Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) - Live Architecture & Morality & More (2008) DVD5
Video: PAL, MPEG-2, 720x576, 16:9, 25.000 fps
Audio Language: DTS 6 channels
Time: 97 min.
File & Size: 4,34 Gb
Most people know at least one Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark song, and that's usually "If You Leave," the song from the prom scene in John Hughes' Pretty in Pink. If they know more than one OMD song, it's usually from the string of pop hits that surrounded "If You Leave," songs like "Secret" and "Dreaming".
What many don't know is that before this early electronic act was a pop group, they were one of the more experimental synth bands to emerge in the post-punk, post-Kraftwerk scene.
Their early albums were minimalist and sometimes dissonant, searching for the melodic oasis that was waiting somewhere on the computerized landscape.
Arguably, that oasis was found on 1981's Architecture & Morality, a musically sophisticated but easily accessible record that covered deeply soulful lyrics in beautiful techno washes. It remains their top album in terms of both commercial and critical success.
So, it makes a lot of sense that this would be the album the band would reunite to celebrate last year. The main duo that formed the core of the band, songwriters Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, haven't performed together since 1988, and OMD Live: Architecture & Morality and More captures the newly reformed band at the Hammersmith Apollo in London last May.
Like all the stops on the 2007 tour, they perform all nine tracks off of their seminal album--though in a different order--followed by twelve of their best-known hits.
The Architecture & Morality portion of the show is the first set, and the songs work together well as a kind of mini-symphony. In addition to McCluskey, who sings and plays guitar, and Humphreys, who plays keyboards and also takes vocal duties on a couple of tracks, both the band's drummer Malcolm Holmes and saxophone player/second keyboardist Martin Cooper have also returned.
The stage set-up has Humphreys and Cooper on raised platforms on either side of the stage, flanking Holmes in the middle. McCluskey takes center stage down below them. There is a large screen for background films behind the band, and the three platforms that hold the musicians also have smaller screens on the front, allowing for different fragments of the backdrops to work with the larger screen to make a moving, amorphous image.
This is particularly effective on songs like "Sealand," where the backdrop is of ocean waves, and having the water surrounding the whole band makes it appear as if they are immersed. Other times, the pictures lock together like the pieces of a puzzle.
In a lot of ways, the set-up reminds me of how Depeche Mode usually designs their stage, and like the Mode, OMD has to rely on their frontman to carry most of the show. Watching guys play keyboards is not infinitely interesting, so it takes a particularly good leader to keep the crowd going. Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan is a master at this, and though Andy McCluskey is nowhere in his league, he does a good job, dancing and clapping and developing a good rapport with the fans.
And though his lung capacity is not what it once was, his voice is still in fine form, maintaining the warm tones that have always made him an interesting pop singer.
Humphreys' voice does not fare sas well. His two songs, "Souvenir" and "Forever (Live and Die)," don't quite have the same magic as the others, largely because he doesn't have the vocal range of his partner. On "Souvenir," in particular, he seems to struggle to find the notes.
The direction of the concert piece is quite good, never getting in the way of the performance but using multiple cameras to keep everything moving. The Architecture & Morality section is fairly mellow and may be for fans only (it contains two of my favorite songs, the "Joan of Arc" suite), but once the band segues into the Greatest Hits set, the energy really picks up.
01. Architecture & Moralilty
03. The New Stone Age
05. She's Leaving
07. Joan Of Arc
08. Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)
09. The Beginning And The End
11. Tesla Girls
12. (Forever) Live And Die
13. If You Leave
14. Pandora's Box
15. Talking Loud And Clear
16. So In Love
18. Sailing On The Seven Seas
19. Enola Gay
20. Walking On The Milky Way
22. Romance Of The Telescope
01. Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)
02. The New Stone Age
01. The Band
02. Hambi Haralambous