see the stars are shining bright, everything's all right tonight

Like, I just went to the Depeche Mode concert. Ohmigod. It was RAD. A few thoughts:

....those songs sound much better now than I remember them. Of course there is a huge added element of nostalgia. But there is also added musical appreciation for the little hooks and melodic things which have outlasted, rightfully, a lot of other 80's pop music.

....there were a lot of very young Latino people there, There were also a lot of huge guys with goatees who looked like they could kill me with a shoulder twitch. I guess the band really is reaching a new wider audience. Either that, or all the skinny Europhile-geeks who liked DM when I was in high school grew up into huge guys who could kill me with a shoulder twitch.

...."Enjoy The Silence" is a great rock song live. So is "Policy of Truth" and "Everything Counts." "Just Can't Get Enough" was just kind of yknow, "Just Can't Get Enough." It could not escape its own essential synth-poppiness. But those other songs were elevated via guitar to full arena-size epiphanal grandeur, whilst avoiding the cliches of normal guitar anthems, because of the juxtaposition of all those tinkly little electric piano noises.

..."Everything Counts" is kind of a deep song. I never really got it before, I just thought it was one of those lyrical This-Rhyme-Is-So-Silly-You-Won't-Be-Able-To-Forget-The-Chorus kind of things. But tonight I really glommed all the verses about "contracts" and "careers" and decided that the chorus is an ironic reference to the bean-counting, labeling and parcelization that consumes our society, AS WELL AS being a pretty plea for salvation through the quantum interconnectivity of "Everything." I used to think it was only about that second thing.

....I was either a lot dumber when I was in high school, or a lot smarter.

....Dave Gahan does not seem to play an instrument except his voice and the occasional handclap, but tonight he really impressed me as a musician. It's not like he did anything really complicated or wacky, I can't quite explain it. It's like he's got this voice, this peculiar deep drone, and he knows exactly what to do with it. He's locked in to the dynamics and groove of the song (which, to be fair, are probably already pretty locked with computer assistance). He's not like, say, Adam Duritz, who may know a few guitar chords but comes off as a guy that they just threw up there to wiggle and make arrythmic rooster noises.

...on the other hand, maybe Gahan comes off well because he knows that at some point in the set, he doesn't have to do anything. They start playing one of those old songs and he just has to gesture to us (the audience) and we sing the whole fricking song for him. A testament to the power of simple words that rhyme, and Reason #1000003 why being a rock star is the Best Job Ever.

...my freshman year roommate in college was kind of a typical Asian O.C. homophobe. He suspected me of queerness because of my poster of Prince, but he looooooved Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, all that. This is my rampup to saying that Depeche Mode live has gotta be one of the most powerful queer-positive experiences ever, even though I don't know if they're gay or what. They don't seem gay or straight. Gahan (groan oh him again, look, step off, he's my new boyfriend) fuses the masculine and feminine energy into something...else. I mean, not that David Bowie and every other rocker with eyeshadow doesn't do that to some degree, but there's something kind of affecting about the way DM's frontman does it, maybe because he seems like such an average slight little Joe, not flamboyantly femme like the guys in Erasure, definitely not too manly or distinctively pretty like the guys in Bon Jovi or Whathaveyou. I would say something elementally queer about that one.

...it is possible that I just like anything which shares my initials.

...I was gonna sum up with some kind of theory about the relationship of music and time and sense-memory, how music travels through the years and becomes better or worse as nostalgia happens and historical perspective happens and critical standards change....but Who Really Cares. DM is sooooooo coooooooool! DM forever! Thank you Los Angeles and good night.

Comments

bri said…
OH I LOVED this post. Thank you.

I think I would really love to see another DM concert, even while I find that a large number of their songs don't hold up that well for me on CD/tape. Some do, but others just seem awfully cheesy now. Maybe it's just a little bit of embarrassment over the way I used to swoon over "Somebody" when I was 13. Still, I can sing you every word of it, "Shake the Disease" and "It Doesn't Matter Two" right here, right now.

Are you around 12/30? We're staying at the Standard Downtown that night...
espressodog said…
I wouldn't discount the power of the initials. I voted for Reagan in my kindergarten mock elections because his name started with the same letter as mine. The first and last time I voted Republican.
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