Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are one of the architects of the synth-pop sound that was all the rage in the late '70s to mid-'80s. Formed in 1977, OMD had a three-year seniority jump on other techno-pop giants like Depeche Mode and New Order (who both started in 1980). OMD performed on May 1, 2022 at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sporting three members of the classic lineup: Andy McCluskey (vocals and bass), Paul Humphreys (vocals and keyboards), and Martin Cooper (keyboards and saxophone), alongside latter-day drummer Stuart Kershaw, OMD was in rare form all night. The crowd erupted at the first sight of their synth-rock heroes, who had returned to the Boston area for the first time since 2018.

To start the show, a pre-recorded version of the band's 2013 song, "Atomic Ranch", piped through the speakers before OMD took the stage and officially opened up with "Stanlow" (from the 1980 release, "Organization", the song concerns an oil refinery). Post-song, McClusky joked that, "All the best concerts start with a song about an oil refinery", and followed up with the more upbeat "Isotype."

Having a laugh at the expense of the Boston crowd, McCluskey mentioned "the elephant in the room" and asked about the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles game that had been played that day and if it was "worth staying home for"? (as Boston had lost the game).

The band's 1983 club-smash, "Tesla Girls", bought back memories of the climactic days of synth-pop (and was also featured in the 1985 John Hughes' celluloid vehicle, "Weird Science").

McCluskey was fantastic as he tore through "History of Modern (Part 1)" and then asked how many in the crowd remembered the year "1981" (and many hands were raised). He then announced that OMD were going to do three songs from their 1981 release, "Architecture & Morality", which began with "Forever (Live and Die)" and "Souvenir", where Humphreys shined on lead vocals. OMD then closed out this mini-set with the epic, "Joan of Arc".

As usual, McCluskey was animated all night and joked about the rescheduling of the planned 2020 tour and christened this the "Pandemically delayed tour" (as 2020 was the 40th anniversary of the band's self-titled debut album).

Before playing "Almost", McCluskey stated that the song was the "B-side" of their debut single ("Electricity") and that at the time of its release, a friend of the band named Vince had learned the song on a "synthesizer". The Vince in question was Vince Clarke, who went on to form both the original Depeche Mode and Erasure.

McCluskey led a massive crowd sing-a-long on "Don't Go", and humorously told the then very warmed-up crowd that they had "only 54 songs left" to perform. Next up was "So in Love", where Cooper got to bust out a wonderous saxaphone solo, which then led into a phenomenal take of "Dreaming".

Noticing that members of the crowd at one side of the stage were wearing t-shirts of other bands, McCluskey asked if that was the "Manchester section", due to the number of shirts featuring bands as The Smiths and James.

The first set ended with "Sailing on the Seven Seas", and when they returned for the encore, McCluskey asked if the crowd was "too cool" to want to hear the band's "big hits". The huge applause bled into the bann's iconic "If You Leave", while visions of actress Molly Ringwald flashed on the screen behind the band, nostalgically giving a nod to 1986's "Pretty in Pink" film (another classic John Hughes movie), where the song had been featured prominently.

OMD then tore through "Secret" and a killer version of "Electricity", which ended the show and sent the crowd home fulfilled, as OMD had satisfied all of their nostalgic synth-pop cravings.

Upcoming OMD dates:

5/3 - Toronto, On – History
5/4 – Royal Oak, MA – Royal Oak Music Theatre
5/6 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
5/7 – Minneapolis, MN – The Fillmore
5/8 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman
5/10 – Dallas, TX – TBD
5/11 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center
5/12 – Austin, TX – ACL Live @ The Moody Theater
5/15 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre
5/16 – Salt Lake City, UT – Union Events Center
5/20 – Vancouver, BC – Malkin Bowl
5/21 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theater
5/22 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
5/24 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
5/25 – El Cajon, CA – Magnolia
5/26 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
6/18 - Let’s Rock Scotland 2022, Dalkeith, UK
7/31 - Piazza Regensburg, Germany
6/2 - Freilichtbühne Großer Garten Junge Garde, Dresden, Germany