As I mentioned in Kristin's review of night 1 at the Hollywood Bowl, there was going to be a special review of all four nights in addition to the individual reviews and here it is. Jamie Highland, who previously reviewed Madison Square Garden for the blog, went to all four nights at the Bowl and this is his report. It's a rollercoaster of a read, perfectly encapsulating the highs and lows of following this band around the place and showing the lengths people will go to and the things they'll put themselves through all in the name of seeing Depeche Mode live. Pain and suffering in various tempos indeed. It's a cracking read - thanks very much Jamie. All pictures are Jamie's other than the one under this which I've taken from...you'll never guess...Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group.
A Boy And His Band At The Bowl
Remember wristbands? '86 '87 '88 '90 '93? Getting the right numbered wristband. Wow. You were in. I remember distinctly my buddy Corey getting #2 at the Warehouse in Anaheim on State College & Lincoln in '89. We were allowed to buy 8 seats. We got 16th Row Center fucking Dodgers Stadium. I wore my Black Celebration T-Shirt which I had written the words to Stripped on the back in black marker two tours previous (yes I still have it) At that show my friend Rick kept laughing. After the show I asked him why he was laughing during Stripped and he said the girls behind you were reading your shirt, they were singing to your shirt! Wow. That's pretty cool to remember those things. That same tour dM put on a "fan appreciation show" at the then Universal Ampitheatre. You had to call in to win tickets. 18 of us were calling in that day, including my mom. The rule was, if you won, you take Jamie. If Jamie wins, we put our names in a hat. My buddy Rick got in. We went. Mart played Little 15 & Here Is The House that night. That's pretty cool to remember those things. Although I was already going to the special show and Dodgers Staduim Night 1 as well as all 3 nights in San Diego I had an extra ticket for Dodgers Night 2. I wanted to take a lot of people. Especially Corey because you know. Sexy, gay, sex, fun. But I took my mom. My mom was AWESOME. She screamed when appropriate, she sang every fucking word. She was in a word, brilliant. That's pretty cool to remember those things.
I miss my mom. I miss her a lot. And don't worry Corey and I hooked more than a few times. We are friends to this day oh and... he's the one that told me to take my mom. Night 2, awesome dude. He is also the guy that almost got crushed to death at the Warehouse signing. Those that know me know the story.
The sad thing about this story above is that my other best friend during High School is Amie. I have no idea how but she was left out of the 8 tickets Night 1. She has never let me forget it. She also has never stopped being my best High School buddy. We have been friends for 31 years, through life, death, ends and beginnings she has been a rock.
So what has this to do with dM at the Hollywood Bowl 2017? Let's forward to 2001
In '01 I was online. Before the DMMB existed, we were on the WB board. dM was playing in Las Vegas. 2.500 capacity. Everyone was coming to Vegas. My friends and I ran a club every Wednesday behind Club Angles. dM were playing on a Wednesday. It was the perfect storm. The very last person to sign up for the party was Windscreenfly. He was so late I never even saw him sign up. A day before the show all the people that were a day early for the show met at the Hard Rock side bar and we hung out. Later that night I harassed Fletch, at the center bar, coaching him on how to play video poker correctly. He was terrible and he wasn't a fan of my coaching. After he looked me directly in the eye, I said, I just wanted to know if you want to watch your guy's performance of I Feel Loved on The Tonight Show, they are playing it at the side bar in half an hour, I hear the band is pretty good. He laughed and said, you know what. NO! But thank you. I laughed and I held out my hand. He shook it and laughed, I said Ill get out of your face, he laughed again and shook his head vehemently, YES.
The next day started so fast. Meeting new people, arriving almost hourly. My buddy Amie arrived without her suitcase (She attended the show in almost her bathing suit. Yes I have pics somewhere). So as the day goes on I meet many people including Omid Taxallai, he and his sister A2sa turn out to be friends for life. As the show is about to begin some guy comes up to me and says Hey Bong10. (My board name still, even though I rarely post anymore). He says Hi my name is Sean, Windscreenfly, I signed up for the party but probably late. I said, hey man. I'm glad you're here. I've been hanging out welcoming and trying to find everyone so we are standing in the back. Wanna hang with us? He said yes. The most vivid things I remember that night were during WIMS I looked back and reached out my hand to Sean and he took it. And then an hour later he was at me and my friends club standing against a wall looking like he had bee hit by a truck.
I had planned to follow dM on Tour for the next 10 days but ended up calling into work for an additional 7 days and spending an additional $1,700, Only $400 was on me $300 was for front row tickets for Anaheim Night 1 for me and Andrea Sutterfield. (to trade up our ok seats) I handed out money to everyone that needed it. It was FUCKING AWESOME. The group of us were having so much fun we kept posting our exploits on the DMWB. Sean was having so much fun reading our exploits and I kept harassing him so much he ended up flying back out to CA from NY to hang with us on the final night of the tour. We all met up next door to the Pond in Anaheim for drinks. I gave away my previously bought tickets to Berlin, Leipzig, Warsaw and Prague to a great group of German fans that were visiting. As we all walked across the street (needed to scalp a ticket still) Sean handed me a ticket, 16th row center. No, I'm not making that up, same seats as Dodgers Night 1, 11 years earlier. I said how did you get this? He said you did so much for everyone in Vegas, just take the ticket. THAT was he start of a dM friendship becoming a friendship becoming a best friendship. September 11th 2001 happened 3 weeks later. I went to visit him in February 2002 where we met and hung out with Dave while he did a 3 hour interview with radio stations around the country at CBS studios, promoting One Night In Paris. Lets forward through 2002-2017
One person I didn't mention during the Tour of Pain is Barbara Seals Morden. The reason I didn't mention her is because I wanted to save her story for this portion.
When the dM dates were announced Barb immediately told me. Not asked. TOLD me I was staying at her house during the HB stand. When Night 3 and Night 4 were added she never said, Oh that date as well. Nor did I ask. It was known. In May I was in LA to meet up with Sean and we both had dinner with Barb and I asked if it would be okay if Kristin Vogel-Campbell could stay at her ho.... fuck yes she can. I love her. And if you vouch for her too, yes. I never got the words out. Who does this? Barbara does.
|Jamie, Barbara Seals Morden and Attosa Tavallai at the afterparty on night 2|
So now we are almost there. The Hollywood Bowl Stand.
Things to know.
1. Me & Kristin are staying at Barb's: ie: Barb HQ
2. Me, Barb, Sean, Omid, A2sa, Mrio are Tour of Pain survivors 2001
3. We have all been in touch but some if us haven't seen each other in years
4. I didn't want to write this because of doubt, but did because of friend support
& I promised David
5. If you want a play by play on each song see some other the amazing reviews. Stacy Lynch & Sara Lauder come to mind.
Night 1 : It's nosebleed night. And although our altitude was high, so was our attitude. dM was going to hear us and hear us they did. The set list was the standard Only Night/1st Night Set we've all come to know. What was nice was one of the six of us, my friend Amie who has been going to dM shows with me for 30 years was a Spirit Tour virgin. Many of the songs, A Question of Lust, Stripped, In Your Room, are her favorites so it was nice to once again share those moments with her. And boy can she scream. In the row ahead of us off to the right were two dudes who were obviously bothered by our enthusiasm from the start. Constantly looking back over their shoulders and speaking furiously into each others ears. By A Pain That I'm Used To they'd had enough and vacated their seats. See ya later twats. Look, if you have seats in Section 'way in the fucking back' and I'm standing near you it's not going to be a quiet night. Me and my friends are going to be dancing, singing, and screaming "FUCK! YEAH!" in between songs.
On ticket sale day San Fran's finest educator Kristin,said fuck it, I'm buying a block of tickets, Way up. Just in case we don't get anything better. Brilliant.
Michele Valenzuela Pruyn, bought the extra ticket we had (two weeks before the show) after someone that we loved let us down in the most monumental way. Btw you may have seen Michele on her takeover. Don't believe it. She's shady as hell LMAO. Love you lady ;)
I leaned over and asked the ladies in front of us if they were bothered by our boisterousness and to a person they said no and also said they were rather enjoying it. I was glad to hear this because from then on I was a little extra crazy. Before each song I would start giving hints to everyone around us about what song was coming up. I would ask people, does 2 + 2 = 4? They would laugh and say no and I would yell WRONG! During EC's brilliant new intro I would ask everyone for a hand shake. I was shaking everyone's hand. Even the people I was with thought I'd lost the plot, this behavior culminated in me physically holding one of the girl's arms out during Personal Jesus. I mean, come now. That's dM 101. No pun intended.
After the show we headed over to The Pig N' Whistle for Club Ultra. The first of 4 after parties put on by Strangelove: The Depeche Mode Experience's own Freddie Morales. The after party was amazing. Meeting up with some friends I hadn't seen in over a decade and partying even more with my fellow concert goers. One of those people is A2sa. A2sa is my soulmate on soul many levels. If I was straight and she was a straight guy we would be a heterosexual male couple. Yes. I know. The love is real. We hugged for a non stop 4 minutes. When one person let go the other re-hugged. That hug will will never be forgotten. Even. Unfortunately I was stalked for the next 3 hours by one of Dave's groupies so that kinda put a damper on the night, but true love wins out.
Day 1: The day off in between Night's 1 and 2 was a much needed rest. I had been going non stop after the San Diego show, training up to San Francisco, meeting up and staying with my buddy Kristen Vogel-Campbell. Seeing the show in Oakland, training in back down to LA the next day, arriving that evening and then staying up until the wee hours of the morning catching up with my dear friend Barbara Seals Morden. That day was the first day I'd be waking up and going to sleep in the same bed and not having to wake up at o-dark thirty, in 6 days.
This is the point I should mention the Night 2 void. As in, almost no one I knew had tickets. It was kinda strange. When tickets went on sale the usual thing happened. Multiple calls and text messages as well as an uncountable number of Fb IM's started up. It was fast and furious. "I got seats for us for this show," "This person has an extra seat for this night," "no one has any good seats for this night." When ticket sale day was over I had seats to all of the shows I was attending except Night 2. Nothing really worked out so I just decided to get them closer to the date. Being from LA, I've always got into any show I wanted to attend. I wasn't worried. Well, this time that didn't work out so well because after my trip to NY and two shows there and an unexpected personal situation came up I wasn't in any position to see Night 2. When this situation came up Kristin told me she was buying my ticket to Night 2. I said no. After a few days of back and forth I relented. So THANK YOU again Kristin. Thank you so much.
Night 2: It's solo night. Kristin procured a pretty great seat for me on Mart's side. However due to it being a last minute sort of thing, I was going to have to make friends. And make friends I did. When I got there, after Warpaint had ended my entire row was full so scooted into my seat, 4th from the isle. I said hey to everybody and gave my usual speech. I dance and sing, there will be no sitting. After a few minutes of introductions I was 100% that Nelida and her sister to my left and Jamie and her brother and his boyfriend to my right were going to be on point. It didn't take long before I was proven right. When the lights went down and all the way through Going Backwards my new friends and I were ON. When Mart started his solo Strangelove version I thought Nelida was going to pass out and Jamie nearly strangled me in a full neck bear hug. It was amazing.
Day 2: The next day was Sunday brunch. Barb made amazing French Toast with rum syrup reduction and egg and cheese, um, thingy? Me Barb, Kristin, A2sa, Kelly Williams and A2sa's buddy ate and then we ate some more. Stories from The Tour of Pain were told. 16 years of memories. We were laughing so hard at points I had to sit on the softer sofa because my back couldn't take laughing that hard while sitting on the harder dinning room chairs.
|Kristin and Jamie pointing out the album SOFAD fans secretly love the most|
Night 3: I was hanging once again with my High School buddy Amie again. Also attending would be Amie's 12 year old daughter Brody and Brody's best friend Brianna. dM virgins both. Was really looking forward to this night. But first, I had agreed to finally accompany Kristin on her daily outing to The Spirit Truck. When I woke up that day my back was hurting more than usual and this was the day I should have stayed home and rested but... hindsight. So we went to the Spirit Truck. Besides being crazy hot it was a lot of fun. When you got there they handed you a lottery ticket and then every 15 minutes they would draw a number and you'd win a shirt or signed poster, hat etc. While there I could feel my back really start to hurt but hey, how often do you get to do this? Answer: NOW.
So after about 4 hours out we returned home and decided to Uber to the Metro station and take the train into Hollywood & Highland Station one stop away because there was a World Premiere going on at Grauman's Chinese Theatre that night so driving into a park & ride or Ubering straight there was out of the question. Now this is a sound idea normally, however, my back is about 50% at this point and now we have to walk up the hill to the Bowl. Now, I am not an open complainer. In fact, I think I'm pretty good about concealing my pain. This day, with the amount of times Kristin was aking if I was okay, should be a testament to how hard it was to hide. But, we got there. Kristin and I split because she was down in the pool that night and I was up were I was the night before. I met up with Amie and the girls who were sharing pizza. I found the beer stand and got straight to my seat to relieve the pain.
This would be the only night I would see Warpaint's entire set and they were really good. Pain aside, I rather enjoyed them and my time chatting with Amie and the girls, who were all super excited. To watch their faces as the lights went down and the music start up was pretty amazing. Smiles all around. When the second song started and the first few notes of It's No Good played out I texted my husband and Sean, "Here we go..." Little did I know I would be the one going in about an hour or so. As each song played, just the act of standing became almost impossible. But it's dM. I'm standing. When Mart comes out and starts singing Insight, I have tears in my eyes and sing every fucking word and that would be the last song I stand for the entire song. By Wrong I'm sitting and by Stripped I'm sitting bent over the bench in front of me head down. Amie is now sitting with her hand on my head knowing that the pain is real for me. To be sitting during Stripped?! Anyway, half way through Enjoy The Silence I apologize to Amie and tell her I can't stay. She tells me to get out of there and I do. So very slowly. Now the way the Bowl is designed and the speed to which I'm walking, I still hear Shake The Disease and Black Celebration while I'm making my way out. Hearing two of my top ten songs play as I'm leaving a dM show will be with me forever. The pain was intense. The tears were flowing. The offers for help numerous. I've never told this to anyone but I was given two bottles of water, a free T-shirt and an offer to drive me down the rest of the hill. These were just people working the hill. Not even dM fans.
|From Night 3 - Amie, Brianna and Brody|
Day 3: With chemical help I sleep until 3pm the this day. I wake up and spend that evening talking to Barb, who once again has made me dinner. We sit and chat for a couple hours and then I'm back in bed by 9:30. I sleep until 9. Totally missed Kristin who was out really living it up with the Spirit Truck and fellow devotees. She truly is amazing.
Night 4: Bittersweet night. This is the night I was dreading and most looking forward to. I know, sounds crazy. But today is the day my best friend arrives from New York and also the last night of what has become, basically, our House Band in Hollywood. For an entire week now dm has been playing the same club. No doubt a rather large club but still. Sean gets in about 11:30am and our fellow Tour Of Pain buddy Mario is picking him up, both arriving at Barb HQ around 1:30. Kristin arrives at the same time from her day out and we all head over to get pizza and beer. We come back to the house and just sit and talk. Sit and talk. Here Is The House comes to mind when thinking about these couple of hours. Sitting and talking with friends is always great, but in the context of dM... I don't know. It's just one of those things, ya know? We were doing other things, figuring out who was going with who, which modes of transport we were all going to use to get there but mostly we were just sitting around talking and laughing and hanging out. Shows aside, or equal to, these are the greatest moments.
So after hanging out for a few hours we get ready and we're off. Sean & Mario drop Kristin & I off at the Bowl and they go to park. Kristin goes to her VIP Dinner and I sit down to chill. Back is great after almost 2 days rest but extra rest can't hurt. And then, almost immediately, there she is, "You need a beer? You look like you need a beer. Let me get you a beer." Michele Valenzuela Pruyn, standing there with her, 'Come on already - let's go' look. "You glorious bitch, yes please." So we walk the whole 15 feet to the beer stand. We chat it up about things that will remain between her & I. She's a fucking gem btw. If you haven't met her, highly recommend. I go to sit back down and didn't realize I sat next to Leah Ward and hubby Rob. Very, very lovely people. We start chatting and then realize we all know each other, dM degrees of separation. To my left another handsome dude is sitting and I find out that it's Mads Kruse. I feel like I sat in the middle of a dM Fb post. What an amazing human being this guy is. About an hour later I ran into Mads or he ran into me. He was calling my name and he handed me 2 of Mart's guitar picks. He said give one to Sean and one is yours. Mads, I gave that pick to Amie to give to her daughter Brody. She cried when she found out how she got it. Well done my friend. You just made a new 12 year old dM fan a fan for life.
Soon after Michele leaves Amie shows up and to make a very long preshow story short, we get to our box. Barb has been texting, "what do you want to drink", but I haven't been responding because Barb's already done enough for me this tour. Amie, Sean & myself are now sitting in our box. We are HYPED. I'm finally feeling AMAZING. My best friends on the planet are standing next to me. My other best friend is on her way. When this box was acquired, these were not the 4 people that were supposed to be there. But as fate would have it... it was just one of those moments the universe said, "Jamie, tonight." That's all it said. Actully it never said anything. The universe doesn't have a mouth. Nor vocal chords, silly. And then there she is. Barb.
|A2sa, Jamie, Kristin|
It is TRULY hard to explain my emotions in this moment. But now I have to because I told David I would blog about this. So let me put it this way. If your birthday was on the 4th of July and the 4th of July was moved to December 25th and Christmas was now also New Year's Eve, well that would be stupid. They all have specific dates. Why are you even trying to imagine that? Dumbasses.
So now that I'm standing in a literal box with my 3 best friends on the planet about to see my favorite band in the world, what am I supposed to do? Oh that's right. Cry. But I can't. I just can't. I'm watching Sean hug Amie and Barb hug Sean and they are all hugging me. I want to cry but I can't. And then I remember my mom. My mom died almost two years ago and when I was growing up in that incredibly hard house my mom would always say, after things quited down after dad-rage, "it's okay to be happy."
So that's what I did. I got happy. Super happy, happy overdrive, fuck you happy. I didn't look back. I laughed and sang and danced. We found out where Mario was sitting and we abducted him and brought him to our box. Now we have 5 deliriously happy people in our box. And NO ONE is telling us we can't. NO ONE is telling us we can't laugh. NO ONE is telling us we can't hug. NO ONE is telling us anything. WE ARE HAVING FUN. WE ARE BEING HAPPY. FUCK EVERYBODY ELSE. IT'S JUST US.
If you want to know what happened during the show, consult YouTube. All I can tell you is when EVERY SINGLE song came on there was a vibrant reaction. Amazing. Good. Bad. To all of you that are going to hate this review, I'm going to say only this. I've been a fan of this band since I was 10 years old. Obviously not as crazy as I am now 35 years later but I think I still wanted to be a fan. The first album I couldn't wait to come out was CTA. I was 11. I didn't understand wholly why I was so excited but my cousin who was 13 was telling me why I should be excited. When I was 12 I couldn't wait for SGR to come out. Finally on my own. Why? Because I started to finally get it. Also, I started feeling different. And then waiting for BC to come out was a lifetime. Because now, I was living for myself, finally. dM was no longer a band I liked because they sounded cool. They were now a band I loved because I needed them.
This band was talking to me. Screaming to me. It's okay to be different. It wouldn't be until MFTM before I would realize why I felt different. Not because of the record, just because of life. It's just interesting to me how I time things in my life by dM records.
We ended that night at the Night 4 after party. We danced like friends. We danced like Fools.
|The Night 4 afterpart crowd: Sean, Kristin, Andrea, Sara, Mario (above Sara and Andrea), Kelly, Barbar, Jamie and Attosa|
Day 5: I was up early. Never really went to bed to be honest. Just sat up thinking this could be it. That was maybe my last dM show ever. This could be the last time I'm in Barb HQ. Last time I see Mario. Last time I see Kristin. Last time I see Sean. I know that sounds fatalist but seriously, you just don't know. Especially with our distant friends.
Sean woke first, so he & I walked to a local eatery. Talked about life. We've been such good friends for so long so much doesn't even need to be said. It's one of the reasons I love him entirely. He doesn't fucking talk so much. When we see something and look at each other, fuck, you don't even have to look at each other.We just smile or laugh. You all have these relationships. That certain person where no words need to be spoken. You all know what I mean. I'm just happy mine is Sean.
So we head back to Barb HQ and everyone is getting up. (Full disclosure: I had to text Kristin just now to remember exit order. I fell a few years back and hit my head, It was the day dM played RAH. I had blood on my brain for a couple weeks, was in ICU for a few days. Sometimes I can't remember the simplest things. Please don't use that to your advantage, I have friends that will out your lies. haha). Kristin says she is staying at Barb HQ to shower, finish packing and relax before Lyfting it to Burbank.
I'm in the bedroom silently packing my things as is Sean. Barb is silently moving in and out of our room and hers. It's an unspoken upstairs tornado of getting ready to go be sad again. One by one we slowly gather downstairs, trading in coffee cups for water glasses. My heart is in the pit of my stomach while my soul is trying to turn back time. My brain however catches Mario standing at the front door. I do remember wanting to tell him to sit back down on the couch, to talk, one last conversation. But he says it. Like thunder silencing the roar of a million cars on the 101. It's time to go. You wanna know how hard it is to hold back these tears? It's impossible. Iv'e had more than enough practice. I've been practicing this since 2001. It doesn't get easier. It gets fucking worse. I hug Mario. My fucking friend. I try not to let go. We finish, I look down. He says something really positive because that's what Mario does. He's the nicest fucking guy. Door opens, he walks out. Next up is Sean. Hug. See ya later buddy. For sure.
Kristin says we will all see each other. As a defense mechanism I think, I recall the first time I said goodbye to Sean after I had come to visit him in February 2002. I couldn't even speak then because I was so upset to leave him and NYC. I'm pretty sure I do this in times of despair to make what Im going through less hurtful. But believe you fucking me, saying goodbye to this mother fucker is next to impossible. I have tears in my eyes typing this. This is my best fucking friend. He used to be my best dM friend, but the dM prefix fell away years ago.
Mario & Sean are gone.
Barb now says, let's go babe. We both hug Kristin. Wow. That was really hard. Kristin and I went from knowing each other online for years to actually meeting and hanging out for 11 days straight. She is TRULY an amazing human being. If you ever get a chance to hang out with Kristin, DO IT, I've met so many people on line who are AMAZING and then when you meet them and they are just the worst. Kristin Vogel-Campbell is not one of these people. Meet her. Cherish her. In your time of need she will take care of you. So, please. You do the same for her.
So now it's just me and Barb. That one mile drive to the Universal City Metro Stop. It wasn't long enough but it was way too long. I know you all know what I mean. When you are about to leave that person you want to hang out with more yet you want to get it over with because you have to leave each other so you can start mourning. I'm sitting in the car tearing up. No words are being said. We get there and I get out. And Barb meets me at the hatch and pulls my bag out. We HUG... Barb says "Thank you for making me remember what it is to be a dM fan." We HUG. AGAIN. HARD. She lets go and walks around to get in her car and I burst into tears. I wave. She waves. She drives away.
As I walked down the levels of the Metro Station openly crying I think, "No, Barb. Thank you for making me remember what it is to be a dM fan"
I took the Metro to Union Station. Caught the train to San Diego and thought about many things. The band. My best friends. My friends. People who I thought were my friends, but aren't. My mom. But most importantly I thought about what I was going back to. My awesome husband Michael & my two pups, Boga & Nuka.
And now, even though I'm at home with the love of my life. No joke. Michael is my fucking dream. I'm still in the worst depression. It is so real, this post depression. Every tour it takes longer to get out of it. Especially now when so many of my dM friends are friends. I have tricks I do to keep my mind off what I've just experienced. I know how to lessen the pain but nothing really helps. I hate it.
I will cry for weeks.
I will be lost for months.
I will be destroyed for years.
I will be sad forever.