Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Paramount Theater, Denver
March 14th, 2022

It took a very long time before I got to see OMD live. I think I became aware of them in the autumn of 1980, when their first hit, Enola Gay, hit Radio 1. I was certainly a fan: Architecture and Morality was on very heavy rotation on my bedroom record-player, though they drifted off my radar after Paul Humphreys left the group in 1989. Their re-formation in the mid-2000’s was well off my radar, but a few years ago, I bumped into a documentary about the group on YouTube, which re-ignited my interest. In January 2019 – a mere thirty-nine years after first hearing them – I finally got to see OMD when they played Tucson, Arizona in support of an art exhibition about, of all things, dazzle camouflage.

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Sparks

Warfield Theater, San Francisco
March 11th, 2022

After two days there, I am convinced San Francisco is a hell-hole. Chris’s catchphrase on the trip was “I smell weed”, while mine was “Insane homeless person or angry Bluetooth caller?” Even the iconic cable-cars are terrible. You spend 45 minutes waiting to get on, in frigid conditions, then the view you get as you bounce around like a bingo-ball is this, because it’s so overpacked. It therefore says something about my love of Sparks that we were prepared to endure all of this and go there for the band – the first time I’d ever seen them live, after almost fifty years of liking them

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The Joy of ABBA

I remember seeing ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest in April 1974. I was only seven at the time, so wasn’t particularly paying attention. But if you’d told my young Scottish self that, approaching half a century later, I’d be heading off to a casino in Arizona to see an ABBA tribute band, I’d certainly not have believed you. My affection for Sweden’s finest export was a slow-brewing affair. While I was aware of them, my teenage years were more devoted to New Wave and New Romantic bands: Abba seemed… retro. Interest in them was largely limited to debates over whether you fancied the blonde or brunette. [For the record, I was on Team Agnetha] Besides, my parents liked Abba. By the rules of teenagerhood, I could not possibly do so.

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