Depeche Mode in Hollywood = OMG!

I'm still wearing my wristband from Thursday night's Depeche Mode concert in Hollywood. I suppose I have to take it off before it fuses itself into my skin, but I'm delaying the inevitable.

And as far as delaying things, I figured it was probably better to write about the show when I could say something other than, "OMG!" -- Seriously, check my twitter feed -- and count the numbers of OMG's in there. As cheesy as it is, I'm not totally embarrassed because if you'd been there, you'd have been typing OMG, too!

Thank the Lord Depeche Mode is the kind of band to induce some OMG's because this week has been really rough for me personally, and we all know how I handle stress: By not sleeping! That meant my pre-show prep consisted of blasting the new Depeche album, Sounds of the Universe, putting a bag of frozen peas over my eyes and engaging in a really hot and heavy make-out session with a tube of MAC concealer.

Dark circles somewhat banished, I headed to the Santa Monica and Vermont subway station and hopped on the train for the short ride to the Hollywood and Vine stop. I was so excited I ran up three flights of subway stairs instead of taking the escalator. The minute I got to street level, all my fatigue was totally forgotten because of the energy from all the hundreds of fans walking around!

It was real, I was gonna see Depeche Mode... but I had to figure out where to go first. On my VIP winner notification email, it said to go to 1600 Selma Avenue. But the security at 1600 Selma said nope, we don't know anything about a VIP check in, you need to go over to the line a block away on El Centro St.

I walked over to El Centro St. and good grief, the crowd at 3:30 in the afternoon, over four hours before the stated show start time, was stretching down El Centro as far as my eyes could see. I can not tell you how grateful I was to hear a staffer arrogantly tell me, "I'm the producer of this f***ing event and those security people are WRONG. Go back over to Selma!"

Once I got back over to Selma, the security once again said, "Go to El Centro." So I just pretended to talk on my cell phone till the not-so-secure security was distracted by someone else, and then I snuck on by.

Sure enough, 50 yards away were tents with signs that said Band VIP and Fan Club. SWEET! Thank you, lucky stars, for helping me win the VIP tickets!

I knew ahead of time that there'd be lots of waiting in line and that's where talking to other fans really is part of the experience. It's great to hear everybody else's stories about how many shows they've been to, how long they've been a fan and whether or not they've met the band. I met two ladies who were in their 40's and had been fans since the earliest Depeche days in the 1980s. They shared fun tales of hanging out with the band back in their more wild days. I also met up with one of the fans I'd previously known only from Twitter, Junkyardmessiah --see, there is more than one black Depeche Mode fan!

While standing and waiting, we got to see and hear the sound check! It doesn't matter how many times I've seen this band, I spied Martin Gore's blond hair pop up on stage and I screamed! I couldn't help it. I am not one of those too cool for school L.A. fans who tries to act blase.

Martin is known for wearing some interesting outfits, makeup and hairdos on tour, so I was curious to see what he'd wear this time around. I liked his black and silver suit and the flat ironed hair. Some fans hated it, but I think my biracial brother looked fresh.

Maybe my hollering attracted some attention because I got interviewed by a KFWB reporter. The look he gave me when he asked, "How long have you been a fan?" and I replied, "Since I was 11," was priceless, not because he was trying to figure out how old I am, but because I think he was wondering, "Who are these obsessed people?"

Finally, after many hours of standing and more standing, we got let inside the staging area! Lucky me, I ended up standing dead center with only two people in front of me, a girl and her boyfriend who had not been in the VIP fan line but instead had been let in front of us by the 1iota people that work with Jimmy Kimmel.

I could go on and on about how annoying they were but I'll just sum it up: 1) they talked about how rich they were 2) they wore their sunglasses the entire time, even when it was totally dark, and 3) the girl didn't know which of the folks on stage was lead singer Dave Gahan. Who comes to a show and you don't know who the people are?

We stood for what felt like 10 more hours, and I realized I hadn't eaten all day because I was just too excited, but it didn't matter because I'm more than willing to endure some pain and suffering for Depeche Mode!

Then, finally, our boys walked up on stage! I proceeded to scream myself hoarse while watching Martin strap on his guitar, Dave jumping up and down to loosen up, and Fletch flexing his fingers over his synth. I was close enough to the stage that I could see eyeliner!

As they waited for the TV taping to start, what I found so endearing is how nervous they looked. They're one of the best live bands out there and they looked nervous! I think it's cute that they still get stage fright!

They did two songs for the part that got shown on Jimmy Kimmel, starting with their latest single, "Wrong":

Next they played a nicely reworked version of their classic hit, Personal Jesus:

It was fab to be surrounded by so many super hardcore fans who knew the words to all the songs, including the tunes on the record that got released a mere four days ago. We're actually pretty easy to spot on the videos since we're the ones dead center in the front with our arms in the air the entire time.

I had no idea how large the crowd was until I got home and saw the Kimmel taping. It was huge, somewhere between 12-15,000 people. But I think were too many shots of the crowd, especially of the people in the back who were standing around snapping pictures of themselves! The other thing about the TV performance is that the sound mixing is terrible. I'm not sure if it gives you a really good picture of what it was like to be there sound-wise.

There were a lot of other musicians there, namely ones who positively worship Depeche Mode and secretly want to be them: Chris Martin from Coldplay, Davey Havok and Adam Carson from AFI, and Jared and Shannon Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars. (Thanks, Jared, for the setlist photo!)

It was also hilarious to see the construction workers from the almost finished W Residences watching the show and dancing in the scaffolding! Oh and there were random people climbing out the windows of the Pantages Theater, just so they could get a view of the best band on the planet.

After Personal Jesus, the TV taping was over and the band visibly relaxed. They performed Walking in My Shoes next and then two of the new songs, Come Back and Peace. I thought Come Back sounded lovely -- it was sung so emotionally that I found myself almost crying. On the other hand, Peace performed live didn't work so well for me -- the electronic beat of it has so much bounce and I don't think the live drums carried it well. I wish Kimmel would post more footage than just the two songs because Martin was playing some sort of cool guitar during Peace. It looked like it was from the 25th century!

Depeche Mode finished out the set with two of the classics, Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down. By the time the band got to Enjoy the Silence, Dave Gahan had unbuttoned his vest and was in full hip gyration mode. Overall,there was a great chemistry between the guys... At one point, Dave gave Mart a huge hug and Fletch was of course doing his very best chillaxed playing on his synth!

And then it was over -- a once in a lifetime FREE Depeche Mode show was done! I was so buzzed that I walked the 10 blocks down to Hollywood and Highland to catch the train home instead of getting on at Hollywood and Vine. With all that standing, I was positively fried when I got home, but I stayed up to tape the Kimmel show.

There have been some nice write ups about the performance, particularly here and here, and there's also a great collection of pictures by Jonathan Alcorn, as well as on the official site in the news section, taken by the band's webmaster, Daniel Barassi.

Now I just get the pleasure of waiting till August when I see Depeche Mode twice at the Hollywood Bowl and once in Santa Barbara. If this Hollywood show was any indication of how the full tour will be, I'll be very happy. (And I'll get to type OMG a whole lot more!)


sippinwineman said…
It looked like an AWESOME show. How did you get ticks for two shows at the Bowl?!?! And Martin Gore's bi-racial? He looks more octoroon. He makes David look Black, he's so pale. lol

That was a big crowd, though. Enjoy.
Lisa Johnson said…
I'm glad you had such a good time! When I saw a preview for the show, I was thinking about how you were in that big crowd somewhere and would be positively ecstatic! : )
pooneh said…
You're love and enthusiasm make me feel like I got to go to the show too -- thanks!

glad you got such awesome tix!
Liz Dwyer said…
Sippinwineman,It was an absolutely awesome show! I'm so glad I live in LA and that I got tickets. So, the Hollywood Bowl... I bought them in the presales. Yes, Martin is... you just never know how genes will turn out. :)

Anali,I had SUCH a good time and my goodness, what nice memories it made!

Pooneh,I was happy to have the regular tix but SO glad to win the VIP ones. Being up that close to the band is the second time in my life I've had that experience and wow, it's amazing!
BZ said…
I'm soooooo happy for you!!!! I probably wouldn't have taken the wrist band off, either, had I the chance to see an artist for whom I held a similar level of affinity/fanaticism. LOL SO glad you had a blast!
I don't get into being jealous much, but I think your experience sends me over the edge. How awesome, but you won't get an OMG (Did I just write that?) from me. My sister and I are going to see them in September and we just can't wait. I wrote a post about my love for D-Mode. I thought you would enjoy it from one fellow die-hard fan to another.

I'm glad I found your site again.

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