Almost exactly a year later and Gary Numan was back on tour again. We saw him again at Newcastle City Hall, sitting about half way back in the hall. Gary had just released the “Telekon” album and the tour was thus called, of course, the “Teletour”. The hit singles “We Are Glass” (another great song) and “I Die: You Die” were released that year. The show was quite similar to the 1979 tour, with another lavish stage set, and Gary wearing his trademark black leather boilersuit with interlocking red belts. Support came from Nash the Slash 🙂 , a crazy punk violinist whose entire face was covered in surgical bandages, and wore sunglasses, a white suit and a white top hat! Setlist: This Wreckage; Remind Me to Smile; Complex; Telekon; Me! I Disconnect From You; Cars; Conversation; Airlane; M.E.; Everyday I Die; Remember I Was Vapour; Stories; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; The Joy Circuit; I Die: You Die; I Dream of Wires; Down in the Park; Tracks; We Are Glass. The next time I saw Gary Numan was at his farewell (! 🙂 ) concert at Wembley Arena in 1981. I’ll write about that event tomorrow.