“This first song was from 1980, and this last song was from 2017” said Andy McCluskey two songs in, before adding “And the rest will be from inbetween”, stating the obvious, considering that it was a 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour.
1991, then 2009 (supporting Simple Minds), then 2017, and now 2019. Thankfully, the gap between their appearances in Belfast seem to be getting shorter. In fact it was one day short of two years since they were last in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.
It was back in 1996, when channel hopping and coming across the video for Walking On The Milky Way on VH1 (Because all the cool kids watch VH1), I always remembered how such a great song it was.
Then I knew Enola Gay. I liked two songs.
Then a few years later, I couldn’t sleep, and was watching some 80s videos on one of the music channels, and they played Souvenir.
So that was three songs I now knew and liked.
Later, when I joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library, one of the first albums I took out was the 1998 compilation album The OMD Singles, and found I quite liked them.
It was a long wait for them to come to Belfast, though thankfully not long for them to return.
Pishing down with rain when I walked to the venue, I soon discovered there were no Cloakroom facilities at the venue, so I faced a choice.
The raincoat I was wearing came from Decathlon, and is more for sailing, Sailing On The Seven Seas, you could say. It is absolutely roasting and the venue was roasting. Do I continue to wear it and be roasted squared?
Or do I tie it around my waist and look like a dick?
If you care, I went for the looking like a dick option.
The heat was referenced by McCluskey during the set, asking who had been at Mandela Hall in 2017, and commenting that it was just as hot.
Pointless fact about Andy McCluskey. His real name is George but he prefers to be called Andrew. That must have been really awkward if he was ever hanging out with Wham.
I’m not really a fan of Ulster Hall, but I saw Chvrches there earlier this year and it was fantastic, so it might not be dreadful for this genre of music.
As in 2017, McCluskey was taking Dad Dancing to a new level, and I’ve seen Tim Booth and James Dean Bradfield dance. The key, he said, was to dance like nobody is watching.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Dancercise classes at Birkenhead Community Centre on a Tueaday night. He was working up such a sweat, that his black shirt was an even darker shade of black.
He even managed to display a sense of humour, telling people not to nip off to the toilet during a new song as it was actually quite good. When introducing a song he described it as a new song, before adding “From 1991”.
Just as people were expecting Sailing On The Seven Seas, opening up a Pandora’s Box by playing, um, Pandora’s Box.
Most of the big hits played usually resulted in hand clapping and fist pumping from the audience.
Hits such as Tesla Girls, getting a Yes Yes Yes from the audience as soon as the synthesised “No No No” intro was heard.
Other hits included Enola Gay, Sailing On The Seven Seas, Electricity, Messages, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, Locomotion and So In Love.
Paul Humphries was even allowed out to sing Forever Live And Die, thankfully not being hit in the face by a bra thrown from the crowd as he was in 2017. Andy said he was jealous of the applause he got from the crowd, allowing him to sing another song, Souvenir.
The only downside was that my three favourite OMD songs, Walking On The Milky Way and If You Leave weren’t played, but I can live with that, considering how many of their big hits.
As they left the stage, Paul Humphries said “See you soon”.
You could read that as a quick return to Belfast to meet up with A-Ha next week, who they toured with in 2018.
Or maybe not, though that would be nice. Whenever it is, i’m sure it will be worth the wait.
OMD live at Mandela Hall 2017