Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Depeche Mode and OMD: May 21, 1988
This show was part of the tour for Music for the Masses, some of which was captured in D.A. Pennebaker's film Depeche Mode 101. The tour marked a special moment in the history of Depeche Mode and alternative music in general. Little did we realize but both were about to blow up big-time and "alternative music" would soon evolve into a totally different monster. (I don't think there really is any "alternative" music anymore, but that's a whole other story, not fit for this blog!)
OMD were alright, but nothing great. I prefer their older material, but they still had some great songs at this point, but were pretty lacking in the stage presence department. Although to some extent the same could be said of Depeche Mode, Dave Gahan really worked it, and the whole vibe of the show was pretty exciting, since it was a big outdoor thing that made you realize, "Holy cow, there are a lot of us... alternative people."
DM did a lot of great songs that night, but not "People Are People." I guess they were feeling contrary. My one big memory of the night was a girl who was so drunk she was face-down on the ground for most of the show. Her friends just left her there for people to throw grass on, and I kept one eye on her most of the time because I remember how Jimi Hendrix died. I was thankful I was a) not hanging out with a bunch of jerks like that (what would likely now be called "frenemies") and b) not drunk.
Funny postscript: One night much later I was at (where else?) Denny's dressed in an all-black outfit that was typical for me at the time. The waitress asked me if I liked Depeche Mode and when I answered affirmatively she said, "You look you would like Depeche Mode." She didn't say it maliciously or anything, but it got me thinking about how I presented myself. I decided I didn't want anyone to assume they knew a lot about me based on the way I looked. I think not too long after that I bought a pink polka dot shirt just to be an asshole.