OMD Perform Their HIts and ‘The Punishment of Luxury’ Favorites for Enthusiastic Fans at L.A.’s The Wiltern

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the British band more commonly known as OMD, brought their North American tour to the Wiltern in Los Angeles on March 29, and fans of all ages crowded into the venue to hear the group perform songs from their catalogue that has spans 40 years.

OMD opened their set with two newer songs, instread of their classics, as is the usual custom for an act that has enjoyed such a long and illustrious career. “Ghost Star” and “Isotope” are two stirring numbers from “The Punishment of Luxury,” OMD’s 13th studio album that was released just this past September, and the crowd went wild for both. Even those who hadn’t yet listened to the band’s latest release couldn’t help but be transfixed by the opening, as lead singer Andrew McClusky, who also plays guitar on a number of songs, is a consummate performer. When he was not restricted by the guitar, the charismatic McClusky moved freely about the stage, dancing and connecting with fans.

Next came two classics, “Messages,” a track of OMD’s 1980 debut album, and “Tesla Girls,” an upbeat ode to inventor Nikola Tesla. History is a common theme among OMD songs, including “Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans),” another hit performed that evening, a tribute to the French war heroine that was originally released on 30 May 1981, the 550th anniversary of Joan of Arc’s death. The band ended their first set with “Enola Gay,” the song that put them on the map way back in 1980. Named for the plane that carried the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II, “Enola Gay” is an anti-war anthem that asks the listener to contemplate if the bombing was a necessary act. OMD is one of those musical acts that releases songs that are both danceable and contemplative.

While “Enola Gay” is OMD’s biggest international hit, their single that made the biggest impression here in the States is without a doubt “If You Leave,” the enduring 1986 song that is still in heavy rotation on American radio stations to this day. Everyone remembers that the song was on the soundtrack of the classic teen romance film “Pretty in Pink,” but not everyone knows that director John Hughes commissioned OMD to write the single for his film. Before breaking into the song, McKlusky revealed its connection to Los Angeles, as it was over 30 years ago that Hughes called him up and asked him to come out to Los Angeles and meet with himself and his friend Molly, an actress who turned out to be none other than Brat Packer Molly Ringwald. A fateful meeting indeed, as not only did “Pretty in Pink” become Ringwald’s signature film, the hit single it spawned became OMD’s signature hit, along with the aforementioned “Nola Gay.”

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark performed on March 29 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.