The Buggles and OMD, Supperclub, London, England, September 28, 2010

Text and photos: Fredrik "Schlatta" Svensson


Most of you probably know that the first music video on MTV back in 1981 was ”Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. What you might not know is that they have never performed their album live. Until now that is. 

For the benefit of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, Trevor Horn decided to regroup the Buggles for one show this autumn. For me this was a show not to be missed and despite being desperately short of money I managed to find a cheap airline ticket to London and the 100 pounds for the concert ticket (there was no press guest list since this was a charity event). When it was announced that OMD would be opening the investment seemed more than justified and when Alison Moyet and Claudia Brücken were added to the bill for special appearances, the 100 pounds all of a sudden seemed to be a bargain, ever more so since all of it was going to charity.

Intrigued by notification that there would be another special guest appearing this night but not revealed until on stage, busy minds started to suggest who it might be. Trevor Horn has a very extensive list of collaborations and Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe along with Seal were the most popular suggestions. No one seemed to get their predictions right however, more about that later.

Buying the ticket one week before the show meant that the only feasible option was to pickup the ticket at the venue. Situated under the freeway crossing Portobello Road is the Supperclub. A chic modern restaurant where the 100 VIP ticket holders got a three course meal before the show at a cost of 300 pounds, again donated to the RHN. Walls were painted white to match the interior decor, comprising a main floor, a number of divans on the sides and a balcony (not accessible for us normal punters though). At 9.30 PM the doors opened for us and a DJ played electronic hits from the 80:s.


At 10.00 OMD entered the stage, the lineup was Andy McCluskey (vocals and bass, pic) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards and backing vocals). In the background the cover image from their new album ”History of Modern” designed by Peter Saville was projected. The first song was ”Electricity” which Andy happily said was released before ”Video Killed the Radio Star” followed by laughter. Then it was time for the beautiful ”Souvenir” sung by Paul, as usual. Andy said that their third song was going to be a new one and that we shoudn’t worry because it was going to be great. It turned out to be ”If You Want It” and he was right, it was great. 

During ”Maid of Orleans” Andy pointed at my Winston OMD T-shirt and nodded his head, clearly happy with my choice of clothing for the evening. The fifth song was ”History of Modern (Part 1)” and the last song was ”Enola Gay” which the audience seemed to enjoy the most. This was the only the second time I saw OMD live but they seemed very happy and was very energetic; I can’t wait to see them again in November at the Apollo in Hammersmith. Paul remained on stage and was joined by his wife Claudia Brücken and a guitar player. They performed Propaganda’s second single ”Duel” and Trevor Horn did some backing vocals.


After the Propaganda song there was a very efficient change-over and then no more than eight people entered the stage: a keyboard player, two percussionists, two guitarists and a backing choir. That was even before Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (pic) entered the stage to the cheers and applause of the audience. You could tell that the venue doesn’t normally do conventional gigs since the artists had to make their way through the audience to the stage.

Needless to say there was much back-patting throughout the evening going on. They had silver jackets on and Trevor wore his typical Hornish glasses of course. Then they played the A-side of ”The Age of Plastic”, i.e. ”Living in the Plastic Age”, ”Video Killed the Radio Star”, ”Link” (instrumental), ”Kid Dynamo” and ”I Love You (Miss Robot)”. The sound was very good, but that was to be expected since Mr. Horn is renowned for being very particular about details. He played bass and had a monster of a bass guitar and a Moog Taurus at his feet. The band was very tight and the vocals crisp and accurate. There was some feedback rumble on a few occasions but I blame the rectangular shaped venue with no bass traps and very little dampening material.

After the A-side Trevor introduced Lol Creme from 10cc who played guitar throughout the show. They proceeded to play two 10cc songs; ”Rubber Bullets” and ”I’m Not in Love”, which the audience seemed to enjoy very much.


Trevor then presented the next special guest: Alison Moyet (pic). At first I didn’t even recognise her, I saw three of the Yazoo concerts in 2008 and she looked gorgeous then and now she was even more stunning. Obviously she lost a lot of weight during the last two years, but it hadn’t influenced her voice one bit. She sang ”Slave to the Rhythm” and two Yazoo songs ”Only You” and ”Don’t Go”, both in very stripped down acoustic versions. Goose bump-time.

The B-side of ”The Age of Plastic” isn’t my favourite B-side in the world, but ”Clean, Clean”, ”Elstree”, ”Astroboy” and ”Johnny on the Monorail” were fantastic live. They used the white wall behind them to project various futuristic video scenery and images.

The next guest artist was Richard O’Brien, which I did had not heard of prior to the show; apparently he is some kind of legend and Trevor Horn introduced him as Mr. Riff-Raff, the character from ”The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. The crowd sang ”Over the Frankenstein Place” and ”Let’s Do the Timewarp” with him. Since I was totally happy with OMD and Alison Moyet I wasn’t disappointed at all when Richard O’Brien came on stage, but this was not the final special guest. Trevor said that the final guest needed no further introduction apart from his name Gary Barlow.

Several people in the audience went ”Oh my God!” and he came on stage and did ”Hard to Handle” and the new song ”Shame” (but without Robbie Williams). This is not my cup of tea, so let’s leave it at that… a word of advice though, holding your hand in your pocket on stage is neither very uplifting nor professional-looking…

As the final encores The Buggles did a version of ”Video Killed the Radio Star” as interpreted by Nicki Minaj on her single ”Check It out” and finally a member of the audience, I think his name was James Woods, won the glorious task of singing ”Video Killed the Radio Star” by being the highest bidder. It was… OK… or fun at least.  The event raised somewhere between 80 000 and 100 000 pounds pending the results of the some online auctions for some very special memorabilia including the famous glasses and the master tape for the second The Buggles album ”Adventures in Modern Recordings”.

After the show I got a few records signed and very content and happy I left the venue just before midnight, 30 meters behind Trevor Horn and Lol Creme walking down Portobello Road.