Tag Archives: Depeche Mode tour 2017

Depeche Mode, Concert Going, and Staying Young (Relatively)

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.

-A

Duran Does It Better!

Over the years, Rhonda and I have written many, many blogs covering Duran Duran presales, concert tickets and VIP packages.  In some (okay..maybe…many cases), these posts have been critical of some aspect of Duran Duran concert buying details.  Likewise, many fans have also expressed frustration over the process during the last ten years or so.  I remember a LOT of complaining (with good reason) about the use of Ticketmaster, for example.  Ticket prices have also been a big discussion over the years as have VIP packages and what they include.  Many Duranies express frustration that meet and greets are no longer a part of any VIP package.  Others wish that they got more for the money, in terms of either merchandise or parties or whatnot.

Usually, when the topic of fan clubs and presales happen in the world of social media, I hear fans discuss how this band or that band does it better because…These fans offer alternative methods to how Duran sells their concert tickets.  As time has gone by and ticket prices continued to increase, I had to wonder if these fans weren’t right.  Maybe Duran Duran needs to learn from other bands?!  Then, this week forced me to rethink this.

Rhonda blogged earlier this week about Depeche Mode’s method of presales where fans chose their city to buy tickets for and move up in line based on how many albums they purchase, how often they post on social media, etc.  She expressed extremely valid concerns about this system.  I agreed with many of her points but still planned on participating in the presale.  Depeche is one of my favorite bands and I always try to see them when I can.  That said, I don’t travel to see them so the idea of picking one city worked for me.  I did not do much else to improve my spot in line.  I purchased one album and that was it.  My schedule did not allow for more, even if I had wanted to do more.

Soon enough, the presale date rolled around and I found out that I was in the second group.  Okay.  I could live with that.  The presale time came around and I was prepared to buy ticket for a few friends and myself.  I asked for the 4 tickets and I got somewhere around the 20th row.  The ticket price?  With fees, they ran about $175.  Uh.  No thanks.  I do not mind spending money for concert tickets (that’s pretty obvious with Duran, right?).  I do have a problem of spending a lot of money for not great seats.  I thought I could do better.  Later in the day, when I had a bit more time, I decided to search on the map to see what was still available for the fan presale and for how much.

I’m posting the map here to explain what I discovered:

First, let me tell that I have seen Depeche Mode here (Chicago) many times.  Most recently, I had row M in section 104 back in 2013.  Those seats cost $119.  This time, I found that row M in section 103 was a VIP seat.  In fact, row MM in section 204 was also considered VIP.  How much are those VIP tickets and what do fans get for them?

***FRONT ROW PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Front Row reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***HOSPITALITY PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***GOLD HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 

***SILVER HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) premium Price Level 2 reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening

Right away, I noticed that none of these VIP packages include meet and greets.  I also realized that most of them do not describe what a premium seat means.  I think back to Duran’s VIP packages during this Paper Gods tour and I know that Ultimate had front row.  Gold packages included seats in rows 2 through 6.  DDHQ made it clear where the seats could be, at least in terms of rows.  Depeche doesn’t give any information.  Now, how much are these?  Some of the seats I found were:  Section 103 Row M for $585, Section 102 Row A for $950, Section 204 Row MM for $300.  Wow.  Yesterday, I saw prices for the Hollywood Bowl.  Prices for the front sections there ranged from $865 to $1495 through Ticketmaster.  These are not prices through a ticket broker.

Now, I’m sure that some of you are saying that Duran tickets are expensive.  Sure, they are.  The tickets for next weekend, for example, cost about $350 for second row center with some merchandise.  The Hollywood Bowl show cost $445 for us in October of 2015.  This price included second row center seats, merchandise and a party.  Depeche is clearly charging twice that for their packages there.

After seeing all of this, I have to admit that I’m glad that *my* favorite band is not Depeche Mode.  I couldn’t afford to go to many shows, especially VIP, that’s for sure.  The presale process would already limit where to get tickets and the price guarantees that it is just one city.  Perhaps, their team assumes that fans are only going to one show so maybe they will go all out for that one concert, in terms of tickets.  I don’t know.

Later this morning, I will attempt again to get tickets through the public sale.  I will not be buying VIP tickets, but I will try to get the best tickets I can for a price I can feel comfortable with.  Thankfully, I don’t feel the need to see Depeche up close.  This little experience taught me that Duran does the whole concert ticket thing pretty well, in comparison.  Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say.  Duran does it better.

-A

Presales and the die hard fan: Is the process really meant to be fair?

A couple weeks ago, Amanda blogged about the new presale system that Depeche Mode is using for their upcoming tour. In full disclosure, I am not a huge Depeche Mode fan in 2017. I owned all of their albums up until the late 90s or so, but I got bored. I’m not here to get into a debate over their music, so we’ll just say that I always take notice when they come out with something new, but I’m not quite as driven as many others.  So, when their new tour was announced, along with a vague explanation of this new presale system where your place in line is at least partially determined by how hard you work to promote Depeche Mode and their tour, I knew there was no way I was getting involved.  I just don’t love them that much. I’m not sure I love any band that much, outside of Duran Duran.

Oddly, considering the tone of this post, I have always been a big supporter of fan marketing. That means that an artist shares the responsibility of marketing with  his/her/their fan base, and then rewards them for their efforts. Depeche Mode isn’t necessarily wrong to use a similar method for this tour. I think the idea of rewarding fans who go the extra mile is a great idea…and that has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve written a blog for the past six years. It just makes good sense. But how to make it all work? The devil is in the details. Or, in other words, something that sounds good on paper doesn’t always work out in real life. Or online.

For the past two weeks or so, I’ve seen a lot of my friends post or tweet something about registering for Depeche Mode tickets using their link so that they can move up farther in line.  I saw the same posts from the same people tens, if not hundreds of times. I don’t know if just posting helped them, or if they really needed people registering off of their link for it to count. I also saw, with some regularity, posts from other friends who were complaining about how far they’d dropped in line. Very few of them seemed to move up, and staying in the lower digits at least seemed pretty difficult to me from the outside looking in. I don’t know how much effort it took to remain in those spaces (and if anyone has insight on that, feel free to drop me a line or share your tale in the comments!), but I do know that if I’d been involved, I would have obsessed over my number in line, which is never good (for me, anyway).

The frenzy of posts seemed to grow until this weekend, where it seemed CRAZY, until last night when the same friends got their emails telling them their presale times for this morning. I woke up this morning to many negative-leaning posts about the presale process.

It was about this time when I started being thankful for paying my $35.00 a year membership to DDM, and only having to work within the DD presale process. Yes, Ticketmaster has not always been kind to me, but to be fair—the main reason I have had any kind of trouble has been because I didn’t want to pay for top tier Duran Duran tickets,  so I have gone with a lesser VIP package, and then been appalled where those packages have ended up being, seat-wise. I don’t know what that’s about with me, but I’ve just learned that if I’m going to go, I have to suck it up and pay the big prices to be up front, or just be satisfied I’m in the building. There’s no in between for me, I really am that high maintenance, and that is MY problem. But back to Depeche Mode…

As I observed friends getting more and more impatient over the Depeche Mode presale, I realized that there just isn’t any one way to make this process fair for everyone. There’s always going to be someone who feels screwed, no matter what is done.

Let’s face it, a successful tour means sold-out shows, and if there are sold-out shows, it means that sure enough, somebody, somewhere, will end up without the tickets they want. Demand exceeded supply. Hence the sad posts from fans without tickets, angry posts from those who ended up with back row, and frustrated posts from those who think $300 for one mediocre seat in the rear of the venue is a little out of hand. And trust me, it is, I agree…but we pay it because we desperately want to be there. The venue, management and a host of other people who make their living from concerts all know this. It is the name of the game. Business. 

I saw a lot of disappointed posts this morning, and a lot of people saying they bought some tickets but weren’t at all happy about what it took to get them. I thought a lot about the things I’m willing to do to go to a DD show these days. For me personally, I’m not sure where the line is drawn. Some days, like today, I’m thinking that I do enough as it is. I just want to buy the damn ticket. I would be really upset if they went to a similar system as Depeche Mode, and I’m not sure I’d bother.  On other days, I might say that if I had to participate with all of that posting and tweeting in order to do a presale and get a decent spot – I suppose I might. I’m not sure. Right now, I’m feeling tired. I don’t feel young, and I’m just not sure it’s all worth it, but that could easily change overnight. I don’t want to begin jumping through more hoops in order to see Duran Duran, but when push comes to shove would I really be willing to stop seeing them live, or would I be willing to forgo a good spot in line for presales?  Would you?

I hope I don’t have to find out any time soon.

-R