The phrase “small but enthusiastic crowd” was never more accurate than it was at Bogart’s this past Wednesday (Sept. 4) as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) made their latest Cincinnati area appearance. The group previously had opened for Depeche Mode at Riverbend Music Center in 1988 and was more recently was at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion with Howard Jones and Barenaked Ladies in 2016.
Actually, the crowd wasn’t that small, filling about three-quarters of the floor at the Corryville concert hall. I forget sometimes that people do know who they are. I just presume all anyone knows is their lone Top 10 hit “If You Leave.”
OMD did manage three more Top 40 hits, as well as several New Wave standards that ‘80s kids would recognize. Still, the enthusiasm of the crowd at Bogart’s was a bit of a shocker. It seemed as though they had to wait to start songs as the crowd roared with approval after each tune. Core members and co-founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys looked at each other in amazement multiple times as the crowd kept cheering.
The band has spent most of the summer opening for The B-52s but has jumped off the tour to play some headlining dates as they celebrate their 40th anniversary. To that end, the setlist was a string of hit singles (well, they were hits somewhere, mostly in the U.K. and parts of Europe). The only non-single offered was “She’s Leaving,” played as part of a four-song suite from OMD's critically-acclaimed 1981 long-player, Architecture & Morality.
The usual opener for their headlining set, “Messages,” batted second behind “Isotype,” the lead single from their most recent album, 2017’s The Punishment of Luxury. The crowd sang along to almost every song, and not just “If You Leave,” though that one did get the crowd fired up. The big hit was knocked out early, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
“Dreaming,” OMD's second-biggest hit here, also received an enthusiastic response. However, much love was also given to “Tesla Girls,” “Sailing on the Seven Seas" and the set-ending “Enola Gay,” probably their best-known track outside of the U.S. and Canada. After the band left the stage, the crowd shouted “O-M-D! O-M-D!”
The encore was a nice mix of fan-favorite tunes, leading off with “Locomotion,” followed by the Humphreys-sung “Secret” and, of course, “Electricity” to send the crowd home.
The opening act was locally-based quartet Automagik, perhaps an odd choice on paper. Their ‘70s-style Rock looked and sounded out of place. In fact, they looked like a band OMD would have hated back when they started in the late ‘70s. However, Automagik was so good. Great tunes, fun stage presence and the perfect palate cleanser for OMD’s electronic stylings.