Well, what can I say. I’ve been on this planet for a little over 39 years and it took me until 2007 to see my first OMD concert, and what an event it was!
First off, those reading this are probably aware that I am a bit of an OMD fan. I’ve been listening to their music since around 1985 when I was introduced to the Crush album, and I have been collecting all things OMD related since the early 90’s (when I finally had a job and could afford things J). As fate would have it, I had never had a chance to see OMD perform live either pre or post breakup. Finances, job, or some other event seemed to always collide with a nearby OMD show, so to alleviate my being a ‘live show virgin’ I taught myself HTML back in the mid 90’s and put up this website in 1997. While I don’t believe there are any official statistics, I believe this was the first OMD fan site of it’s kind on the Internet, and over the years I have met hundreds of fantastic people via this site, and via the Official OMD Site.
The news of a reunion and tour was amazing, and given the circumstances, I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to see as many shows as I could. Fortunately for me, that meant 3 shows in the UK (Liverpool and the 2 Hammersmith shows).
Given that I have only visited the UK a couple of times, I knew I was going to need some help, and help I certainly received! I e-mailed my good friend Neil Taylor and asked if he could sort out the tickets for me, and he indeed he did (third row in Liverpool, dead center at Hammersmith!) I then threw up several posts on the Official forum to get some help with trains, hotels etc. Immediately I had received responses and was offered help by Stephanie and Paula who kindly helped me with train tickets and hotel accommodations in London (thank you both again!). In fact, Stephanie was the official escort for myself and Eric Klaver (of Invisible College fame) while we were in London. She made sure things were in order, and that the drinks kept coming, which is precisely what we needed.
Speaking of my London roommate Eric, he can be seen in true form below (seen with an authentic Canadian Murse (Man+Purse)
As for the shows, well, what can I say. I knew that seeing the band live was going to be a blast, and having seen a sneak peek at the set list. I knew that the music would be fantastic, but I never imagined I would enjoy myself as much as I did. The was much better than I thought it would be originally as well.
The Liverpool show started with a fan gathering at the Solna Hotel (home of the 1997 OMD convention ironically) that afternoon. What that actually meant is that the drinks started flowing well before sun down, and well before the show! The party was a blast, and a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, and to put faces to names of many new friends. You can see from the Liverpool pictures that things got a little out of hand (I still don’t know how I ended up shirtless) but it was a blast. The highlight of the afternoon was a surprise screening of a DVD of the band doing rehearsals for the tour. This is part of several hours of footage that are potentially going to be released as a documentary of sorts. How, when and where are still unknown, but I imagine the Official site will keep us informed.
The concert itself was great, and I was trying my best to take everything in and still enjoy myself. One thing that I thought was pretty cool, was about 4-5 songs into the set, I made eye contact with Andy and he recognized me. A few minutes later, he came over and shook my hand from stage during “Talking Loud and Clear” which I thought was pretty cool of him to do. Other highlights include seeing my letter on the screen during Messages (for those that weren’t aware, the Official site solicited people to write letters to the site in hopes that it would be scanned and used as part of the projections during the song Messages. Lucky for me, my letter made the cut) and hearing songs like “Georgia”, “So In Love” and “If You Leave” performed live among many others.
After the show, we took the party back to the Solna where we closed down the bar (twice!)
The Hammersmith shows were also amazing with the first night being the better of the 2 shows. Neil and myself ran into some issues the second night with some jackasses behind us yelling at us for standing up during the show. It got a bit messy as the guy went after Neil and security had to get involved. In the end they moved us to another section, but unfortunately for me, I was so pissed off about this that I let it spoil the rest of the show.
The first night however had a great crowd and great energy! We had seats about 10 rows back and dead center which was perfect. Everyone around us was on their feet, and the show was amazing, especially getting to see the projections so clearly. This was the best night for pictures and I took a bunch of them.
Problems aside on the second night, it was still a fun show. Several of the forum members over at the Official site met up beforehand at a nearby pub and swapped stories about previous shows and the like. It was a great bunch of people, and we had a fantastic time. Many of the forum members had seats in the very front row, so look for those “special” black T-Shirts when the DVD comes out!
I could go on and on here about the experience, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. It was a week I will never forget, and I’ll be the first one to buy several copies of the DVD when it comes out (in fact, I am replacing all of my DVD players with players that are multi regional just in case there is no NTSC version of the DVD!) Many thanks to Stephanie, Paula, Lola, Neil, Sandra, Chi, Paul B, Eric, Dita, Dee, The Hammersmith 6, and many, many others who I met along the way who helped make this a trip of a lifetime!
Special thanks to Mark for creating and sharing the Hammersmith slideshow!
Check out my pictures from this tour
Hammersmith Night 1
Hammersmith Night 2