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!
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!