For this review we welcome back Amanda Chaffee of the And Then blog whose Dave towel catching exploits you will call recall from the Montreal review earlier in this series. After seeing the Tampa gig cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, there were fears that Miami would not go ahead but, thankfully for Depeche fans, the show went on. Here is what Amanda thought of it. I'd like to thank her for the great write up and the superb pictures. You can see the full set here - click
After the last-minute cancellation of the Tampa show due to Hurricane Irma, fans were on tenterhooks waiting to find out if Miami would go on. I was staying with a friend in New York who would be heading to Miami to visit family regardless of whether there was a show, and I desperately needed to find out whether I should book straight to Nashville or stay in New York. The prospect of hoteling alone in either city for $200-300US a night was daunting. Mercifully, the band and venue confirmed Miami would go on two days before the show, so I played Hotwire roulette and made my way down.
There seemed to be disagreement among fans on whether this show should go on, and I wondered if the turnout would be affected by people unable to return in time after evacuating. My fears were unfounded – devotees of South Florida turned out, and the arena was full. Despite this, the crowd was not the most exuberant that I have seen. Perhaps given the events of the previous week, people were already worn out.
Some people to the left of me left their seats midshow, and were gone for several songs. One man sat in his chair on his phone for some slower tracks. Mind you this is front row, directly in front of Martin Gore himself. Rude! At least this meant I got to dance with my friend Mike and his wife for a couple of songs, after they scooted into the empty spaces...
Depeche cranked out the standard set list, and as I’ve seen with several of the less bonkers crowds, people didn’t quite warm up until Cover Me. There was an interesting moment at the beginning of Wrong where Martin and Dave were lurking in the dark. Something made Dave laugh and the mic caught it from a distance. It echoed a bit and added an additional spooky layer to the song’s creeping intro. The band seemed in good spirits in general, with Dave slapping Fletch on the ass at one point near the end of the show. However, the energy of Toronto/Montréal (excellent crowds) and New York (Dave giddy in his home town) versus Miami was notable. It’s a perfect example of how the crowd can take the band from a great show to an electrifying one.
I think one of the most memorable moments came just after the lights went up. Mike and I were chatting and given set lists by a crew member. A fan who had been in the center section saw us with them. She said, “Where did you get such a treasure??” with incredibly genuine, wide-eyed wonder. We told her the crew had given it to us. She went back to her friends and we kept talking. She came back through to exit the arena, and Mike casually handed her his copy. She was in utter disbelief – so much so that she clasped her hand to her mouth and started crying, while giving Mike a huge hug. She was so grateful for a memento of a show that was clearly very special to her. This act of kindness and her pure reaction to it made me reflect on my journey thus far – this tour, and as a fan. I remembered the days when I would have been that girl, awed by something my friends and I see as fairly common these days, due to our experiences. The brain works in odd ways to create new plateaus of normality. Things that were once awe-inspiring become common place – maybe taken for granted – and the once completely unimaginable is somehow miraculously achievable, even if rare.
Experiences like this are a reminder that we should be grateful for every opportunity we have to just experience this wonderful band of brothers throwing themselves into their work on stage every other night. Setlists, rare tracks, front row, guitar picks, going backstage, winning meet and greets, sing alongs with Dave... all of those “extras" are icing on the cake. Amazing – sometimes addicting – icing on the cake. Given the state of the world, and the band’s history, being able to see Depeche Mode perform at all is still a treasure in itself. Other fans are not so lucky. And if we're real – one day, we won’t be either. I’m writing this weeks after the initial show (sorry, David!), with 14 ‘Spirit’ shows complete, and I'm still not bored. I am incredibly grateful, happy and looking forward to the rest of my home gigs as DM closes out California
Thanks again Amanda