Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A gig that changed my life - Marsheaux & OMD in Athens, 2007

It was 10 years ago today, when Marsheaux went on stage (June 1 2007 to be precise), at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens. And within a few minutes my life was changed forever...
I had started my walk from Syntagma Square in the city centre all the way up to the top of Lycabettus hill. (There is a cable car there somewhere, but that day I didn't find it).

I arrived at the Lycabettus Theatre very early and the doors were still closed. As I was waiting outside I could hear the soundcheck. It was "Empire State Human",  originally by Human League with female vocals. "Who is singing Empire State Human now?" I thought. "In fact, Who remembers "Empire State Human" in the year 2007?" I wondered. "Marsheaux? Is that possible? We'll see"
I got inside when the doors opened and I went and sat at the back. I was not in a very good mood anyway. At some point Marsheaux came up on stage. They started with some downtempo songs of their own. (In fact it was "Hanging On" as I can now see from the video I dug out from my hard drive)

And suddenly, when the next song started, I heard a synth riff that reminded me of something. What did it remind me of? "The Promise" by When In Rome. And Marsheaux have covered that? Now? So did that mean that there were other people in Greece who remembered it? That helped my mood to start picking up, but still I could not imagine what would happen next. I heard another synth riff that reminded me of something. What? "Pure" by The Lightning Seeds! At that point I could not hold myself any longer, I got up from my seat, ran down the theatre stairs and went and stood at the first row to enjoy the rest of the concert from there.

And of course I heard "Empire State Human" and "Pop Corn" (an instrumental you must all have heard somewhere) and I started to notice their own tracks that I liked such as "I Dream Of A Disco". So, I finally found out what kind of music Marsheaux played: synth-pop. By that time I had forgotten that the reason I had gone to the Lycabettus Theatre that day was to see OMD. IInstead I discovered Marsheaux! (More on Marsheaux on that day and some of their later gigs on this post : Marsheaux Live In Athens 2007-2014).
"Thank you and have fun with OMD next" is what they told us as they came off stage. I was already at the front of the stage and I wasn't about to relinquish my position there. I noticed behind me a 44 year old guy with a 22 year old girlfriend who was telling her all about the music from the era of OMD. It already looked like it was going to be an emotional time and indeed it was as OMD came on stage. "We are old" said Andy McCluskey at some point. "We are old, too!" shouted the woman next to me. And some people were crying as they were singing along with the band.

In fact, as you will notice, most of the videos are unwatchable. Not only because of my 2007 digital camera being constantly shaken, but mainly because of audience participation. Yes, in several parts of the videos, instead of Andy's (or Paul's) vocals you will hear the words sung by the audience. "Out of tune" is too kind a phrase to describe them, but still, it shows you how enjoyable the whole experience was. (It's fun to see Andy do "the dance" on "Maid Of Orleans" though.)
As Andy said on the night, this was supposed to be the "Architecture & Morality" tour, but since it had taken them such a long time to come to Greece, they opted for a "Greatest Hits" set. And indeed all the hits were there. The title track from "Architecture & Morality" may have been playing while they came on stage, but then they launched straight into "Messages" and this was followed by "Joan Of Arc", "Maid Of Orleans", "(Forever) Live And Die", "If You Leave", "Electricity", "Sailing On The Seven Seas", even "Walking On The Milky Way". And of course "Enola Gay".

As I was slowly walking down Lycabettus Hill after the gig, I knew that I would remember this as one of the best gigs I have ever attended. And certainly one of the most emotional...