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z omd london2022Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
14th March 2022
OMD - “Atmospheric and Greatest Hits”

OMD need no introduction, they have provided electronic KRAFTWERK-inspired sounds for several decades after coming to many fans attention supporting GARY NUMAN on the 1979 “Touring Principle” UK Tour. This was the first night of two at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.

Music & Performance
There was no support this evening, just two acts from OMD - split into ‘Atmospheric’ and then ‘Greatest Hits’. The band came out to ‘Atomic Ranch’, an abstract but catchy more recent release, and an interesting start to the night. ‘Stanlow’ is much more appropriate for atmospheric, a haunting track from the early days written entirely around the theme of the oil refinery close to where the two guys lived in their youth. ‘Pretending to see the future’ was next, the first time played for many years, from what I can tell not played since 1984 - an awesome track to hear. This set the tone for the first part of the performance, the early tunes dominating the setlist. The crowd appreciating the chance to hear the likes of ‘Messages’ and the classic ‘Red Frame / White Light’ - written of course in homage to the typical red phone box seen in the UK a few decades ago. To be specific the phone box at the end of the street where they lived (now preserved as a fitting reminder that Liverpool produced more musicians than just THE BEATLES).


The opening act was entitled ‘Atmospheric’ and it had a nod to atmosphere with the likes of ‘Statues’ (a touching song about JOY DIVISION’s Ian Curtis) but I felt it missed some great opportunities as OMD are not only masterful at a Pop tune they have a great knack of drawing out inner feelings with their song writing and music. As an example, ‘Dazzle Ships’ is an abstract and thought-provoking album with fine pickings for atmosphere. The first act seemed like a bit of a cop out to be honest, a kind of let’s choose some of the popular songs that are reasonably atmospheric, rather than being brave. I also didn’t feel the newer tracks fitted in exceptionally well with the blueprint of atmosphere either. A missed opportunity in many ways, enjoyable but it didn’t quite hit the target.


Act two was intended to be a party, no more no less - a huge trip into nostalgia. Having said that it did start with tracks that most would regard as newer songs in the OMD back catalogue, starting with the quirky ‘Please Reman Seated’, flowing into 2017s ‘Ghost Star’ - surely one of the strongest tracks of the more modern OMD. After ‘History of Modern Part One’ it was more-or-less straight into the OMD hit factory of the 80s, with the addition of the some of the hits Andy managed without Paul such as ‘Sailing on the Seven Seas’. All the ones you’d expect were included; ‘Enola Gay’, ‘Joan of Arc’ (both singles), ‘Forever Live and Die’, ‘Souvenir’ and of course ‘So in Love’. I really don’t like the latter song, it just seems too sugary nice, but it was played (as always) and the crowd loved it.


OMD gave a fine performance throughout, with nothing really to complain about… Or was there? Well, yes there was something to complain about - this was a gig at the Royal Albert Hall. It all seemed so… well ordinary. The whole gig just didn’t scream special, it was kind of flat. Was the sound good? Yes, it was. But not startlingly good. What about the light show? Yes, it did the job, but again it just wasn’t memorable. The whole night went by much like when they play any City Hall or Theatre around the country. When GARY NUMAN played Royal Albert Hall a couple of years ago, I walked away completely gob smacked, every detail was outstanding - a true spectacle of a show. Tonight, OMD did nothing wrong. But ultimately nothing spectacular either, I felt it was a missed opportunity. Oh, I did love the nod to KRAFTWERK when the four guys stood at the front of the stage, in a line playing their instruments! Good stuff, we should never forget our roots.


01. Atomic Ranch
02. Stanlow
03. Pretending to See the Future
04. Messages
05. Red Frame / White Light
06. Julia’s Song
07. Isotype
08. Statues
09. Almost
10. The Punishment of Luxury
11. Bunker Soldiers
12. Electricity
-Greatest Hits-
13. Please Remain Seated
14. Ghost Star
15. History of Modern (Part 1)
16. (Forever) Live and Die
17. If You Leave
18. Souvenir
19. Joan of Arc
20. Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)
21. Our System
22. So in Love
23. Sailing on the Seven Seas
24. Enola Gay
25. Walking on the Milky Way
26. The Romance of the Telescope

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Kevin Stevens

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