OMD – Atlanta 2011

Tour Stop #8 – The Loft, Atlanta 14th March 2011

I just realised mid last night that I didn’t have a “highlight of the night” for Chicago’s gig… sorry (Chalk it up to me being thrilled to be home amongst everyone that it just slipped the mind). I will have two for this gig to make up for it!

So the day started great with my sister and I heading out to Atlanta, making a quick stop at a famous pancake house to fuel up for the drive. We made decent timing but then unfortunately got all turned around when we couldn’t get over to the proper lane of traffic in time to get in the venue’s parking lot and had to get back on the expressway, come around through a strange street and attempt to make our way back into the garage. (I was told but saw it for myself last night… people in Atlanta aren’t very nice on the roads!)

When we finally arrived and walked to the venue door, one thing was instantly noticeable… the weather. OMG, I had on jeans and a sleeveless shirt… that was it! Far cry from just a couple of days ago when we were all jumping up and down in attempts to stay warm while waiting outside the tour bus in Chicago! Whoo hoo, finally… warmth!

I was looking forward to meeting Taoyoyo so while my sister went off to find some food, I waited and one by one the VIPers came out until I found Taoyoyo. Great to see the show with other enthusiastic fans!!! We hung out a bit, grabbed some food, chatted and when it was time to go in, he was wonderful enough to save spots for sis and I since he got in first with VIP pass.

Well… wow! I was told the venue fits 650 so was quite surprised when I walked in. Considering I was told the Crofoot in Pontiac holds 400, there was NO WAY this could hold 650, it was smaller!!! Heck even Mr. M mentioned it was the smallest place they’d played yet. No balcony, just a small floor and very low ceilings, it definitely made for an intimate setting! (no complaints from anyone I might add ;o)

We grabbed a front row spot and seeing as how my sister had only seen the OMD Revisited Tour in 2000, not a gig with all four members, she got to be centre. It wasn’t long before I realised something was different though. Hmm, the stage didn’t look right. Hans’ drums were on stage right and Tara’s keys were on stage left. And wait, that’s not even the right set-up.. what the heck? Well Taoyoyo told me that he heard the opening act was going to be a band called Scars on 45…. where was Oh Land?

When the show was about to start, sure enough, out walked four fresh faced British musicians, I am guessing mid 20s… keyboardist (sorry, but can’t remember his or lead singers name), female vocalist Amy, lead singer and guitarist and drummer Chris (who the lead singer teased looked like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but to me he looked a lot like the drummer of Muse!) They were nothing like Oh Land, that was for sure. We were told they were doing a softer, more acoustic set with only 4 of the 6 members because the other two had publicity commitments. To be honest, the music wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting. They did folk type rock and the harmonies were good but just not a band I would want to hear 18 times LOL. When they were done and the stage was getting cleared, I asked Baz what happened to Oh Land. He said they couldn’t make it as they had to be at SXSW. I asked then does that mean they won’t be at Houston either? He said yes but didn’t know who would be. Should be interesting to see who walks on stage…

It wasn’t long and OMD’s ‘History of Modern (Part III & IV)’ came on and right away the crowd got excited. I couldn’t wait for my sister to see them and was glad we were up front (Taoyoyo stood behind us). My sister, upon looking at the size of the stage, asked “How is he (Mr. M) going to do his dancing with this little space?” but I told her about Boston (yep, this stage was that size or perhaps slightly smaller – and low like that one too!) and how he managed to pull it off so when ‘New Babies: New Toys’ came on and the whole rocking bass thing ensued, Mr. M had it down no problem. (though like other nights, many instinctively backed away a bit when the bass came around their heads and I had to duck again as hands from behind came up to slap him later… such small gigs… too funny!).

Well, I am happy to say that my sister did me proud. She immediately got into the dancing mood and I could tell she was really liking them. Mr. M was impressed that we weren’t scared of a new song, then launched into a couple of oldies but goodies… ‘Messages’ was met with an enthusiastic roar and Tesla Girls got people singing. But ‘History of Modern (Part I)’ was my favorite for the night (ok, make up “highlight of the night”). When it came on and we were told we HAD to dance, I started jumping up and down, my sister followed and more were with us but since it was packed, by mid song my sister and I were jumping up and down like one (due to our shoulders pretty much attached at that point) and we looked at each other, giggling and laughing like we were kids again! She even grabbed my hand and started yelling “sisters”, it was silly and awesome all at the same time, not uncommon for us!

Thanks in part to the close proximity of the venue, not to mention the temperature inside and out, by the time that song was over, I was dripping (and the band members were making gestures to each other how hot it was too). I started having flashbacks to Toronto so during ‘(Forever) Live And Die’, I frantically searched for something to put my hair up, failed and thought oh well… ‘(Forever) Live And Die’ went over well and Mr. H was his usual happy self (on the drive home my sister laughed at how jolly he looked “He was just smiling all the time” Yep, that’s Mr. H for ya).

‘Joan Of Arc’ was special to me that night, it being the first song I ever heard by OMD and now seeing them with my sister, quite nostalgic. ‘Maid Of Orleans’… WOW! Everyone was floored! The dark stage with only a strobe light occurred again but with this tiny a stage I couldn’t help but think, gosh, don’t fall off! At the end, the applause just kept going and going… we may have been a small crowd but for the amount of people, we made some noise! It was probably one of the longest going cheers and got more than one good laugh out of Mr. M and huge smiles from the others! Brilliant all around!!!

The slow songs afterwards were actually a nice reprieve from the heat but it didn’t last long. So In Love got singing again, ‘Sister Marie Says’ had the bouncing and ‘Dreaming’ found Mr. M changing lyrics to tease the nice couple who were next to my sister and I in the front row (they had come from Florida to see the show and had done the VIP package… birthday gifts to themselves/each other).

As it turned out, Atlanta is city #3 for the chanting of “OMD… OMD… OMD” during the break for an encore. Just love it when that happens! ;o) When the band came out again, it was obvious they were having a blast and Mr. H thanked us all for being so wonderful. We got the promise that they would come back and it wouldn’t be 23 years this next time and then, after the final two songs, it was over (though not before we saw Mr. M drop to the floor at the end of ‘Walking On The Milky Way’, LOL). Lots of sweaty people filed out to get some fresh air but wow, what a night for everyone involved!!!

Ok, so the other highlight of the night… this is really just something simple but it also shows how in tune Mr. M can be to the crowd. There were a couple of young ‘uns at the show… very young actually. I’m guessing maybe 7 or 8 and 9 or 10. He saw the one being blocked due to being behind a few rows so reached out and brought him forward. The brother eventually ended up front row too and during ‘Walking On The Milky Way’, where Mr. M has normally changed some of the lyrics with one change adding the word “Bastard”, he went back to the original line so as to keep things clean for the kids. Ha, sweet!

So now I’m off to Texas. It will be my final flight for 5 days as I am picking up a rental car and road tripping it; a welcome break as my allergies have kicked in and my right ear has been clogged since my return flight home last Friday. LOL, every time it starts to clear, I have had to fly again so fingers crossed I can actually hear properly in a few days! And ya know the old saying… Everything’s bigger in Texas… so who knows, maybe this state will yield some of the best gigs of the tour. Ya never know and time will tell.

Photos by Lori Tarchala