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Times Square

 


Happiest Girl at the Murray Hill Diner

 


Down in the Village shopping

 


Times Square
/Broadway




The Chrysler building




Halloween pumpkins at the market




Kristian from P3 interviewing us.




Getting ready for the concert.




Photo by Daniel "The BRAT" Barassi from depechemode.com

 


DM at the Bowery Ballroom
Photo with kind permission: Brooklynvegan.com


DM at the Bowery Ballroom
Photo with kind permission: Brooklynvegan.com


DM at the Bowery Ballroom
Photo with kind permission: Brooklynvegan.com


DM at the Bowery Ballroom
Photo with kind permission: Brooklynvegan.com

 


Starting the Angel -
How I Got to New York to See Depeche Mode

- by Happiest Girl, Oct 2005 -


A couple of weeks ago I was listening, half asleep, to my radio which said there was a competition on P3. Send an e-mail or a text message and the prize was a trip to New York to see Depeche Mode live. Mmm, nice, that's probably really cool for whoever wins that, I thought, and pondered half-heartedly on what one possibly should write… Couldn't think of anything.

I received an e-mail from a friend the same day; "there's a Depeche-competition on the radio!" Yes yes yes, no point in entering won't be picked anyway. Wednesday when I got to work, Kristian says to me, Oy, there's a DM-competition on P3, you should enter! Yeah yeah... I said. Kristian: You're not a proper fan unless you enter! Ouch, that hurt. Really hurt, so when I returned from work late that evening, I started writing an e-mail. Then my mail crashed. So I had to write it again. Here it is:

"To: marte@nrk.no
Subject: Depeche Mode

Hi!

This might be too late, but I'll give it a go anyway. I bought my first Depeche Mode-single in 1982, it was Meaning of Love, on vinyl obviously. I must have been about 13… Liked their music, but didn't become a fan straight away, as I thought they were a bit lightweight. But when the album Black Celebration was released a few years later, I was sold, and since then I have been more or less religiously smitten with their music. Played their albums to shreds. When they were supposed to visit Oslo in 2001, I didn't quite trust them so I bought a ticket for the Wembley gig as well, just to be on the safe side. It was great seeing them there, with 100 000 or whoever many we were doing the mexican wave before the gig started. Lots and lots of people dressed in black with really wide grins.

In 1997 I suffered from a broken heart, which the song It's No Good helped cure. The French lily from that cover is now tattooed on my right shoulder. I know three other people with DM tattoos, oh yes, we are mad! I met a girl in England who had her own DM altar… Depeche Mode is actually the only music that I get erm… physically excited by.

I have peed in the same loo as Martin Gore, in a tiny pub called the The Windsor Castle in Maida Vale, London, Dave Gahan pointed at me because I pointed at him at the Norwegian Wood-festival, by the way, went to London to see him play live that year, and I 'accidentally' brushed against Andy Fletcher's shoulder when he dj'd at So What with Client. Precious Depeche Mode moments….

Another precious moment was when the girls at work hired open-top cars the one day we had off in Las Vegas, and we drove into the desert. Just as we approached the Hoover Dam, Personal Jesus came on the radio. Nothing else to do, turn it to 11!

Depeche Modes music will help cure everyday ailments such as hangovers, broken hearts, boredom and melancholy. It makes the blood rush through your veins and it makes it easier to breathe… I need Depeche Mode as I need air and water.

Yours,
Happiest Girl "

I pressed send at 00.42. As the observant reader may notice, I did not manage to put my phone number or anything of the sort in the e-mail. Which is why I received an e-mail the next day, as I got to work after having cycled from the university with DM loudly on my iPod, with the question if there was a mobile phone number or anything where they could reach me? As of now?? Sure, replied with my number. Continued to listen to my iPod. As Playing the Angel came to an end, I finally fished my mobile out of my pocket… It had four messages and four lost calls. If I could please call P3? So I did, apologised profusely and said that Depeche Mode ruled my iPod. I was promptly forgiven. Haha.

Anyway, I was to participate in a duel on the radio in about an hour. Right. My knees turned to jelly and my stomach got ever so slightly upset. Lost my breath a bit as well. I was at work, taping Senkveld, a talkshow. So I ran to see one of the hosts, Harald Rønneberg whom I had discussed Depeche Mode with for hours over a few pints of lager, and asked him to assist me. We started to prep one another, which single has that bong number, et cetera. Oh well. After a while of rehearsals for the show, my phone rang, and it was all going down. Harald came running into the OB truck wearing a headset and internet radio on his lap top, which had a delay of about 20 seconds, so not a lot of help there, but he held my hand which was what I needed most. As I was on my mobile, there was a bit of delay there too, but it worked, within an inch! The whole crew stopped their work, and everybody tuned their ears to P3…

My phone kept beeping and I thought with great distress that the battery was caving in on me, but it turned out it was only messages from everybody under the sun who was listening to my efforts on live radio. And then I won. I won a trip to New York to see them live. For two people. Goodness me…

Well, I had to give Jon Eirik a call, my mate since the age of 12, and we have had countless days and nights fuelled by red wine and brandy and Depeche Mode, friendly fights over that b-side and that remix and more. Jon Eirik could not make it, I heard that his voice turned thin and sparse, he was going to a trade fair and could not get away. He was not happy. Not at all. Ok, I'm calling Monica, I need to bring someone I can party with and who likes Depeche Mode. Right, that task was perhaps not insurmountable, anyway, she says wait a minute, I need to ask my boss, call you back in ten minutes. She calls me 30 seconds later, and we are all set.

Then I have to get a new passport, an electronic one since the Americans do not want my old analogue passport which still has over six months of life left in it. Down to the police station at the crack of dawn, okay at half past eight, the next morning, the little photo booth spits out a horrible picture, and I apply for a new and modern passport. I explain the situation, but I still have to be patient. Which is not easy, it's Friday 21. October, I'm going Thursday 27. October. I call the Passport office every day, to nag, but things won't go any faster…

Monday I go to see Espen at EMI, who gives me a lot of goodies. A Depeche Mode poster, (huge, can be used as wallpaper) luggage tag (of all things…) a mouse mat, a vinyl 12", buttons, and the tickets of course. Fantastic. I don't dare to tell him that my passport has not yet arrived; every time I think about it my stomach hurts.

Wednesday arrives, it's the day before departure, and I'm waiting for the mail. Waiting, waiting... Am supposed to go to work, but I call them to inform them that great things are at stake, and I'll be late. Waaaaaaiting… Finally a tiny postlady arrives, it's half past four, the mail has never been this late before and as soon as she leaves my hallway I rush in and tear open the mailbox. I make my neighbour jump who's also come out to check the mail. My new passport is there, and I can finally begin to look forward to the trip!

New York, New York...

Christian, from P3 appears when we well and truly have reached New York and will be interviewing us while we get ready to go to the gig. I'm putting on make up as well as creaky bondage pvc trousers that rattle every time I move. Obviously, we have said and talked about everything before he shows up, so we clam up as soon as he switches on his recorder. Somewhat embarrassing… Oh well, we do manage to squeeze out something. Whether or not it makes sense I do not know. I'm trying hard not to come across as a giggling fourteen-year old, we are not talking about a boy-band here. Not anymore anyway, a man-band more like. The interview airs Monday 31. October, my phone beeps with messages from people I know, but I refuse! I just play Depeche Mode louder and louder on the stereo. I simply do not dare to listen.

We jump into a taxi, the yellow kind, and go to where the gig is supposed to be. The line outside is fairly long and dressed in black, which looks promising. Just when we get there, a guy asks us if we have an extra ticket he can buy off us for 120 dollars… But we haven't. Another guy has made a really ugly poster which says: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, can somebody please help me see Depeche Mode?!?!? No, we can't, really… The people at the door are really cranky, I'm from the North of Norway and raised fairly strictly so I hide my camera in my jacket as it says No Photos on a poster. We go in, downstairs to the bar and the first person I spot is Jonathan Kessler. As usual he looks like a truck driver from 1975. After a while we go upstairs to where the stage is and it's tiny!! Miniscule! A fairly square venue, with a gallery and a small stage at one end, and a little bar at the other. Only a few lights on the stage and no set design.

The audience turns out to be not so dressed in black after all, the coats have all come off now, and people are ill prepared! You just don't go to an exclusive Depeche Mode gig in worn out t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans! I say! A few have made an effort, they are wearing old DM shirts of various designs and some people are dressed completely in black. The poster guy from outside has actually managed to get in and he runs around while he waves his poster in a frenetic dance of joy. He gets cheers and applause from everybody!

The atmosphere is one of tense excitement and expectation and I spot Daniel Miller up on the gallery. Rotund. I drink beer. Only a little bit, this occasion is not to be interrupted by trips to the loo or failed concentration due to a full bladder. One has to be careful. And there, finally, Depeche Mode are on the stage and blast us with the opening riffs of A Pain That I'm Used To. They rock. They rock like mad. Dave Gahan, slim and gorgeous, COMPLETELY flat stomach, dressed in a waistcoat (that disappears after a while to enormous cheers) and black trousers, Andy Fletcher looks as usual completely casual, but very much concentrated, and Martin Gore is wearing a black knitted hat with a Mohican. Weeell, looks a bit like a black turkey. Christian Eigner on drums and that curly haired bloke whose name I have forgotten on keyboards. The new songs are fantastic live, they become even edgier and the sound is amazing. Obviously, the whole crowd start fishing out their digital cameras and start snapping away. I curse my manners that made me leave my camera! But Monica tells me to shut up and enjoy when I start moaning about it. She's right of course. I take some pictures with my mobile phone, they are bound to be rotten, but still… Depeche rock harder and harder, and the crowd is enthusiastic, to say the least. So am I, I clap my hands so hard that I smash a stone ring I'm wearing to smithereens. "Thanks for breaking us in!" Dave Gahan shouts from the stage. Don't mention it, love! I think it must be years since Dave Gahan actually sang the refrain on Enjoy The Silence, the crowd knows it for sure! Our Dave bounces around on the stage like a rubber ball, arms and legs everywhere, I'm actually a bit worried that he might fall off the little stage, but he's all right. Just start looking forward to the concerts, the guys are in great shape!

Martin Gore takes centre stage and sings Damaged People and Home. Thankfully, he has taken off the turkey hat, but has instead got a brand new guitar, star shaped and silver coloured. It's very… nice. The songs are nice and Martin sings nicely. They actually play 15 songs, with Enjoy The Silence as encore in an extra long version. But the whole thing is over in a moment, how could time have passed so quickly? I want more more more… So does the rest of the crowd, and chants Depeche Mode! Depeche Mode! But no, they have played for at least 90 minutes although it feels more like ten. My grin stretches around my head, only stopped by my ears. Happiness has filled my entire being. No, I don't get to meet them, unfortunately, but Daniel Miller walks straight past me. A centimetre away. That is quite something too.

Happiest Girl, Oct. 2005


A few comments on the concert from Brooklynvegan.com


LINKS

>> Setlist
>> Pictures from the concert from Brooklynvegan.com
>> DM official website
>> Depeche-mode-world.de (German fansite with pictures from the tour)

>> Shelburne Murray Hill (The hotel we stayed at)

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