TheHagueOnline contributor Neal McClimon writes about one of synth pop’s biggest names

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or OMD as they are commonly known, will be coming to the Netherlands on Saturday 15th February 2020, as part of their 40th Anniversary Tour. They will play at Utrecht’s TivoliVredenburg, a great music venue.

OMD will be starting their tour in October in Portugal, travelling through the UK and Germany until December. After a winter break they hit Poland and Scandinavia before coming to Brussels and Utrecht before the final show in Paris.

I am a bit of a fan of OMD, having followed them since 1980 when I first heard Enola Gay. I had never heard synths before and fell in love with the sound and the band. They had some huge hits in their early days, most notably Maid of Orleans and Souvenir – trust me, you’ve heard them before.

After a break up the whole band reformed in December 2006. Since then, they have toured constantly and produced some fantastic new albums. Now, they will be starting on an extensive Greatest Hits tour! So, why should you bother going to see a group of middle-aged men on stage?

The answer is simple. If you’re a child who grew up in the 80s, you will want to relive the nostalgia of what I consider to be the best era of music. Now, we come to the live stage show and the term ‘windmilling.’ Lead singer and bassist Andy McCluskey dances in a way that can only be described as weird. His limbs have minds of their own as he flies about on stage, doing a fair impression of Taz the Tasmanian devil cartoon! He hates to see crowds standing still and urges you to dance like no one is watching. His infectious banter usually works and crowds love it.

Despite the themes of a lot of their songs (war, atomic bombs and science), the music is high tempo and fun. Expect a ninety-minute fest of pop! Backed by keyboard players Paul Humphreys and Martin Cooper and drummer Stuart Kershaw they put on a show that belies their ages. I go to a lot of concerts and rarely have I seen a band that get the crowd going so quick.

They got great reviews when they appeared at Parkpop back in 2015 in front of 60,000 people. I’ve met the band and they are great blokes, very easy to talk to and get on with. Since reforming they have played with full orchestras, in opera houses and even museums. They continue to push themselves and pride themselves on being value for money.

I can swear on one thing: if you see OMD once, you will want to see them again. I have taken many, many people to their first OMD gigs and as soon as this tour was announced, they have all been asking which gigs I am going to! Some have already booked tickets for four shows from this tour, it is truly addictive.

Many venues are starting to sell out on this tour, so don’t wait too long to order yours. Who knows how much longer they will play these amazing live shows? It will be an evening you won’t forget.

Tickets for the Utrecht show are available HERE. It is also possible to get a VIP ticket which includes entry to the sound check! When you hear the drums played in an empty venue, you’ll get goosebumps.

Text & photos by Neal McClimon