Tour Stop #7 -Chicago Park West, Chicago 12th March 2011
Sweet home Chicago!!! That’s what it was for me last night (ok, I live in a far NW suburb but to me this was home advantage night!) Nicky and I arrived a bit early despite crazy downtown traffic that ensued from the city having their huge (and I DO mean huge) St. Paddy’s Day celebration. We parted ways as he went home and I stayed around, getting into the Irish spirit by stopping at McDonalds for a Shamrock shake. As I typed up the current blog, I couldn’t help but get more and more excited as I was going to be among the biggest crowd of friends yet, all but one of them being OMD live newbies!
I was one of the lucky ones to have a VIP ticket for the night (thanks to good friend Mitch who bought them for us for my Xmas gift) and was excited for sound check and also getting a picture with both Mr. M and Mr. H together! Alexa was VIP also and had come down with her boyfriend Andreas so the three of us got in line shortly before 4:30pm and anxiously waited. Met forumeer Missy, a fellow DM fan too (though a Martin girl, not a Dave girl like me) and will be fun to hang more in southern CA for the shows as we didn’t get too much time last night. And LOL, another friend Marci “got dragged” to the show by her boyfriend who also got them VIP.
Well the venue’s people started to explain the procedure to us and sadly announced that they were “on a very tight schedule so there won’t be pictures allowed today and one item only to have signed”. BUMMER! Though there was really gusty winds going on outside which raised havoc on my hair and I had just been fretting about looking a mess so at least I could stop worrying about that, tee hee! We were checked off the list, given our goodies and then led into the venue. Park West is a bit more theatre like with about 5 levels and then a balcony. The “floor” isn’t too big because then it goes up a step or two and you have an area with two rows of tables and/or booths. This repeats I think 3 times (didn’t pay too much attention as I had NO intentions of sitting down!). I was sad to see no one going on the floor but instead everyone getting comfy in the first row of booths and tables. What? I tried to talk Alexa and the guy on my other side to go down as I knew from talking to others who had gone to sound check you were allowed right up by the stage but it wasn’t until Mr. M actually said “you can come down ya know” that we did. It was SO cool! Interesting to see how it all works (though LOL, Mr. M made jokes about how “exciting” it must be for us to hear them go over techy things etc. Honestly, I thought it was. I don’t think many of us realize how detailed it is until seen for ourselves.) They ran through ‘Messages’ (at the beginning and the end) along with ‘New Babies: New Toys’, ‘Green’ and ‘Joan Of Arc’. Great fun!
When it was all over, the Gold were indeed let out of the venue and the rest of us were lined up to go into the foyer where surprisingly all 4 guys were sitting behind a table! (I say surprisingly because someone told me that only Mr. M and Mr. H would be doing it when it was a sold out event and more of an assembly line) It was really quite nice! Even though, yes, you were put in a line and moved along, it wasn’t like you had to go up, say hi, get the thing signed and move on, I got to chat a small bit as I saw a few others did too so really a neat experience to get up close to the band!
I must say, this venue was the first one I found suffered some sound quality when being front row (which is where myself, and by doors open, 5 other friends were) Hard to explain but it seemed like some of the vocals and a bit of music were missing or sounding far away. I noticed it more with Oh Land than with OMD but it was there the whole night. I’m thinking because it looked like we were in line with some of the speakers vs. being slightly in front but that is just a guess.
Well Oh Land did their thing as usual and about midway through, I all of a sudden saw two really tall girls bouncing around behind me. They were apparently there more for Oh Land than OMD (actually not a first, found two girls in DC who had come for Oh Land “We have no idea who OMD are but we’re going to stick around and see what they’re like” wow! Unfortunately they didn’t return to the balcony so I wasn’t able to get a follow up after OMD’s performance but I highly doubt they were disappointed!). Someone yelled “You’re hot!” and Nanna laughed and thanked them. Then “It was the drummer” was yelled and Nanna, who had turned around to face the back of the stage, turned around again and gave a sly little smile.
To be honest, I was wondering if Chicago would be able to pull off being as great a crowd as Montreal and DC, my favorites so far, but my fears were soon put away. OMD walked on stage and the crowd blew up! ‘New Babies: New Toys’ was greeted with singalongs (at least in my area) and lots of dancing. Since the floor had gotten crowded (it was a sold out show of just under 1,000) I couldn’t see too much past the first 5-8 rows but could see the balcony and the rail had people standing (though to be honest, never been up there so not even sure if there are seats). ‘Messages’ got people going even more but shortly after, poor Mr. M had to switch out his in-ear monitor because as he said “It sounds like World War Three in here”. ‘Tesla Girls’ and ‘Radio Waves’ elicited the crowd even more (No, No, NO! ;o) but unfortunately they didn’t help with Mr. M’s monitor and not only he but Baz seemed to be getting frustrated.
When ‘History of Modern (Part I)’ came on, I reminded Alexa that it was a bouncing song but she didn’t need reminding, she was up and down like the best of us. My friend Cathy is also a big dancer so LOL, the three of us had our own little party going on! (Happy to report I only stepped on my friend Mary who was behind me once the entire show. Then again, she may have moved back a bit.
Despite the continued monitor problem, (poor Mr. M did a few songs without it in his ear but darn if it didn’t sound as good as any other night so it didn’t hamper the show from our stand point!) the songs kept coming and I was thrilled when the crowd just kept going and going after ‘Maid Of Orleans’… awesome! This was actually the first night I remember the stage being dark except for the strobe light, many others had minimal lighting or in the case of Montreal, really cool beams illuminating Mr. M so it was very reminiscent of what they did last year in the UK/Europe. By far a highlight of the gig and LOL, my friend Leif was looking forward to seeing the “Famous windmilling”… he got an eye full, giving me an impressed “OK!” look and nod afterwards.
‘New Holy Ground’, ‘Green’ and ‘Talking Loud And Clear’ were their usual welcome break… I will never get tired of seeing the first two, they are just gorgeous and always done with such emotion. But then it was time for the dancing again and when ‘Sister Marie Says’ came on, I heard for the first time a sing along that included the echo “Sister Marie says…” after Mr. M’s “I don’t know exactly what I’d do”. Way cool! I have to say, I think Chicago wins out for the most singing!
I was having so much fun experiencing the show with my friends that I totally spaced on getting something on video (goal was to get something from each show) and even had to work on getting some pics (that’s SO not like me!) so Enola Gay was up by the time I could grab something. Ok, I thought, Leif loves this song, I’ll record it for him… .um, yeah, good luck with that. I think I made it up to maybe the first vocal line, maybe not even that far before I thought “Are you kidding? I can’t hold still for ‘Enola Gay’!” and down went the camera, up went me. Everyone was all over and the cheers for the guys both when they said goodbye the first time and when they said it for the final time were wonderful to hear! Someone had yelled “Thank you for coming back to play for us” and he voiced the sentiment of EVERYONE in that venue – and at every venue for that matter. 23 years, shoot that’s over 2 decades… a LONG time to wait but boy was it worth it!
So as I am relishing the fact that I got to sleep in my own bed and have been able to type this up in the comfort of my own computer chair and using a full sized keyboard that doesn’t have a cursor that just flies around for no apparent reason, I get ready to leave once more very shortly. Atlanta will be my final show where I have someone I love with me, this time my sister, but I’m not worried about the remaining gigs as first of all, as many of you know, I can get quite talkative when I’m at an OMD show (tee hee) but also, I’ve met some great fans who will be at some of the other gigs so cheers to meeting up with you in the coming days!
Photos by Lori Tarchala