Tour Stop #4 – Irving Plaza New York September 20th 2011
Well, to say tonights gig was amazing is a bit of an understatement but I’ll say it anyways. Best gig thus far (though Miami was pretty darn close from where I stood) which was not what I was expecting after March’s Terminal 5 crowd.
The day started with a pretty simple drive in from Baltimore with Andrew and whoo hoo, we lucked out in finding some street parking so we could avoid the extremely expensive parking garages…it just entailed some consistent repaying of the meter by yours truly so as to avoid a ticket from the ticket police we saw patrolling the area.
Laura (Summermuse) was coming to both NYC gigs also and we had yet to meet face to face so as it turned out, we both arrived to the venue pretty much the same time. Nice to finally get together, LOL. NYC is known for it’s thin crust pizza but the last time I tried some, it wasn’t that great so the three of us were hungry and decided to try once again….hmmm… yeah, OK, I’ll stick to good ol’ Chicago style, sorry.
As mentioned, parking was taken care of while Laura and Andrew did the soundcheck as they both had Gold packages. Unfortunately, there was a hang up so they weren’t actually allowed in until well past 5:00pm (originally slated for 4:45pm) but we were all happily surprised when the doors still opened to the public at 7pm.
So Terminal 5 was a much larger venue: 3,000. Irving Plaza was not quite half that size but set up pretty similar…floor in the front and a balcony that went around all 3 sides. I can’t say if it sold out our not as we were up in the front (and normally having to hit the ladies room means going all the way through the crowd but this time we hugged the side wall for a bit, literally, before turning a corner to go downstairs) but per Andrew near the time Washington was to come out, the crowd went back to the sound booth and I’m guessing more came around once OMD took the stage. Kerstin (Key on the forum) joined us and another woman behind Andrew and I, Carol, was nice enough to take a group picture of us. This was when I noticed her shirt. She had meet all but Mr. H way back in the very early 80s and had put the picture of her (head shaved with OMD on her left side… in the picture that is, not last night! and the guys on her shirt. It was so cool. She was really excited to see them again and Andrew and I promised we’d let her up front so she could get some time with Mr. M… more on that later.
Washington got a pretty good response which I’m sure was encouraging for them. They all seemed a bit more relaxed and used to the set up now vs. when I saw them in Miami and the sound was balanced out a little better too.
But then it was time for OMD. We all knew that since NYC was a “repeat city”, it was going to have even more set changes than the previous shows and I was SO excited because it felt like seeing a ‘First gig of the tour’ all over again! The lights went down, the crowd started to cheer and the familiar sounds of ‘Dazzle Ships’ came on. One by one, the guys came down a set of stairs stage left but this time, Mr. M was without his bass. No ‘New Babies: New Toys’ for us this time, we were treated to a spine tingling rendition of ‘Stanlow’. OMG! The music began, the lights illuminated him in just the right fashion that once he opened his mouth, it was like magic. The sound was crystal clear and the atmosphere instantly fell to a mesmerised hush. Laura and I were all eyes, I couldn’t believe we were getting this song. I can’t emphasise enough how special it was and I remember standing there thinking “I can hear EVERYTHING! Mr. H #2’s drums beat by beat, Mr. H and Mr. C’s keys and Mr. M’s vocals just cutting the air”. The crowd gave a well deserved roar when it was over and Mr. M laughed saying “we promised if we came back we’d play some weird shit.” Promise kept!
The next few songs were the same as earlier, ‘Messages’ and ‘Tesla Girls’ being sound staples and crowd pleasers but then it was time for another new one… ‘She’s Leaving’….awwww! I just love that song and it brought back memories of last years gigs with friends. ‘HoM1’ was the usual bouncing song and when it was done the crowd surprised me by starting the “OMD, OMD“ chant! Oh yeah! THIS was more like it! Last time NYC was a bit, er, reserved from my vantage and ear point but not tonight! ‘(Forever) Live And Die’ was introduced with Mr. M talking of bad dancing and then pointing to Mr. H and saying “he taught me everything I know”. Well Mr. H didn’t disappoint and later Andrew and I giggled that the two girls who had been next to me/behind him at last NYC gig in March were there again… on Mr. H’s side…. going gaga once more. Have I mentioned the whole deja vu thing yet?
‘Souvenir’ saw Mr. M give Mr. H #2 a kiss on the head, sweet! and the back to back smash of ‘Joan Of Arc’ and ‘Maid Of Orleans’ really brought out a great crowd response. So much so that it went on quite awhile and saw the familiar shocked and laughing response from Mr. M and Co. Wonderful!
Well, Laura was dying to see ‘Statues’ live and the lights this venue had, like during ‘Stanlow’, lent for a good backdrop for the video I grabbed as she just soaked it up, all smiles. Green found Mr. M back down on the barrier steps and it was this time that Carol was able to get up from behind us and get to Mr. M. He grabbed her hand and then she got up close while Andrew, myself and her friend tried to grab pictures. I missed… Andrew didn’t, score! Tee hee.
‘Talking Loud And Clear’ was the last slow song and Mr. M came to sit down near us as he often does. This was the first time Laura was right in the front and Mr. M recognised her from the forum so part way in, she got a nice handshake and a “nice to see you young lady”.
And then it was back to dancing and bouncing. ‘So In Love’ and ‘Sister Mary Says’ were great where Key, Andrew, Laura and I were joined by others bouncing like Mexican jumping beans. Locomotion found Mr. M sneaking up behind Mr. H and LOL, Laura was anxiously waiting for more tickling… nope, just a sly grin from Mr. M and a laugh of ‘what are you up to?’ from Mr. H. ‘Dreaming’ was great too, giving one of the best sing alongs of the night as the crowd was just eating it up. By the time they hit ‘Enola Gay’, everyone was all over the place and the guys smiles again said it all. SO happy for them! No one ever expected another tour this soon so it was great to see the appreciation.
The encore started with ‘Walking On The Milky Way’ and Mr. M changed the lyrics to not only name the city but make a joke of the return “Two or three times this year in NYC you can…” Next was ‘Secret’, though, poor Mr. H… whoever was running the lights for the night kept them on Mr. M instead of moving them over so the first few lines Mr. H was in the dark! LOL, Mr. M looked out, pointed to Mr. H and the spotlight got quickly moved to the appropriate guy… oops. It got a massive response as I figured it would… people wanted to hear it so badly and I gotta say, it’s turning into one of my favs to hear live! Everything about it is awesome!
Alas, ‘Electricity’ marked the true end of the gig and as the guys said their final goodbyes, there were the usual promises of coming back soon… um, is the next night soon enough? When they were gone, we started chatting excitedly, emails exchanged and such..heck even the security guard was sweet. As he politely told us we had to start moving he asked if we’d be back. Yes we would..and so would he. Great!
Afterwards a number of us waited around for the guys. Carol wanted her shirt signed (which she got at least from Mr. M., I saw it later but then ran over to grab a group photo with Mr. H so not sure if she managed his signature too) and friendly greetings for all us girls from Mr. M before finally having to say goodbye.
So, highlight of the night…hard to pick it but I would say having such a great bunch of bouncers around me. Andrews laugh makes me laugh and the more there are, the higher I go… so fun! Thanks fellow pogo sticks! ;o)
But no worries…we just headed back down on the train to Penn Station to do it all over again. Life’s good!!!
Photos by Lori Tarchala
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and The Electricity Club.