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Review: OMD celebrate their 40th anniversary in Cambridge

The synth-pop pioneers performed "new songs, old songs and a couple of weird songs" at the Corn Exchange on Friday, November 15.

OMD. Picture: Alex Lake
OMD. Picture: Alex Lake

Impressive support came from the more guitar-based, Mig 15, a band which features OMD frontman Andy McCluskey's son James on bass.

Coming out to a rapturous reception, OMD - Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Stuart Kershaw - began their set with the slow-burning Stanlow, on which McCluskey's voice truly soared.

Announcing that we could expect "new songs, old songs, a couple of weird songs and lots of dancing," the second track, the exhilarating Isotype, certainly allowed for more of the latter.

Noting that they are "creatures of habit," McCluskey asked the audience to name the third song the band normally play in their concerts.

"Messages!" came the die-hards' reply. It was - and was as danceable as ever, as was the next tune, Tesla Girls.

McCluskey explained that Humphreys had been suffering from a cold, meaning that he hadn't sung (Forever) Live and Die on the previous dates and had left McCluskey to sing Souvenir.

Happily, he was able to deliver solid renditions of both tonight, with McCluskey helping out on the latter.

As ever, McCluskey's energetic dancing was a joy to watch and after dancing up a storm on Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans), he noted: "That's the first time I've danced to that song in Cambridge since I turned 60."

The quartet came out to the front and performed Almost, the b-side of their first ever single, Electricity, and the song which inspired Vince Clarke to learn the synthesiser and form Depeche Mode.

They then did their latest single, Don't Go, McCluskey noting that it and Almost were 40 years apart.

OMD. Picture: Alex Lake
OMD. Picture: Alex Lake

"Did you enjoy your rest?" he asked after the more low-key interlude, an indication that the energy level was due to go back up.

It sure did, as one by one the four songs that followed - The Punishment of Luxury, Locomotion, Sailing on the Seven Seas and Enola Gay - raised the level to near-hysteria and left the crowd wanting more.

The highlight of the encore, for me, was Pandora's Box, an outstanding tune about American actress and dancer Louise Brooks, from 1991.

Reminding the audience that they were "creatures of habit" McCluskey asked what was coming next.

Stating that they always "end where it started," the final song of the evening was the frenetic Electricity, OMD's first single from way back in 1979.

OMD. Picture: Alex Lake
OMD. Picture: Alex Lake

This was the fourth time I'd seen OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) in two years and they never ever disappoint.

They said they'd see us again and I for one am already looking forward to the next time.

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