Well, what can I say. It has been 2 straight years that OMD have toured and I have been more than fortunate to see a good portion of both tours. 2007 marked the first time I have EVER seen the band play live and it was more than a dream come true, but 2008 offered up some great opportunities to see a new set list and the band in a more polished fashion with a few gigs under their belts.
Each stop during the UK tour (I did all 4) offered up something unique, and below is my story starting from Liverpool all the way down to London.
This show marked the end of one long journey and the beginning of another. I left Seattle on Wednesday October 1st and flew to Heathrow. A 3 hour break at Heathrow then put me on a plane to Manchester where my luggage fortunately made the journey as well. From there came the daunting task of navigating a train from Manchester to Liverpool which I was fortunate enough to do and ended up at my hotel in Liverpool at around 5:00pm. Almost 24 hours from when the journey started.
While I thought I would collapse on the bed from exhaustion, I was surprisingly awake and jumped online to chat with fellow OMD forum friends to let them know there was an American amongst their midst and to sort out final drinking plans for the next night. Speaking of, I started to make several trips down the bar downstairs to grab a couple of bottles of Budweiser and bring them back to the room whilst I was online. I believe I made 5 trips at 2 bottle per that evening!
Finally exhaustion set in and bedtime came to an early start and end as I awoke at 3:00am wide awake. So much so that I flipped on the TV and watched the vice presidential debates on TV to put me right back to sleep.
The next morning met with some fan meet ups to get them sorted with their orange shirts and a brief chat with Duncan on his efforts during the tour (well done Duncan, let’s hope you sell lots of XP embedded!)
The afternoon was a bit of a “let’s try and kill as much time as possible before meeting up with others for beers” which ended around 3:00pm or so when I met Neil, Sandra, Neil and the infamous Mr. Fuck Man himself, Matthew Greenway who came all the way from South Africa for these shows.
Had a great time with them and talking music with Matt as it had been over 10 years since we had chatted in person, so this was a brilliant start to the show. Others trickled in and joined us as the time passed, and a thank you to Paul U who (finally) ended up getting me back to the hotel to meet the Bly family, sort our shirts, then a cab to the venue.
So, the consensus was to meet at the ‘weird clown theme bar’ to which we found easily and met up with many other forum friends to have some drinks and share some laughs. It is these types of meet ups that are my favorite part of an OMD show as the forum consists primarily of good people with great taste in music, and for the most part, they don’t laugh at my stupid American accesnt!
Seats are front row, stage right, next to the speakers. It was a blast! Andy’s home town and the fans loved it all. I got some great pics of the show and some of the party afterwards (thanks again Neil for putting that together!) The Corky’s took my drunken carcus back to the hotel at half past stupid o’clock and I slept like a baby until the next morning….
After an adventurous car journey from Liverpool and an even more adventurous journey trying to find the Crone Plaza, things were running late.
I quickly checked in and ran a couple of errands that I needed to sort out then it was back to the hotel to change for the ‘black and white’ theme. I met up with my favorite OMD fans (Paula and Steph) to say quick hellos before having to run out and meet a friend for a pre show drink.
I must have found the only hard metal pub in Nottingham, but that’s where I chose to wet my beak and it was certainly odd dressed in my black slacks, white shirt and my piano key tie!
Seats were front row, stage left in front or the speakers, but a GREAT spot for pictures and videos. The videos had some sound issues since I was in front of the speakers, but I’m still happy with how they came out. It really is an entirely different show when you are that close and the band did not disappoint!
After the gig a bunch of us headed over to The Reflex Club which is an 80’s themed chain that features great tunes and videos as well as all the cheesy 80’s décor you can imagine. It was a BLAST there and eventually they ended up playing Enola Gay for us which was the highlight of the evening of course!
Another 2 hour or so car adventure from Nottingham to Birmingham finally got us to town alive and a bit tired. I checked into the hotel and immediately took the bed for a test drive, and it passed with flying colors.
Awoke at around 6:00pm and Sky 2 was showing the Seahawks at the Giants NFL game and I was pumped! I ran down to the bar to grab some stuff to go with my bottle or raspberry vodka (thanks SammiG!) and started pouring cocktails and watching my Seahawks get their asses kicked!
Met up with Paula and Steph after a while for dinner (this was an off night for the tour), then went back to the hotel to watch more football and consume more beverages. So much for a night off for my liver!
The Birmingham theme was to be neon, to which I cam prepared with glow in the dark orange hair gel, neon necklaces for everyone, an the ugliest neon orange tie you have seen. Many of us met at The Walk About pub across the way to start the liver damage and we had a blast! Eventually the place was overrun by a student drinking posse, but we managed to get to the gig and to our front row seats in tact.
This was by far my favorite show! The energy, the excitement, the crowd, the band, the drinks, the lame outfit I was wearing all attributed to my favorite OMD show to date. The band were in rare form and there’s nothing better than making the band screw up part of a song by either:
A. Throwing underwear at them at the beginning of a song
B. Throwing neon necklaces onto their keyboards during an encore
This show was a blast, and the party did not stop there. Ironically, there was another Reflex club about 100 yards away from the gig that many of us decided to take over and close down. They played plenty of OMD for us and we have the pics and videos to prove it. We closed down the Reflex I vaguely remember another bar, but at this point I am ready for rehab…
Well, this is where my OMD journey ends, and my 40 year old body is thanking me for it. It was a long ride to get from Brum to London and we lost a soldier on the way (stay away from dodgy kebabs Paula) but this was the last show, so I drank as much London tap water as I could handle and rested as best I could to rally up for the final show.
I (literally) took a back seat at this venue as it was an all standing show and I had gotten my time in the front row, so I decided to hang in the back with friends and enjoy the show from a distance which is why I don’t have any pictures of videos from this gig, but hopefully you do and you can upload them here so that other fans can see them. Great show with a great party afterwards that I left early in hopes of getting to Heathrow the next morning in some kind of decent condition to fly home….
Overall I can honestly say this was one of the most enjoyable weeks I have spent in my adult life. I had a great time with great friends, met new people I hope to get to know better, and got to see my favorite band! I mentioned this to some in the band, and I will say it again here, I am convinced it is harder work to be an OMD fan on the road than it is to be in the band, especially when you choose the path that many of us did (drunken debauchery wherever we met).
Thing is, I wouldn’t change a minute of it even if I could!
Bring on 2009, a new album and a new tour (hopefully in the US where my dollar gets me slightly more!!)
Check out some great video clips I recorded
Rehearsals (Courtesy of Phil Marsh!)