OMD – Michigan 2011

Tour Stop #6 – Crofoot Ballroom, Michigan 11th March 2011

Well my flight from DC came in on time thank goodness and before long Nicky and I were on the road again. We headed to Pontiac and actually had quite an uneventful trip, which was wonderful! The weather totally cooperated, as did the traffic and we arrived in the town of Pontiac about 5:45pm. We THOUGHT doors were at 7pm, so I dropped Nicky off to get in line and then started my little search for something to eat. I figured there would be a sandwich shop or something… nope. Just a ma and pa grocery shop that, to be honest, gave me the heebee-jeebees and as I searched through the freezer for a sandwich, I couldn’t help but think “OK, which of these isn’t going to give me salmonella poisoning?” (in the stores defence, the lady behind the counter was very nice)

Well, as it turned out, that was just the start of things. Since I found out upon returning to Nicky that the doors were at 8pm, NOT the show. This meant we had 2 hours. There were a couple of guys waiting for the band to come out and sign things and I finally decided to get daring and run back to the car (that was conveniently parked across the street) and grab my two favorite albums I had hoped to get signed, along with the Listening Pool CD, just in case I could get Mr. C and Mr. H#2 also.

So there we were waiting when all of a sudden a guy comes up and asks us if Paul Humphreys is inside. We said yes, we were waiting for everyone to come out and sign things. He continued saying he wanted to talk to him about helping out a fundraiser he was doing for music education. OK, that sounds good but the guy was just slightly off (not trying to be mean here, hard to explain but I don’t think he was playing with a full deck if ya know what I mean). This man then started to kind of wander around so he wasn’t right by us when a few minutes later, out walked Mr. M Well the original guys went up to him and asked for signatures which he graciously gave but then the “off” guy returned and went up to Mr. M. “are you Paul Humphreys?” Bless Mr. M’s heart he just looked at him and said “No I’m Andy McCluskey”. “Well do you know where Paul Humphreys is? I want to talk to him about a fundraiser I am doing.” Again Mr. M stayed cool and proceeded to tell him the best thing for him to do was contact their manager. The guy started asking about that so Mr… asked if he had a business card and the guy went on about how he did but it didn’t have the website or email or something. Mr. M said he should give that and the guy was like “OK, I’ll be right back”. So off he went and LOL, Mr. M gave Nicky and I (who were trying hard not to laugh our arses off too obviously) a look like “Oh Brother!” I got my stuff signed (yippee!) and then the guy returned and started giving Mr. M the run down with the card but THEN, he asks if he can go get a book for him to sign. Mr. M was like, “OK” and off he went again.

By this time a sweet young guy by the name of Vince had come and told Mr. M about a short write-up he did in the local paper on their return and asked if Mr. M would sign it. Of course he obliged but as Vince was showing Mr. M the article, one of a couple homeless men that had been wandering around came up, got between Vince and Mr. M and started looking over Mr. M’s shoulder to see the article “So which one is you? You in there? Where are you? This you?” and he started to point to the picture and then look at Mr. M (I swear I am not making this up, it’s a miracle Nicky and I didn’t just blow up from laughing… or trying NOT to laugh!) So Vince is showing the homeless guy where Mr. M is, Mr. M is trying to sign the thing (don’t think Mr. M knew he was homeless) and “off” guy comes back with his book. “Here ya go, can you sign this? And then write your name too so I know who you are… Andy McCuskey right” (no I didn’t make a typo, that is what he called him! POOR Mr. M.!).

So Mr. M was finally able to get the heck out of there but shortly afterwards, out walked Mr. H (if only I could have warned him but alas) The “off “guy got to him before anyone else and to be honest, I couldn’t hear too much of what was being said, I just know Mr. H was very polite but the guy had him for a few minutes. Eventually he must have heard what he needed because he moved away and the rest of us were able to get our autographs. But the guy wasn’t done. He somehow knew there were two other members of the band (who I forgot to mention had already come out between Mr. M’s appearance and Mr. H’s). But the guy I guess didn’t see because when one of the original men waiting for signatures returned after putting his items back in the car, “off” guy said to him” are you Martin Cooper?” Wow, this man is CLUELESS! At this point, Nicky, Vince (who was now hanging out with us) and I were about on the ground laughing! (heck I am cracking up as I type this!) I hate to say it but I had my highlight of the night before the doors for the show even opened, ya just can’t beat that!

Well on the way back to my car, I ended up meeting a really sweet couple Tess and Mark, who had parked by me and was also heading to put their signed stuff away. They ended up joining Nicky, Vince and I and like many other nights, I found myself in the midst of great company. And the funny thing was, this show had two of my friends from the area Mike and Mark, along with Marks girlfriend Lisa coming too. By the time the gig started, I had a wonderful group of new and old friends, it was SO great!

The Crofoot was without a doubt the smallest venue on the tour… 400 people but it seemed to be sold out (and as Mr. M said later after the show, they made their percentages so they may actually make a bit of money on this tour… whoo hoooooo!!!) During Oh Land they didn’t sound as energetic or enthusiastic as some of the crowds but that didn’t stop the band, they put on their usual great performance (and, gotta say, we were all loving Nanna’s dress!)

When OMD came out, the sound got louder and I had to also remember that there were only 400 people, we weren’t going to sound like any of the other gigs. ‘New Babies: New Toys’ went over really well and when it was over, Mr. M surveyed the crowd, asked how we were and if we were ready, and upon being happy with the response, said “Ah, it sounds like its going to be a great night”. And it was!

There was a pocket of bouncers in the middle following Mr. M’s lead to join in the “Bad dancing… you can’t dance worse than me”. and both old and new songs flowed like they were one. One mishap with the bass saw them having to stop ‘Souvenir’ midstream… Mr. M announced he had asked Baz to close the doors because he was getting cold, then forgot to turn his bass on. But after saying that, he started to pluck and nothing came out. No matter what he did or tried, it wouldn’t start. “Did I do something or am I playing that badly that you just turned me off?” Mr. H chimed in with “They hit the mute button”. HA! So then Mr. M was going to “Try the red one” but instead, they decided to go into ‘Maid Of Orleans’. Mr. H promised they’d come back to ‘Souvenir’ but before that Mr. M did his thing with the windmilling and it was as brilliant as ever.

When done, he checked his bass again and phew, it was working so off to do ‘Souvenir’. Mr. H was really relaxed and it sounded great! Once over though, that meant they still had JoA to do but before launching into that, Mr. M asked if there were any other songs we wanted them to do again… OK Mr. M really? Shouts from myself and others consisted of “All of them, everyone one, do them all again!” Well….you asked.

Gotta say, it was a bit strange to hear ‘New Holy Ground’ after ‘Joan Of Arc’, it fits so nicely as a come down song but ah well (thank goodness Mr. M could catch his breath with ‘Souvenir’!) I thought tonight was one of the best performances of ‘New Holy Ground’ and as one of my friends marvelled after the show “That is a REALLY good ballad!”.

In the front row was a woman in a wheelchair and at one point, Mr. M stepped over to the railing that was pretty close, got his footing and then bent down to sing to the girl… I couldn’t see her face but no doubt it was a happy one! ‘Sister Marie Says’ seemed to be an instant hit with everyone and I was happy to see that though Mr. M wasn’t sure if anyone would know ‘Sailing On The Seven Seas’, for the area around me, no one seemed to mind, it too was well received.

‘Enola Gay’ got a great roar and both that and ‘Electricity’ found a lot of people jumping up and down. Like any other show, they were the last chances to let loose and thoroughly enjoy the moment and I think everyone did because when it was over, all I heard from everyone around me, all my friends and even some strangers as we walked out to hang out for the band was that it was an amazing show! Soooo can’t wait for the next tour, LOL, this one isn’t even half over yet.

So now it is off to sweet home Chicago. I have to say it will be wonderful to be back with more friends and sleep in my own bed with kitty tonight! I can only imagine how much the band is missing home. Tomorrow and Monday’s Atlanta gig along with MI and Toronto are the gigs I looked forward to the most due to being with friends, most of who are OMD newbies and in the case of Atlanta, family, my sister. Whoo hoo, sister time starts Sunday night but tomorrow… VIP for Chicago!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photos by Lori Tarchala