Tour Stop #2 – Montreal Le National 6th March 2011
Well, I’m still in Canada and freezing my tush off thanks in part to the sudden drop in temperature. The predicted rain of Saturday had surprisingly turned to snow that saw a good 1.5-2 inches fallen by the end of the show and today finished with about 4 inches, making it quite a pain to drag a suitcase around… ah well, I normally work out at the gym so this will be the replacement!
I had booked a hotel that was quite close to the venue, one of only two times on the tour, LOL, so despite getting in late from the train, I was still able to arrive at the venue early… too early again as it turned out. I asked the girl smoking outside if I was at the right place and she proceeded to chuckle and say “yes but you’re quite early, the first one”. Ooops! Lucky for me it wasn’t long until another fellow fan, Natalie from Montreal area showed up and, like in Toronto, chatting helped pass the time.
There weren’t nearly the amount of people in the Gold/VIP category. This venue hadn’t sold out so I could tell pretty quickly that I would have a good chance of getting up close to the stage. Because of this, there was also no hassle of getting in, though to be honest they actually weren’t as organized as Toronto because they didn’t ask for special ticket holders to come in first, they just opened the door. Note to special ticket holders: either wear your badges on outer clothing or, in the case of the two couples I told to go ahead of us because they were VIPers, keep the OMD logo bag that you get the merchandise in (yep, another goodie that I didn’t realise was included) with you so that you stand out since it seems things are going differently each night.
This venue was actually smaller than Toronto’s – about 700-800 people and it had much more of a theatre feel and style vs. a bar. Not the mad line for coat check this time either which was good for those using it.
I got up close, spread for Natalie who had gotten a few steps behind and then, as it is often the case, started to meet the people around me. One girl Pena (hope I spelled that right) had come up to me earlier in the night asking if I was the girl doing all the shows and it was fun hanging with her and her peeps along with a sweet couple who I was told just joined the OMD forum… this tour, like last years, is going to bring a bag of newbies to the OMD community, cool! And can’t forget Kim and gang… they kept the Liverpudlian spirit alive with their scarf and British flag, not to mention having a bit of fun – particularly with Kim’s old T-shirt from the late 80s. Though she was surprised to hear her’s was in better shape than my old thing back home in my drawer, she showed the design (the cover of the Best Of CD from 1988) to the guys a number of times, making fun of where their heads fell… if ya know what I mean ;o) It was funny to watch and gave the guys some laughs.
Ok, so I promised more on opening band Oh Land… gotta say, I definitely enjoyed them more tonight than last night, I wasn’t as preoccupied and could pay more attention. They are a 3-piece consisting of female lead singer who also plays keys and occasionally bangs an electric drum pad; a full blown computer and keyboardist and a drummer who looks like he’s about 15 but knows how to strike a throbbing beat. His set up not only had electric drum pads but a real one and a few other miscellaneous do-dads. Music wise, they would jump from slow and melancholy to fun and poppy, the later being the ones I enjoyed the most. My only problem… their final song of the set, a song Mr. M. posted a link to on the OMD forum, ‘We Turn It Up’ is SO darn infectious that it has been running off and on in my brain for the past 36 hours now! They got a wonderful response, many whistles and hoots from the guys, and I began to wonder if tonight’s audience was going to be better than last nights…
Like in Toronto, once the lights came down, the roar went up and one by one the guys came out, from the left this time but poor Mr. C., the crewman with his flashlight went to help lead Mr. H.#2 off to his drums, leaving Mr. C. to go on his own so he was stepping a bit cautiously. ‘New Babies: New Toys’ started the set again but unfortunately it also started the string of mishaps that were coming from Mr. M’s bass. I remember thinking last night that the bass he was playing wasn’t the normal white one, this one was burgundy, but figured maybe something had happened to it or he just wanted to use a different one for this tour but after it cut out for a bit on ‘Messages’, he made it clear it was all on the suggestion of their sound guy to use it but since it just gave out so he was going back to his original one “and if this one gives out, I’m going to commit suicide” :o(
They continued on through ‘Tesla Girls’ and it was quite clear this crowd was totally and completely encompassed by the show. I heard people singing along and the dancing and bouncing came pretty naturally, even to the new stuff… ‘History of Modern (Part I)’ was a smash, heck I could even hear people singing to that one and if the smiles on the guys faces weren’t big enough last night, they sure were tonight! I just stood there absolutely thrilled for them, what a well deserved thank you for them coming!
Sadly, the technical difficulties continued with some strange sounds coming out of the stage, clicking of some sort that caused Mr. M.to tell the crowd “I sure hope it sounds good to you guys because it sounds like World War Two up here for us” but if it’s any consolation, no one, including myself, seemed to be bothered (though I felt bad for them, poor guys!) The blockbuster duo of ‘Joan Of Arc’ and ‘Maid Of Orleans’ was still a mind blowing event despite Mr. M’s worries of whether his bass was going to hold out or not. In fact, as I stood there recording, I realised that with the absence of the screen and an array of well positioned stage lights instead, a really cool essence was brought to the stage, particularly with the wind milling. He was illuminated gorgeously!
‘If You Leave’ brought about the best sing-a-long of the night and was so much fun. Talk about reliving the 80’s! The only thing that could have made the song better would have been if Molly Ringwald and Co. had walked out on stage.
I was told that during the soundcheck, the band had mentioned that they didn’t think ‘Pandora’s Box’ had worked very well (no idea why, I thought it was great) so instead they were replacing it with another song.. turned out to be ‘Talking Loud And Clear’ and, as is customary, Mr. M. planted himself on one of the speakers to start the song. ‘Sister Marie Says’ was as fun as last night and the whole band seemed to be relishing the night. I particularly noticed how often Mr. H. #2 was laughing and not sure what was going on but near the end of the gig, Mr. M. got up by Mr. C. and whatever he did or said (his back was to us), it had Mr. C., Mr. H.#2 and Mr. M. himself cracking up. Such fun to watch!
So as always, they ended with ‘Electricity’ and the place was rocking… literally, it wasn’t the first time I felt the ground around me shaking. Another fantastic gig despite any complications on the technical side. It truly didn’t alter our experience and another very happy crowd dispersed.
So, highlight of the night… I apologise as I don’t plan to make a habit of having it be self related but for this case, I can’t help it. I’m not sure how Mr. M. found out (though there are a few names that come to mind when putting together a list of culprits) but he knew it was my birthday last night and proceeded to announce it (LOL, along with the fact I’m doing all the gigs), wish me a happy day and dedicate Dreaming to me. It was without a doubt the biggest OMG moment, lots of hands to the face, but wonderfully sweet and definitely made my night and gave me a birthday to remember!!!!
I’m now off to Boston and though I was worried about my flight getting delayed due to the fact that Montreal is in the midst of a snowstorm, it all worked out. My flight got SO delayed that they moved me to a different one on a different airline. It’s now a direct flight. No connection… whoo hoo, thank yoooou Mother Nature, tee hee! ;o)
Photos by Lori Tarchala