OMD – Milwaukee 2011

Tour Stop #8 – Turner Hall, Milwaukee

Ah…..a town close enough to mine that I could actually sleep in my own bed the night prior and the night of ;o) So the day started super early as I had an early shift at work and needed to drop Alexa off at the train station. For some strange reason, work dragged a lot more today than it had yesterday but I managed.

When it was finally quitting time, I quickly changed and then hopped in the car for the 2 hour drive. Longer than the drive into Chicago for last nights gig but a much easier, less congested drive so no complaints. When I arrived near the venue, I could see that it must have rained as the pavement was wet and just as I found a parking spot about 3 blocks away, I noticed a rainbow. Cool!

Tonight was going to be another fun (and friend) filled night. Steve and Sally were here again, along with Missy and her friend Marcy, plus Mark and Melissa and Alexa and her mom (who was a HOOT!…more on her later. When I arrived, I was behind two older gentleman… gotta say, the oldest fans I’ve seen all tour (and maybe even last tour). We were told which line to stand in as there was one for not only the OMD packagers but the venue itself offered an early entry/beat the line ticket purchase. Nope, I was just plain so got my spot and waited. As the minutes ticked away, Missy and Marcy showed up but so did other fans… again, many much older. It was by far the oldest crowd I’ve seen here in the states and I couldn’t help but wonder how the reactions were going to be, not to mention the bouncing, LOL.

When 7pm finally arrived and we were allowed in, I walked through the doors to find what I had seen earlier this year when I came to see a show… tables and chairs set up in the back 1/3 of the venue. The place itself is actually quite lovely from the outside… old, majestic looking building. In the inside however, well the ceiling is old (it was pointed out to me that there was wire mesh… to protect us from pieces falling. I don’t know about that but it was a funny comment, along with another pointer… the balcony sloped. OK, yeah, emphasis needs to be put on the OLD part of my earlier description!) Because of the age of much of the crowd, not too many people rushed to the stage so it was easier for all us OMD forumers to stake claim to the front row… which was up against the stage… that was well over 4 feet high! (my guestimate would be 4.5.) LOL, Alexa wondered how Green was going to go down….

Washington came on and there were three quite young girls standing in the middle (yes, we had youn ‘uns too) really getting into her, along with another guy who was bopping along… good to see. But the real fun started with OMD. We were back to the set list closer to what was done in March since Milwaukee wasn’t a “repeat city” so that meant booming bass to wake everyone up. I’m happy to say that either more and more fans came in or ones that had been sitting decided it was time to check OMD out because the floor got fuller. Not crammed, just more people.

After ‘New Babies: New Toys’, Mr. M dared the crowd to be the best crowd on the tour so far… hmm, OK, will give it our best shot. ‘Messages’ and ‘Tesla Girls’ were their usual upbeat songs and the people on the floor were having fun but not too crazy yet. It was around this time that Mr. M noticed a fan who seemed to be fixated on his bass. He looked down and explained that the strings were reversed because he had learned on a left handed bass, thinking it would appease or relieve him… don’t think it did as I heard later he continued to stare most of the night, LOL. (well probably not for Mr. M but….)

I had Steve and Sally to my right and Alexa’s mom and Missy to my left with Alexa behind her mom. This may be a good time to bring mom into the mix. She was a true joy to be around. Quite the social butterfly but with a typical motherly hand. I got the whole “you DROVE up here? Oh you be careful going back home! It’ll be late.” And the first words out of her mouth to me once OMD came on were “is he wearing a knee brace?” with a concerned look on her face. She was too cute… she kept looking from Mr. M to Mr. H and then to Mr. H #2 and Mr. C, with this curiously amused look, all the while letting out some head bops or some hand taps at various times. So when it came time for ‘History of Modern (Part I)’, like every night, Mr. M put his bass down and was free to roam the stage and engage in the crowd. Three guys (who had been very obnoxiously shouting out song names, screaming and yelling of such through ‘Messages’ and ‘Tesla Girls’) pushed their way up to reach for Mr. M. It became crazy for a minute but then, when I was able to come out of hiding, Alexa and I were determined to get her mom to reach out. We egged her on, she tried but missed the first time. Got him later though, sweet!

The same three guys went equally crazy when Mr. H sang ‘(Forever) Live And Die’ and he too did some hand slaps at the end. When it was time for ‘Joan Of Arc’ and ‘Maid Of Orleans’, we all watched as Mr. M did his thing (the stage was pretty big so he had lots of room) and Mr. H #2 did his magic on the drums. When it was over, happy to say, a pretty darn good response. I’m guessing a lot of the crowd was looking at him thinking “dang, I sure as heck can’t do that!”.

Unfortunately, the three annoying guys were still behind us when it came time for ‘Statues’. They didn’t like the song enough to keep quiet so poor Steve, pulls out his video camera to grab it on film (he had stuff getting in the way of the recording last night in Chicago so this was attempt #2) but they started an actual conversation and it was really distracting. I turned around to very nicely ask one of them if they could be quiet for just this song because my friend was recording and it was met with nasty sarcasm and continued chatter. In steps Alexa… BAM! They just pushed the wrong button with her and she totally told them off, to a small clapping session from the couple behind her. They at first were all ‘ooo, eh” but she gave them more to let them know she was serious and they backed down a bit. Kept talking but in a lower voice and after a few more songs, they were gone (GOOD RIDDANCE!) but poor Steve had given up hope and stopped his recording… urgh, some people! :o(

It was Missy’s birthday tonight and the guys knew it so during ‘Green’, since there was no railing for Mr. M to meander on, he just picked her to squat down and sing to and she gave it right back to him, LOL. And he was right in front of her for ‘Talking Loud And Clear’ too so she got the true birthday treatment tonight.

Once back to the “mindless dancing” session of the gig, ‘So In Love’ found Mr. M getting thrown off by a fan to the point of messing up the words to the first verse (sorry to say, I can’t report what the fan did. It was just at a time Mr. M was slapping hands but not sure what made him laugh and get off… funny to watch though as he made a quick, cute joke before getting back on track). ‘Sister Marie Says’ was introduced a bit more subdued tonight but was still met by all of us bouncing (the young ‘uns were up front with us, tee hee) and a good cheer at the end.

And speaking of young ‘uns, there was one particular girl at the far stage left who Mr. M noticed earlier so when he went to introduce ‘Sailing On The Seven Seas’ and said that it was from 1991 he then asked her how old she was. She was all shocked and said “ME? I’m 14” which Mr. M followed with “Oh, you weren’t even born yet”. But the best part was during the second verse. Often, Mr. M gets down on his knees to sing the “sex and lies..” part…guess who he decided to sing it to… Alexa’s mom! OMG, it was TOO funny and she had the natural reaction of covering her face with her hands, ha! Mr. C’s solo sounded extra good tonight too, as eyes were all on him and his mini jam part.

‘Enola Gay’ got a lot of people going and when the guys left, though the crowd wasn’t huge, there was a really good amount of cheering and screams. When they came out for the encore, ‘Secret’ was a hit and ‘Electricity’ was the final ‘go mad’ song before it was over for good. Gotta say, this was a, er, different gig… unique in that it was intimate, yet a bit strange with the chairs and such (though to be honest, since it had the oldest crowd, it was probably the best venue to HAVE the chairs, LOL).

So highlight of the night… well aside from watching Alexa’s mom, it has to be wind milling with Steve…. or I should say ATTEMPTING to windmill! Earlier, before Washington came on, the floor was pretty empty and Steve, Sally and I were joking about how we’d have a lot of dancing and bouncing room and could even join in on the wind milling if we so desired. I joked we should practice and we got a few arm wind ups in before laughing. Well, I didn’t think we’d actually do it but when ‘Joan Of Arc’ was near done, Steve leaned over and yelled “So are you ready to windmill?” I laughed and asked if he was serious but he was so I said “OK, I’ll follow your lead” (to which he called me chicken, LOL). The song started, Mr. H #2’s drums started pounding and away we went. By NO means did I do it justice, it was more free arm flailing (though my arm wind ups got fairly decent imho) but laughed my butt off as Steve flailed even more than me and Sally later said we looked good with the strobe lights on, tee hee.

So like I said, another home bed night but up early for the drive to Minneapolis… this time Alexa being my only buddy. Oh wait, nope, Mark and Melissa will be there… should be good… can’t be any stranger than tonight’s feel.

Photos by Lori Tarchala