Depeche Mode

 One of my favorite bands while I was in my late teens early twenties was Depeche Mode. I wrote about this when I saw “The Cure” last year. I was mainly influenced by U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths, INXS, Midnight Oil and the Simple Minds. As I mentioned last year I am convinced that some if not all of these bands saved my life a couple of times.

Looking back that time in my life was so painful and unbearable that I ask myself today how I even survived it. There are many ways human beings escape when they are confronted with such circumstances. First they shut down emotionally but that is often not enough. There are drugs, alcohol, countless other things and as a last resort suicide. I did not let it come that far. When I did not know how to handle certain experiences I would put on my headphones and blast “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 or “Enjoy The Silence” by Depeche Mode. That helped me to continue and to keep me from doing self-destructive things.

My friend Marco had invited me to the concert. When we arrived at Madison Square Garden yesterday evening we both realized how much time had passed since Depeche Mode came out with their first single in the early 80’s. Nobody in the audience seemed to be under 30.

After waiting for some time the opening band “Peter Bjorn and John” started playing. They were really good.

But how would Depeche Mode be? After all these guys are hitting the 50 mark in two to three years. Would they still be able to pull it off? Is the magic, their ability to uplift people’s lives still there?

To me they stand for freedom. In a time in my life when I was very repressed emotionally and mentally they gave me a glimpse of hope. Their music made me feel free even if it was only for a moment and that feeling inspired me to look for freedom later in life.

At 9 PM five guys walked on stage three of them original members of the band, David Grahan, Marin Gore and Andrew Fletcher.

Right away it was clear that this would be an amazing show. The moment they walked in most of the audience was off their seats. They started with two songs from their new album that I’ve never heard but everybody else seemed to know. Then they played their old songs and Madison Square Garden was on fire.

While I was dancing I was this 18 year old kid again that was striving for freedom and happiness. This young man who had no idea how and where he could find either. I saw myself dancing at school parties, at the “Mach 1” our local club in Nuremberg, “The Boat” a ship in Nuremberg that was converted to a club, at parties, I saw me driving my old Volkswagen and listening to them on my headphones in my room back in Germany.

Today I have what I’ve been striving for back then. Depeche Mode did not set me free. But they gave me hope that there is another life out there. I did the work but they and their music inspired me to do so.


“Depeche Mode” Manhattan, New York City, Madison Square Garden on fire 08-03-09 at 09:20 PM.


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