Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Four stars

It was the night that for once one of the pioneers of synthpop found that technology had actually let them down.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were beset with technical problems which resulted in sound cut out glitches during their opening songs at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

It led to the show being interrupted for nearly half-an-hour to allow for the equipment to be fixed - with some in the audience wondering if they would ever return.

The interruptions were evident even as singer Andy McCluskey told the loudly appreciative  audience: "That's as good as it gets, I might as well say goodnight. That must be it surely. It's not going to get better. Is it?"

Evening Times:

But the sound issues led to them coming off stage with singer Andy McCluskey telling the Glasgow audience that the mixing desk had "taken a digital dump". He added: "Three minutes, calm down, don't take your dancing shoes off and we'll be back."

The hold-up actually lasted 27 minutes and at one point some in the crowd began a half-hearted slow hand clap while others feared the problems were fatal and it would money back time.

When the band finally returned, McCluskey said: "Thanks for all your patience. Technology, eh? Anyway, it should be all right now. We've been to the chip shop, had a couple of pints of heavy and we're all good."

Evening Times:

McCluskey later quipped about the mixing desk: "It wasn't made in Scotland, I'll tell you that much.

"Don't you just love technology. When it works it's great, when it doesn't you're screwed."

After asking the audience, "is the PA still on, can you hear us", OMD keyboardist and singer Paul Humphreys told McCluskey: "You know you shouldn't have said after five songs, 'that's it',"

McCluskey explained the rest of the band told him that he had "jinxed us" by his earlier quip about ending the show early because of the crowd's wild response.

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Later it appeared that the OMD front man was being warned about over-running their set, and he told the audience that they "have to hurry" because of the 11pm curfew.

But he added: "If we go past the curfew of 11, Glasgow City Council can sue the f*** out the makers of the mixing desk."

The bonus for the crowd was a double rendition of their classic Enola Gay.

Evening Times:

McCluskey and Humphreys must have had their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks when they said if they had formed OMD today their chances of success might be slim.

Their sell out appearance in Glasgow while heavy on their considerable array of hits, was injected with captivating new songs from their glorious new album Punishment of Luxury which revealed a welcome return to form and a great big nod to their Kraftwerk-influenced early days.

There was something organic, pure and simple about their early forays into analogue synth pop; those addictive avant garde bleep pop anthems like Electricity and Messages that stand the test of time, both faithfully reproduced in these sumptuous surroundings.

This was, glitches or not, a comprehensive OMD history lesson and it works because the new was never overshadowed by the old.

Tunes such as the soaring Isotype with its vocoder vocals and grandstanding effective set opener Ghost Star retain all the charm, romance and the hook-filled songsmithery of their best work.

Even if this was an unknown new band playing,  these new songs would work against anything other new electro upstarts, who have been heavily influenced by these inspiring misfit Liverpudlians, could bring.

One thing has not changed and that's McCluskey's arms akimbo dad dancing. He might just have invented it, throwing shapes like he was forever trying to escape from an invisible box.

With the all, also comes the warts and the bloated US-friendly mid-80s hits, which extracted all the artful Kraftwerk nods and quirky electro ticks. The likes of If You Leave and So In Love are pleasant enough but pale in comparison to the drama and majesty of Maid of Orleans and Souvenir.

Enola Gay, played a second time just before the predictable encore, was preceded by McCluskey saying: "Thank you for being patient and for being f...ing brilliant."

In the end they exceeded the curfew by five minutes and nobody really seemed to care.