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De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill - 15th November, 2017

Written By Andy Gunton

Playing loud and clear.

The first, and last, time that I saw OMD was way back in November 1979, just after the release of their first ever single ‘Electricity, when they were supporting Penetration at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

On that occasion OMD consisted of just Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, and a reel to reel tape recorder called Winston.

I’m sure none of us expected to be reconvening 38 years later in Bexhill, but I’m very glad that we did.

This was a very good gig. One enjoyed equally by both audience and band alike.

The scene was set before the band even took to the stage when the band’s exceptional light show, probably the best I’ve seen at the venue, came to life ahead of the first song of the 75 minute set.

This was enhanced by Andy McCluskey dancing from the first notes of that first song, something he continued doing for most of the evening. He followed this up within a couple of songs by saying how much he was enjoying himself.

Straight away the near sold out crowd realised that they might be in for something special, and they were.

Andy McCluskey then told us, “There will be new songs, there will be old songs, and there WILL be dancing”. He wasn’t wrong on any count.

The classic older songs came thick and fast, including early outings for ‘Messages’, 'Locomotion' and ‘Tesla Girls’.

One thing I noticed quickly was just how many hits OMD had had, songs which I’d forgotten all about during those intervening years, but which soon came flooding back to me.

Songs from the new album ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’ blended in perfectly, so you couldn’t see the join between the past and the present, not something you can always say with an older bands brand new material.

The, now, four piece band all played their part. Some very solid drumming, extra keyboards plus saxophone certainly added to the experience, and it was good to see Paul Humphreys getting to take centre stage for some songs too. 

It was obvious to the crowd that the whole band were really enjoying the gig, with frequent shared smiles and even handshakes between the various members.

With the audience feeding off of the band, and the band being spurred on by the crowd, the on and off stage dancing and clapping grew as the gig progressed.

There was a real ‘Radio-Ga-Ga’ clapping hands in the air moment during ‘Joan Of Arc’, with was followed, naturally, by ‘Maid Of Orleans’.

The main set finished in fine style with ‘Enola Gay’, which ended with the crowd giving the band an extended, and very well deserved, standing ovation.

The three song inevitable encore had just about the whole audience dancing.

Andy McCluskey told us, ‘I know you hear this all the time, but this time it’s really true. We were all stood at the side of the stage just a minute ago and we all said that this has been the best gig of the tour so far”, and you just knew that he meant every word of it. 

Just the thing an audience wants to hear.

The night ended with that very first single, ‘Electricity’, “a song we couldn’t leave without playing”.

This was followed by another extended bout of rapturous cheering and clapping, with the crowd even chanting "OMD, OMD" at one point.

I honestly don't think I've ever seen an audience reaction like it at the De La Warr Pavilion, and I've seen quite a few gigs there over recent years.

So much so that the band seemed genuinely taken aback by the reception they were getting, prompting the drummer to film the procedings on his phone.

With promises to come back to Bexhill again, OMD were gone, but what memories they left behind for those lucky enough to have been present.

Here's to next time.

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