I slept a glorious 11 hours last night. I needed it. This week was not only a long one filled with teacher meetings but it also featured a little concert. On Wednesday, a couple of friends of mine and I drove from Madison to the south suburbs of Chicago to see Depeche Mode and back. The 22 hour day contained 7 hours of meetings, 6 hours of driving and a concert. I might have been a little tired. No matter the level of exhaustion I had it was worth it.
First of all, the concert was great! Depeche is one band that I can always count on to put on a good show. I had seen them six times before over the course of the years. Not only does Dave Gahan give it his all as a lead singer but Martin Gore brings a unique spirit to the show. Looking at the setlist, one element that really benefits them to put on a nice, long set is to have two singers. While Dave takes the rein most of the time, Martin can step in for a few songs here and there to give Dave a rest. It is an advantage that few bands have.
That said, it was interesting to watch the crowd during the show. We had seats in a suite above the crowd. This allowed a full view of both the stage but the fans below. I liked being able to see the videos as they often added to the performance but more than that, I was able to watch the crowd. It seemed clear to me that the majority of the crowd knew the fan favorites of old with songs like Enjoy the Silence, Everything Counts, World in my Eyes and more. When it came to the newer songs, though, the crowd was less into the show. I also heard people talking about show, including that they wished the band played song ______________. To me, this felt very familiar as I see and hear the same thing at a Duran show where many in the audience only know either the hits or songs from years ago. For some reason, that gave me some comfort that it isn’t just Duran to has to deal with that.
Interestingly enough, on the car ride down, we had a conversation about how Depeche always sounds like Depeche. Every album has a certain feel to it that is uniquely theirs. They have always owned their sound and never wavered. Before the show, I wondered if this is why Depeche still fills big venues. Maybe so. Yet, I still find myself appreciating that Duran has tried new things. Maybe that hasn’t always helped them but I like that every album is different than the last. I’m willing to bet that some Depeche fans aren’t as into the newer stuff because it feels as if it has been done before and that gets boring.
Despite the fact that the audience wasn’t 100% into every song, clearly people still enjoy themselves. I know that my friends and I did. Part of what made the night so good for us was how we did well with the tickets. If you have been reading this blog for awhile now, you know that the Depeche ticket buying deal was one I criticized. You can read about it here. The prices were outrageous, I thought. I remember on presale day. I could have bought row 17 or 18 or something for like $175 each, which was before fees. That just didn’t seem worth it to me. I chose not to buy and instead looked for tickets on StubHub. Eventually, ticket prices were such that I felt the price was worth it. My seat cost about $165 with fees but included a cushioned seat in one of the suites above the crowd. While my friends and I were third row in the suite, we still had a clear shot of their entire stage. If that wasn’t enough, we had a nice bathroom up there, close by without real lines and a waitress to take our drink orders. This was a vast improvement over standing for hours for a GA show!
Of course, driving at 2:30 in the morning felt painful as yesterday filled with meetings that my sleep-deprived self barely survived. I still say that it was worth it. Yes, the concert was great as was hanging with my friends! More than that, though, I love being at a live show, hearing great music. That atmosphere reminds me that it is good to be alive. I saw my first concert at that venue, Depeche Mode in 1990. I also saw my first Duran show there in 1993. I may not be as young as I was for those shows but I will refuse to go quietly into old or middle age. I will fight as long as I can to hold onto fun times and going to concerts. Always.