The final Global Spirit Tour Project review of 2017 is a special one. As you'll have noticed, this project has been supported hugely by the superb Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group page as they've allowed me to plunder their remarkable archive whenever I need pictures to use in these reviews. When Group creator Andy McMinn asked me if he could write a review of the band's show in his hometown Manchester, I was delighted as I knew Andy had a good tale or two to tell about the night he had. As you'll see, it was quite a night for Andy and, like me, you'll no doubt be more than jealous when you read about his post gig adventures. Thanks very much for this Andy and for the pictures too. All pics are Andy's unless credited otherwise - in other words, and somewhat shamlessly, I've nabbed a couple from the Facebook group too.
|Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group|
Hello everyone, my name is Andy McMinn from Stretford in Manchester. I've followed Depeche Mode ever since I first saw them on Top Of The Pops in 1981 performing Just Can't Get Enough and New Life. I watched them every time they appeared on Top Of The Pops, although in 1986 when they released the video for A Question Of Time things changed. I liked a few other bands at the time but this song and video really took hold of me and blew me away. From then on it was a done deal this was going to be the band I follow for the rest of my life. 36 years on and Depeche are still at it and going just as strong as ever .
I am also known for creating and running with some other great people a Facebook Group called Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos which has fully and completely documented Depeche Mode's entire history, with over 3200 photo albums of anything Depeche Mode have ever done. we have categorised and dated any photograph that is on the internet publicly. Without sounding arrogant or big headed, you will not find anything else about Depeche Mode like this, so it's well worth joining. We are always looking for new photos to add to our archive of many unseen photos that only appear in this group. There are over 150,000 photos and much more - to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/depechemodeclassicfansphotosandvideos/
The reason I'm writing this today for the excellent Almost Predictable Blog page is to give you my experience of the November 17th 2017 Manchester concert at the Manchester Arena ,my home town gig, and the events of the past few months which meant this gig would be so special to me.
On June 3rd 2017, Depeche Mode were due to perform their biggest UK concert at the Olympic Stadium in London, a concert I hadn't really planned on attending as I was holding out for more UK gigs. Specifically, I was waiting for an announcement they would do a gig in Manchester. No news was filtering through and I was getting a bit concerned that they would not play anywhere else in the UK !!!
My mind was changed about going to the London gig when the events on May 22nd 2017 took place at the Manchester Arena. A terrorist decided to kill 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, an incident which was right on my doorstep. It sent shockwaves through our city and united many people through that difficult period of time. I did go to the London gig in the end, mainly due to what happened in Manchester 12 days previously. It was my first visit to the capital for 18 years and a kind of personal protest that this kind of incident will not stop us carrying on our daily lives normally. As we all know, the same night as the Depeche Mode gig in London there was another terrorist attack on London Bridge as we were all travelling back from gig, all too close to home again !!
The following Monday after the London concert, more UK dates got announced and I was very happy to see that Manchester had been now included in the Global Spirit Tour. I bought my ticket as soon as they went on sale.
November 17th 2017....The day had finally come !!! I decided to go out very early around 11am just to make whole day out of it. I got to the Manchester Arena around 11.30am as its only a short trip by tram for me. I wanted to just see what went on around the venue such as Tour Crew working, see if I could see any well known people who work closely with Depeche, but the security was that tight all I could literally do was walk around the outside of the venue. The only accessible place was the ticket office which is deep inside the Arena one way in one way out. There was around 20-30 fans waiting there so I presume they were waiting for early entry. I took a few photos of the venue and then decided it was time to start my Facebook Groups photo album for this gig. As I mentioned earlier, we document every concert Depeche do as it happens.
With not much happening at the venue, I decided to see if I could find which hotel the band was staying at. I wouldn't normally do something like this but as I had a lot of time on my hands it made sense to kill some time. I visited the four most likely hotel venues but had no success in getting a glimpse of the band, so I made my to a bar I know well on Deansgate for a few beers. As I sat down with my beer, my mate Linda Meijer from the Netherlands who helps me run our Facebook Group messaged me a photo of Peter Gordeno from Instagram at the Lowry Hotel Manchester. I had literally just walked from there, must have missed the band by minutes !!! Great shame but not the end of the world as I was on the guest list for tonight's gig and I would be mingling backstage with them all later that night.
The Crown & Anchor Pub is a well know meet up point when DM play Manchester so that is where everyone decided to congregate. This would mean I would be meeting a lot of people who I had never personally met before but have known via social media for a number of years. These would include: Claire Peet, Yvette Trubuil, the wonderful Deb Danahay Mann and Martin Mann, David McElroy, Mark Wilson, Peter Harper, Caroline Rose, and Glyn Tookey. There were also people who I know personally already: Rachel Blackman, Michael Lyons, Michael Rose, Nicki Jones, Andrew Pollard, Julien Roge, John Corner and of course my wife Lisa. If I've missed anyone I'm sorry - everyone was having a laugh and just enjoying themselves, drinking beer and talking Depeche and getting selfie photos. In fact, the entire pub was packed with DM fans and the music in the background was of course DM .
My good friend Michael Lyons had to leave the pub around 7pm so he could go and pick up our tickets and confirm his guestlist so he could be issued with all our wristbands. I already had 2 standing tickets so I swapped my standing for seated tickets with him, our new tickets complimentary priced £0.00 and issued with a RED Wristband - “This means something” (From 101). We were on the Backstage guestlist after the show. It didn't seem real but it was actually happening!
It took a while to get into the Arena due to all the security checks but this is becoming the norm for any event these days and once again we were running into people we knew from our Facebook group and even seeing some personal friends in the concourse inside the Arena. A couple more beers were had and then it was decided myself and my wife would head off to check out our seats. When we got to them, we got a very nice surprise as we were just to the left of stage virtually side on. The closeness to the stage was amazing and it really set up the night there and then.
As I sat down I had 2 pints of beer in my hand. I sat down too quickly and my beer splashed all over the shoulders of this French couple in front of me. They weren't impressed at all but I made my apologies and they did see the funny side eventually after a bit of Manc humour was thrown in .
As the concert is due to start, you can feel the Arena atmosphere building up. As soon as the lights all go out, there is a football match type roar, meaning it's all about to kick off. As we know, it starts with The Beatles' Revolution and then the Intro. The band appears and go straight into Going Backwards and Dave Gahan appears at the elevated section of the stage. After the first song Dave Gahan shouts “Good Evening Manchester !!!” . The sound of an indoor arena more suits this tour than outside arena as Going Backwards sounded so much more powerful than it did London .
For the next 3 songs It's No Good, Barrel Of A Gun and A Pain That I'm Used To there were problems onstage with the background screening. There was nothing but stage lights and it all seemed very dark, but to me it made everyone concentrate more on the band playing rather than watching the screens. I'm not sure if this was purposely done, but it certainly seemed to me there was a lot of problems, but the band just played on regardless .
The background screens eventually came on during Useless a new Anton Corbijn video which was similar to the Halo video used during the Delta Machine Tour. Once again during World In My Eyes the screens failed but the music was all that mattered as Depeche Mode were delivering a fantastic show to us all. WIME has become a massive favourite for a lot fans during this tour and the new intros to a few of the songs designed by Kerry Hopwood (Live Programmer) have given some old songs a new lease of life, especially Everything Counts and Wrong although that song is sadly not on the setlist anymore .
As mentioned previously, I have a Facebook Group and during a few concerts previous I had requests from fans that they wanted to use Facebook “GO LIVE” so anyone in the group can see the concert as it happens. It always goes down very well so I felt it was my duty to pay a little back and “GO LIVE” myself. After a few issues getting connected, I managed to get online at the start of Cover Me, another crowd favourite. I managed to capture the atmosphere and sound perfectly with the footage filmed, at one point we had 200 people from around the world watching the gig via the internet. It'samazing what can be done via technology these days. I stayed online for 17 minutes during Cover Me, Insight and Home and you can watch the video via this link:
We're into the final 3rd of the setlist and the place is bouncing by now. The well known songs are set to finish off the show, particular favourites are Everything Counts and Stripped. EC is another Kerry Hopwood revamp, with the new pulsating bassline that virtually carries on right through the whole song and really gets everyone dancing. Never Let Me Down Again never fails to impress and during the hand waving part I always take a step back from waving my arms to actually take a look and watch everyone else doing it. It's an amazing sight and I advise anyone who is seeing any further shows to do this and take it all in. Of course Personal Jesus finishes off the show with its usual intensity .
The show is over and everyone is just coming down from what is yet another unbelievable performance. I remember I need to check my phone as I will be receiving a text from Mr Lyons about where to meet up to go backstage. The message came - we were to meet at Section 113 Row A which was the other side of the Arena. Upon getting there, there were about 20 of us with RED wristbands and others had YELLOW? Yellow meant nothing, RED meant something (101 again). After a few minutes of waiting around, Michael Oertel from, band security appears and shouts to us all, “RED wristbands first and you are not to use any cameras whilst backstage.” We all then proceeded through the tunnels of the Manchester Arena. It really is a vast arena. We arrive at this decent sized room where there is food on a table (mainly fruit and fish) and a decent sized fridge full of beer (now we are talking). After a few minutes Martin Gore appears through a little side door and starts saying hello to everyone. He passed me and my wife and he looked at me. I just nodded my head in acknowledgement and raised my hand in a little wave. I'm not one to bother famous people really but all that was going through my head was “Thats Martin F****** Gore!” He stood literally 1 metre away from me - he is so small. Shortly after Martin arrived, Eigner shows up and then Gordeno. Everyone is chatting away nicely. Fletch showed up but not for long, it was Gore, Eigner and Gordeno who stayed the longest. Kerry Hopwood and Jezz Webb showed up as well and to my surprise a woman I recognised was sat down on a sofa - Jo Gahan, Dave Gahan's ex wife !!!! After asking a few people who know the band very well, I was told she is still very much a fan of Depeche Mode which I think is really nice .
The fridge full of beer had run out but I had been told by good sources that there is always a hidden secret stash of beer backstage. This proved to be correct as I asked the nearest person to me where it was. That person was Peter Gordeno. He politely just said “Go round that corner to the left,” so off I went to get me and wife another drink only to find the fridge is blocked by Martin Gore and three 3 people he was talking to. I asked politely could I just get in the fridge and Martin said “Sorry am I in your way”. I said no you are not and said thanks for a great show tonight. He just nodded with a smile.
One funny incident that took place backstage was when these 5 lads placed all their coats and beer bottles onto the famous Depeche Mode football table. No-one had played on it all night and security Michael Oertel and David Sauter gave them a little telling off. One lad took offence to this and that caused them to be asked to leave the room - no-one should use the famous table football as a beer mat. It's part of DM history !!!
Martin's security guard Mr Oertel came back around 12.45am to get Martin back to the hotel and when he tried to do this Martin didn't want to go! I will not say he was pushed out or forcibly removed, but his security had to get him out. He seemed like he was having a great time and was a bit disappointed at having to leave it seemed.
|Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group|
It was around 1.00am when my wife and I decided to go home, we were virtually the last ones out. On leaving, Peter Gordeno passed us and I stopped him and just thanked for tonight's show to which he responded “Glad you enjoyed it.” We asked security to show us the way out and we were lead back through all these tunnels again. This was all bit different when I met the band back in 1998 at the same venue at the pre show meet and greet. Tonight I spent a good 4 hours at a concert and backstage in the presence of my favourite band and saw a great show.
There is probably more I could tell or write but this was an experience I will never forget and the only
disappointment for me is that So Much Love has been dropped from the setlist. Just to finally mention again my Facebook Group fully documents every gig Depeche Mode have ever done , you will find 460 photos and many videos of the Manchester gig if you join, and also many other surprises
A big thank you to David for letting me tell my version of events.