Tour Stop #1-Grand Central-Miami September 16th 2011
Well folks, here we are again. OMD are back in America and I’m blogging again. The main difference, I’m not doing the entire tour, LOL, missing a few, so this won’t be a daily occurrence. But how could I not do the first gig eh? ;o)
So unlike in March where the tour started in rainy-snowy Toronto, I found myself in Miami… or more specifically for me, Miami Beach. Palm trees, sun, and HEAT! I arrived a couple of days early and had two wonderful events before the gigs even started. First was the massive honour of interviewing Mr. M. The second… a trip to the other side of the state (literally) to see a special canine friend (yes I said canine) called Miya. I traveled along an expressway affectionately called “Alligator Alley” but darn it, I never saw one single alligator… humph, what a rip off, LOL. But it was a wonderful day filled with great conversation (with her owners that is, Chris and Audie… both from the UK so keeping up with the theme of the OMD tour), doggie kisses and probably the last decent dinner I’ll have until I get home late next week!
The day of the gig, I headed off to the beach…my hotel was only a block from it (LOL, that was the only good thing about that place!) and it was lovely to walk along the shore… until we saw all the jellyfish around. One actually washed up right in front of me! Needless to say, I moved up a bit!
Soon it was time to get ready for the gig and I can’t tell ya how excited I was. To be getting a second tour in the states in one year, OMG! I knew be there… the start of deja vu!
So OMD were scheduled to play a venue called Grand Central in downtown Miami. The venue was a bit, um, different. Firstly, it wasn’t very clear where we were to even go. I had bought a Platinum package and arrived to find a couple girls talking to Mr. M. and Mr. H. and another, Selena, looking unsure where to go like me. Very shortly after, Irene came, reunion hugs and then it was time to figure things out. Well, we found ourselves in the back, er, garden area. It had a bar, a pool table (so tempting to give it a whirl but I didn’t :o) and a couch. We had been told by Bright Antenna to show up at 4:45PM but the venue workers said it was at 5pm so we just chatted until another familiar face came out. Ryan from Bright Antenna, who was now OMDs tour manager, came and assumed the role he had last tour regarding package organiSation. Like before, names called off and goodies given. The main difference… Platinum holders got a USB stick to download the gig. Per Ryan, no need to go pick anything up after the gig, it was programmed such that you could just take it home, plug it in and follow the instructions to download the gig right then. Whoo hoo!
The gig hadn’t sold out but the venue workers by the outside bar told me they were expecting it could as the “pre-sale” ticket sales were good and going by history, that led them to think there’d be even more people showing up tonight. Not sure if it happened, I saw some space in the back so I’m gonna guess maybe not but..well I’m getting ahead of myself.
So total packagers was maybe 25 which made it for a very intimate experience! Walking into the venue I was really surprised to find couches! And not just one or two, but about half dozen all scattered around…dark (blue or black) and white striped things that gave the venue more of a lounge feel…except that the rest of the place was like a converted warehouse. Very strange indeed but hey, unique too. Happily, no barrier so that meant we could get right up front, though LOL, none of us did. As usual, the guys seemed in good spirits and joked around but the best part was getting to see the 20+ year “debut” of ‘Secret’!!! OMG, it was amazing! They seemed a bit unsure and worried about it but it came over fine and the harmonies between Mr. M. and Mr. H. were stellar! Selena hung with Irena and I and after sound check, since we both had Platinum, we got in line for the signing, except, oops, in my flurry of other things I forgot my shirt I had brought to get signed. Luckily, I will be seeing them again at some point after shows so I’m sure I’ll get it signed before tours end no worries tee hee ;o)
As before, packagers got early entrance but to ensure we had a front row spot, Selena and I got in line early, along with Stefan now. I should say, it was just so surreal to be standing and doing all this just 6 months later. Not just deja vu but also very sweetly nostalgic. The best I can do to explain would be to compare it to when you put on your favourite sweater for the first time of the season. You know what it’s going to feel like, it’s been your favourite forever but yet it’s also been packed away for awhile so putting it on again has that “ahhh” comforting feeling like embracing an old friend. That’s how it was for me.
Once in, we headed straight to the front. The girls earlier talking to Mr. M. and Mr. H. were next to us, Barbara and Sandy, Pablo, another fan joined our group as did Lisa and John (not together, they came with others but I just met them). It was looking to be a fun crowd!
So there has been a fair amount of doubt on the forum of the support act Washington and how she’d go over. I have to say I wasn’t impressed with the songs I’d heard on line so was coming in with very low expectations. When she emerged, along with a drummer, bassist and guitarist (who was fairly nice on the eyes and kind of reminded me of Matt BelLamy of Muse) they jumped started the set with a song called ‘1997’. I actually liked it and thought ‘hmm, OK…” The next song was just so-so, and then, sadly, it went down hill from there (at least for Selena and I). One thing that didn’t help was that her vocals were getting drowned out by the other instruments but even if I could hear her better, I just didn’t like a number of the songs. She puts on a decent show with stage presence and got going again with Sunday Best but her final song also didn’t grab me… hmmm, 2 songs to my favoUr and many gigs to go… ah well, it could be worse with NO songs LOL ;o)
Not too much time passed and the lights went down to the sounds of ‘Dazzle Ships’. OH YEAH, now we’re talking! Though funny enough (well not for the guys) it was coming to an end and Selena and I kept looking towards the side waiting for them to come out (we knew they were supposed to come out from the stage left but strangely, stage right was wide open… go figure) So ‘DS’ ends, ‘NBNT’ is actually starting and Mr. H. #2 is JUST emerging on stage! Shoot. The song was stopped, the guys got in their positions, and then Mr. H. hit the keys and they were off and running. Mr. M. later made a comment of it not being a good sign when on the first gig of the tour, the opening track starts off before the band is even on stage but to be honest, I think it was lost on a lot of people… I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not known already what was supposed to happen. I am jut wondering though… I didn’t realiSe until ‘Messages’ was in its certain part that Mr. M. wasn’t wearing his usual tie and I couldn’t help but wonder if it got forfeited in order to get on stage. :o( If he’s wearing one tonight I’ll really wonder…
Well, the venue may have been relatively small, but the crowd was revved up and ready to go! Heck, John and his friend actually started bouncing before I did, now that’s what I call a great crowd, LOL! ;o) ‘Tesla Girls’ was met by a nice, strong “No, no, no” and even when Mr. M. announced that the next song was going to be from Dazzle Ships and people probably didn’t know that album, lots of cheers.
I forgot to mention one very pleasant surprise to the show… GRAPHICS! Behind the guys was, well for a lack of a better term, a wall of lights that held images that I recogniSed from last years UK/European HoM tour. ‘Messages’ had the postcards moving around, ‘Tesla Girls’ had, well, the Tesla Girls, but one that I missed in soundcheck and barely got on film during the gig was for ‘If You Leave’… Molly Ringwald!!! Brilliant!
Well, since I knew I had bouncers around me, ‘HoM Part 1’ promised to be a blast, and it was! All of us (well OK, not Barbara and Sandy but the other 5 of us) were up and down and I saw other heads moving too. John actually reminded me of a mix of my two Dallas buddies cause the bounce was of Algis and our duet singing was very much Scott. Loved it!
Mr. H. was amazing during ‘FLaD’! He came out and the crowd went crazy, singing along like mad and it was fun to see him bend down to slap fans hands as that’s not something he normally does. So sweet! ‘Souvenir’… yes, well this song is now the ‘human towel’ song. Mr. M. was up on the platform between Mr. C. and Mr. H.#2 and went over by Mr. H.#2 and got behind him. He bent down and at first I thought he was looking for something or checking out the levels or what have you, until I saw him rub his sweaty forehead onto Mr. H.#2’s shoulder, ha, too funny.
Well, we were treated to another ‘new’ song to the setlist… ‘Statues’ replaced ‘New Holy Ground’ and it was great to hear. There was a part near the end where Mr. M., arms all tangled across his body, had the most content look on his face. They all seemed to really enjoy this gig, the crowd was giving 100% and I lost track how many times I saw Mr. H.#2’s wide grin!
Before long it was time to get up and moving again and Mr. M. took advantage of the large speakers (I think that’s what they were) to jump up and out towards the crowd, fans hands flailing in the air just waiting to get slapped… and of course that’s what they got. ;o) Things didn’t slow down and before long, it was ‘Enola Gay’ time. The place was full of bouncing, singing fans and when it was over and the guys left, the OMD chant began. It was music to my ears and at one point, when the band came back on, Mr. M. asked “Why has this been only our second time playing Miami?” Not sure but with the multitudes of “Thank you”, “welcome back” and the like from fans, it’s safe to say Miami was missing their OMD!
So that brings me up to ‘Secret’… yep, Mr. M. mentioned they got “so much shit” last time for not doing it but also put out a “disclaimer” incase it went sour. But, just like in soundcheck, it went well, again, much to their pleasant surprise. ‘Electricity’ rounded up the three song encore (they started it with ‘WotMW’) and as always, it was the song to have one final burst of freak out. Awesome! The first night come and gone, and what a night it was spent with friends, old and new.
So, highlight of the night, well… I think I have two. One being from the fans… John kept cracking me up because he was letting out a “Whoo hoooooo” that reminded me of what you hear when you are going down the massive hill of a rollercoaster, tee hee. And Lisa’s response… at one point it looked like she was trying not to cry, I think she was so in awe of finally seeing this! I know the feeling hun! But the other came from the band…it’s always wonderful to see their sincere reactions but with this gig it was something more. Maybe because it was the first and in a place they hadn’t played for so long, maybe it was because it hadn’t sold out in advance and who knew what was going to happen, maybe it was the uncertainty of ‘Secret’ and it’s, er, well it was kind of like when they were kids trying things out for the first time… raised eyebrows of ‘OK…here we go eh?” followed by a thrilled “well, that wasn’t so bad” and Mr. H.#2’s “phew” wipe across the forehead. It just gave them such a human aspect everyone could relate to. Not sure if I’m making sense here, sorry.
But there ya have it, one gig down and a bunch to go. What a way to start things off!
Photos by Lori Tarchala