Live Review: OMD at First Direct Arena, Leeds

OMD at Leeds Arena – Photo by John Hayhurst

OMD celebrate 40th Anniversary of Architecture & Morality by playing in full at Leeds Arena.

Review and Photos by John Hayhurst

The lights go down and don’t really come back up again until Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are halfway through title track ‘Architecture and Morality’ Its all moody silhouettes set to a backdrop of striking images of dark structures. A poignant celebration of people gathering together for a concert to celebrate 40 years of a significant electro pop album.

After the inevitable slow start Andy McCluskey asks “Have we got a party crowd in tonight!”, he hopes so – as they are filming at Leeds First Direct Arena and it is fair to say its not a full audience in the seats upstairs, but the folks standing at the front will make up for that. “I know that we’ve started slowly, but I hope you’ve brought your dancing shoes tonight”.

It is a slow start but by ‘Sealand’ we get some guitar from McClusky who is all over the stage using the extreme positions left and right really well to engage with everyone in this arena. The others are pretty much static throughout – Stewart Kershaw on drums, with co-founder Paul Humphreys and Martin Cooper both on left and right keyboard risers. That leaves the full stage for Andy McClusky to give a masterclass in his unusual ‘dad dancing’ moves. We get the full range from windmill arms to fixing the lightbulb. Its not anything new, he’s done this throughout his career and as he explains “Its not very pretty to watch but it keeps me fit”.

By now, the crowd are fully committed and waiting for the trio of hits from Architecture & Morality; ‘Souvenir’, ‘Joan of Arc’ and the incredibly moving ‘Maid of Orleans’. It sounds amazing, particularly the high pitched electro squeals for ‘Maid of Orleans’. Is that the arenas acoustics? I don’t know, I’ve heard some fairly ropey sounds here before, but even in the seats they are now very much on their feet and moving along.

After that they can do no wrong ‘Souvenir is blissful with some superb saxophone from Cooper and there’s some more poignancy during ‘Messages’ where each member of the band has their own spotlight, even the drummer who strangely appears to be playing guitar at that moment. Aside from ‘Architecture and Morality’ you forget the other big hits they had. ‘Tesla Girls’ and ‘Locomotion’ catch me by surprise and then ‘Sailing on the Seven Seas’, obviously they will end the set with ‘Enola Gay’ which sounds just as good as the record.

The encore is 3 songs ‘If You Leave’, ‘The Romance of the Telescope’ and another forgotten hit ‘Electricity’, McCluskey asks “Are you okay to keep dancing?” Of course we are. The whole place is on their feet, clapping cheering and dancing along to this timeless electropop magic. Forty years have gone by, but OMD are still a vibrant fresh outfit that can perform live, and long may they continue.


  • Architecture & Morality
  • Sealand
  • The New Stone Age
  • Georgia
  • She’s Leaving
  • Souvenir
  • Joan of Arc
  • Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)
  • The Beginning and the End
  • Atomic Ranch
  • Messages
  • Tesla Girls
  • History of Modern (Part 1)
  • (Forever) Live and Die
  • Don’t Go
  • So in Love
  • Locomotion
  • Pandora’s Box
  • Sailing on the Seven Seas
  • Enola Gay
  • If You Leave
  • Electricity
  • The Romance of the Telescope