It was A Question of Time before writing a post like this. Today’s blog post has nothing to do with greeting cards. I’m a huge fan of Depeche Mode‘s music and today’s blog post is dedicated to my favorite group. I meant to write this blog post a couple of months ago, but time escaped me. With “Depeche Mode Season” being right around the corner for many, I thought I’d share some thoughts for what to expect at a Depeche Mode concert. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Depeche Mode 8 times, Dave Gahan solo once, Martin L. Gore as a DJ once, and Alan Wilder / Recoil 4 times live in concert. I have a lot of friends who have seen Depeche Mode 10-15 times PER TOUR and have hob-knobbed with the band much more than I have. I say that to illustrate that I’m not bragging, because compared to many of my super-fan friends, I haven’t seen Depeche Mode in concert much at all. However, I see them as much as I can afford to and I haven’t missed a tour since my first life-changing, emotional DM show in November of 1993 in Vancouver, B.C.
As you lucky fans venture out to see our beloved synth group in concert for the Delta Machine album, here are a few things to expect:
1. You’re encouraged to sing along. I’ve been to some fantastic DM shows where lots of fans sung along and I’ve attended shows where I was embarrassed that hardly anyone but me sang along. Depeche Mode loves to see you enjoying their show and when you demonstrate that by singing along with Dave or Martin, that soothes their souls. When Dave holds out the mic, cups his ear and shouts, “SING IT!” by all means, sing along! Let go and have some fun!
2. Reach out and touch faith. One of Depeche Mode’s most commercially successful songs is “Personal Jesus.” To me, the song is about being a true friend like Jesus is: someone who cares; who’s always there to pour your heart out to when you’re feeling all alone or need to confess something you’re harboring. When it comes to the chorus, sing along with them and raise your hands. It’s fun. Trust me. Slowly raise your arms up as you sing, “Reach out and – ” and then bounce your hands up twice as you sing the rest of the line, “touch faith!” Some out-of-control fans will change the lyrics to “Reach out and touch Dave!”
3. Take your cue from Dave and do the “Wild Wheat Wave.” I used to buy bread from the Wild Wheat Bakery Cafe and I’ve always called the waving-of-arms-at-a-Depeche-Mode-show the “Wild Wheat Wave.” It doesn’t feel like a Depeche Mode show if they don’t perform “Never Let Me Down Again,” or as we super-fans call it “NLMDA.” We turn all their songs into acronyms because we can’t be bothered to spell out the whole song title. 😉 Take your cue from Dave – when he shouts, “Let me see your haaaaands!!” and begins waving his arms vigorously above his head from left to right and right to left, that’s when you should do the same. Trust me, it’s part of the whole experience of taking in a Depeche Mode concert! Don’t follow the people in your section of the stadium – follow the leader: watch Dave, or you can get your wave off-track! Look around the stadium and take in the moment. Commit it to memory. Feel it and be in this moment. It’s a very special part of the show to be connected with the audience and the band this way. If this moment doesn’t make you smile, you need to loosen up and wave your arms!
4. Take pictures – Photographic pictures. Gone are the days of smuggling cameras in to shows in places Security Guards won’t be touching. Try and see between the other fans’ phone cameras that are up in the air and take a few pictures to share on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I remember my last Depeche Mode concert in Seattle on August 10, 2009. Throughout the show I was rotating between taking a photo with my good camera; taking a picture with my phone; tweeting out the current song; and holding up my “DEPMODE” license plate. Before Twitter, I’d bring a mini notepad and pen to make note of the set list. If there is a next time, I think I’ll just enjoy the show and take a few pictures with my phone.
5. Watch Andy. If you look really closely, you’ll see him eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich; reading a book on his iPad; updating his restaurant menu; taking a nap while standing; clapping along; scratching his nose; or occasionally playing the keyboard. Maybe one of these days he’ll get sucked up by an alien space shuttle! I hope not. 😉 Hey now – don’t get all grumpy. I kid. I jest. I appreciate Mr. Fletcher’s presence in the band, but some of us scratch our heads wondering exactly what he’s doing up there behind the synthesizer in his black eye glasses and black outfit.
6. Dave knows how to whirl a mic stand like no other. If you’ve never seen Depeche Mode or Dave Gahan live until the Delta Machine tour, you’ll be mesmerized by his twirling of the mic stand. It’s always fun to watch him spin the mic stand around and it makes me think that he’s someone I wouldn’t want to grocery shop with. He’s probably one of those guys who swings around the empty grocery basket on his way down the aisles. Those guys are scary to shop with – I could get hurt with all that grocery basket swingin’! Anyway, my point is that no one can dance with a mic stand quite the way Dave can, and it’s something to behold.
7. Martin will wear something or do something unexpected. There was a lot of hullabaloo over the knit mohawk cap he wore during the Touring the Angel shows – wasn’t it knit by a fan? There’s always talk about how glittery he was; the angel wings on his back; how silver his clothes were; or how strange this-or-that was that he wore. I’m not crazy about Martin covering Dave’s songs (I know, I know – Martin writes most of them, so technically they’re HIS songs, but don’t you know what I mean?), but he will do that sometimes and it’s somewhat unexpected.
8. Dave will probably wear black slacks, a black vest, and will be shirtless at some point. Dave seems to wear different versions of the same thing (Dressed in Black – Again!), so it’s inevitable that he’ll get roasty-toasty as he performs on stage and he’ll lose his vest. When this happens, try to control yourself, people!
9. Expect some standard favorites and a surprise or two. These boys have been writing and composing original songs and performing them for over 30 years in a row. They know how to please their fans and put on an incredible performance. They’ll perfectly perform the songs you want to hear, and they’ll surprise you with some unexpected ones. There will be controversial, thought-provoking, artistic and interesting videos displayed behind them as they perform. Anticipate a well-crafted, incredibly memorable, special evening being entertained by the guys who wrote the soundtrack to your life. Mentally record every second and savor it like your last meal.
10. Make friends with the fans. I have to say, people who love Depeche Mode seem to be some of the coolest, kindest, thoughtful, artistic, creative, most fun, Precious people I know. Some of the people I’m closest to are huge Depeche Mode fans, including my Somebody (who proposed to me with that song playing and I walked down the aisle to “Somebody”). Don’t be snooty – be friendly and get to know those fans around you! You already have a lot in common with them and would probably be fast friends with many of them if you exchange a few kind words. You’re sharing a very special experience with them by attending this show together. Be a good Depechie and be kind to your fellow fans.
I really wish I could see them on this tour. I’m sickened to miss them, but they aren’t coming anywhere near where I live. I grew up near Seattle and had no problem driving to see them in Seattle, The Gorge in George, Canada or Oregon, but they aren’t coming to any of these Pacific Northwest cities. I just hope they add us to the next leg. They’ve got some really loyal fans who would love nothing more than to see them again. “All I want to do is see you / Don’t you know that it’s true?” So, go on and have a wonderful evening or two… or twenty for me! Enjoy your Depeche Mode show(s) and know that Somebody would be the Happiest Girl if she tried waking in your shoes and could attend a Depeche Mode show in 2013.
[Here are all of my blog posts about Depeche Mode, DM cards and DM craft projects.]