OMD, The Phoenix, Toronto, March 5, 2011

I can’t recall who it was that said that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. That may prove to be true as we all grow older, but sometimes, nostalgia is better than you ever thought it could be. Last night was one of those nights.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, better known as OMD, kicked off their first North American tour in 20 years with a sold out performance at The Phoenix Concert Theatre. OMD were one of those bands I always liked, but never got a chance to see back in the day. Speaking of back in the day, yes most of the crowd was above a certain age bracket, but you won’t be getting any snide comments from me about it. You may get a rant at a later date, but I digress.

So there we all were, packed into The Phoenix, drinks in hand and ready to dance. OMD are a very polite rock band indeed. The set time was listed as 10 p.m. and right on time, the lights dimmed and OMD took the stage. First impression – the years have been kind to Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey. Second impression – they sound damn good. Leading off with New Babies: New Toys, the first song on their new album, “The History of Modern”, the band is full of energy and the crown eats it up. For the next ninety minutes, OMD delivered a seamless set of old hits and new material, the latter blending in beautifully without sounding like a rehash of past glories. Don’t look at me for a full setlist, but the expected hits were all present and accounted for: Locomotion, Joan of Arc, Tesla Girls, Forever Live and Die, If You Leave and Enola Gay. We had to wait until the end of the three-song encore before we heard their debut single, Electricity.

“I’m an atheist! Will you be my atheist congregation?” Andy asked before he launched into Sister Marie Says, another new track. I can’t think of anyone in the crowd who would have said no, judging by the volume of screams, shouts and applause between the songs. There was a palpable sense of joy in the air last night, from both the band and the crowd. Andy’s smile in the video below says it all

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