It was the nineties and a teenager who today is known as Harold Saxon was coming home after a day of school. When he realized that a song by his favorite group was playing live on the radio, he threw everything away and went to look for a cassette to record it because until then he had not had the opportunity to see it in a concert.
the band were the English Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD) and the song Tesla Girlsone of his greatest hits. What Harold did not know then was that not only he but many other teenagers and a little older also followed the group punctually, but they had to wait until the second decade of the 21st century to be able to see them in a massive event in Aztec land (although in the 90s had performed in Tijuana at a small event at the Iguanas de Tijuana).
That moment came on October 15, 2011, when OMD was presented at the Corona Capital festival in Mexico City, both Harold and Paco Almazán, another admirer, remember the emotion they felt, but what left them most satisfied was the enthusiasm they also showed vocalist Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, lead synthesist.
“He wasn’t even one of the top bands, they were not on the central stage and they had to perform in the afternoon, the sun was beating down on them and there were very few people, but when they started playing the audience began to gather because many knew the songs but had never heard them live and much less did they know them by name, which is very rare. I believe that neither they had any idea then of the number of fans there were in MexicoPaco assured.
Paco, who lives in the state of Veracruz, remembers that on that occasion, and later on two others, he did not mind traveling four hours to see the band, far from complaining, he assures that the emotion of that concert was “indescribable” .
Harold, who without knowing it was a few meters from Paco, commented that that day, Andy McCluskey had a revelation because he did not know how famous they were in the country, he suddenly paused, looked towards the audience, and in a tone of astonishment said: “’Can you tell me why the hell we didn’t come 30 years ago?’ I was stunned, I didn’t think there were so many people and that their songs were known.”
Even in some Youtube videos McCluskey’s surprise can be seen when the audience sings the lyrics to the songs and even cheers for him.
Harold Saxon and Paco would not only repeat the experience in 2013 and 2017, but later, on the occasion of the 40 years of OMEorganized a tribute together with other fans with whom they projected videos, listened to music and drank mezcal.
The hidden reference to Mexico
Despite never having appeared on Aztec land, in 1985 OMD released the video for the song So In Love (So in love) in which there was a surprise for his growing Mexican fan base.
Although filmed in Spain, the video included mexican elements, mainly alluding to the Day of the Dead festivity. Initially, with the appearance of sugar skullstraditional of those dates, begins the connection towards a kind of mystical journey.
Throughout the video there are more skulls, desert landscapes typical of Mexican highways, palm crosses, confetti and towards the end what seems to be a religious holiday. However, all these references to Mexico went unnoticed at the time.
In a 2017 interview in the magazine TimeOut on the occasion of a new visit to Mexico and the release of the album The Punishment of Luxury (The punishment of wealth), Andy McCluskey confirmed that there were references to the holiday in the video.
“In fact I have been fascinated by the Day of the Dead for 35 years. Religious cults interest me as much as war, which is weird because I’m an atheist. I really like the concept of the Day of the Dead: its art, the connection that the family has with its ancestors, so in the video we try to reflect those images. The song doesn’t actually talk about that holiday, we just borrow the images because we think they’re so powerful,” McCluskey replied to the post.
The cover of the single also alludes to the celebration.
More than guilty, a selfish taste
the one with the british group OMD is a strange case: Born in the second half of the seventies, their music has not only stood the test of time but is also considered current, with a solid fan base that grows as their music transcends.
its founders, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, who are accompanied by Martin Cooper and Stuart Kershaw, are already over 60 years old but his delivery does not stop moving the public regardless of age. Even more so when they sing hits like Enola Gay, Electricity and Dreamingamong others.
And on the other hand, at least in Mexico, there is a wide public that does not know them by namebut yes to his songs that they heard on university radios, the Mexico City Metro stations, in some bar, party or in any case the iconic If You Leavefrom the also eighties movie pretty in pink (the girl in pink).
For Paco the phenomenon OMD in Mexico can be explained with its presentation at Corona Capital in 2011since their melodies refer to a time of innocence, in addition to the fact that their songs deal with different topics such as technology and address emotions from a different perspective without neglecting their experimental side.
Jose María Melendrez, an ophthalmologist who lives in the city of Guadalajara, in Jalisco, has also been an admirer of the band since the 1990s. The only time he was able to see it live was when they performed at the Mute festival in 2015. , in the conurbated municipality of Tlaquepaque.
“They remind me of things from high school, my friends, my girlfriends. Many of these groups were underground, nobody knew them, they were strange things here but they were normal and famous in other countries. I like the voice of the vocalist and that he continues to sing the same as in the eighties”, he commented.
Like Harold and Paco, José María preserves in his memory the emotion of his first concert in which his initial impression was “yes they are real, they really exist” and then go into a “Chingón!” state.
But beyond the eighties nostalgiasome fans of the band prefer to have them as an icon and that is why neither Harold nor Paco have lived with Andy or Paul in some Meet & Greet, because they would not like to be inopportune with comments that could annoy them or asking for a photo after the fatigue that can perform a live show.
And on the other hand, as Harold says, “it’s a band that has a special place for me, it’s like my band that not everyone is going to know about it because it’s mine and I don’t want to share it”.
Even if I had the chance, would like to chat with OMD about synthesizers and the equipment that he has used throughout his long musical career that officially began in Liverpool in 1978.
The last time the band performed in Mexico was in 2019 in Guadalajara as part of the Corona Capital billboard. In 20221, his album Souvenir was nominated for a Grammy for best historical album.