The cheers for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark went up as the well known synth loop from the band’s classic “Enola Gay” wound down.
“O! M! D!” chanted the crowd at Terminal 5 Wednesday night, as smiles came to the faces of singer/guitarist Andy McCluskey and singer/keyboardist Paul Humphreys, as they left the stage. “O! M! D!”
When they returned for the encore, McCluskey said that in the 33 years the band has been playing New York, he has never had a crowd shout “O! M! D!” at him before.
“If you wait long enough,” he said, “good things come.”
Maybe that works for everyone, since the OMD faithful have been rewarded pretty handsomely since the band’s original lineup reunited in 2010 after two decades apart.
The band’s new album “English Electric” finds McCluskey and Humphreys as engaged (and engaging) as they were during their early work, when they were hailed in the British press as some sort of new wave Lennon & McCartney. New songs like “Metroland” and “Night Café” – which McCluskey happily told the crowd was inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” painting and that he had seen it at the Whitney Museum that afternoon – fit in nicely next to classics like “Tesla Girls” and “So in Love.”
When McCluskey started the new single “Dresden,” he declared, “If you don’t know it, it’s fantastic.” He wasn’t kidding – the soaring synths and bouncing bass lines calling to mind the best of the early electropop era, while the thunderous drumming of Malcolm Holmes adding a more current touch.
“It seems like we’ve been expanding our audience,” McCluskey said before launching into the poppiest part of the show, with Humphreys singing “(Forever) Live and Die” and McCluskey tackling their smash “If You Leave.” However, the best part of the night was another combination, with Humphreys singing the lovely, melancholy “Souvenir” followed by McCluskey on their gorgeous suite of “Joan of Arc” and “Maid of Orleans.”
While so many of their contemporaries are resting on their laurels, OMD – and the Pet Shop Boys with their impressive new “Electric” album – are eager to keep moving forward, as they inspire yet another generation with the power of electronic music.
Rest, it seems, isn’t on their agenda, even when they claim they need it. “I’m tired,” McCluskey said, after more than an hour of wild dancing and arm-flailing. “You have to dance for me,” he told the audience, who happily obliged when the band launched into “Enola Gay.”
Of course, McCluskey then couldn’t resist joining them.
SETLIST: Decimal / Please Remain Seated / Metroland / Messages / Tesla Girls / Dresden / History of Modern (Part 1) / (Forever) Live and Die / If You Leave / Night Café / Souvenir / Joan of Arc / Maid of Orleans / Our System / Kissing the Machine / So in Love / Sister Marie Says / Locomotion / Sailing on the Seven Seas / Enola Gay // ENCORE: Walking on the Milky Way / Secret / Electricity