I first saw Depeche Mode WAY back in 1988 on the Music for the Masses tour. They were my favorite band at the time but if you asked me back then I would’ve given them a solid 7.5/10. Depeche Mode in 2023 is probably the best arena act in the world, at least in my opinion. Blown. The. Fuck. Away.
40+ years into their career they’re still the most underrated band I can think of.
A funny thing happened on my way to a midlife crisis. Rather than buying a sportscar that I couldn’t drive anyway (between you and me, I haven’t had a valid license since 1999), instead, I bought a turntable – and it has completely changed my life for the better.
Some background: I got my first turntable when I was 9 years old and was hooked. My first albums were a bunch of those shitty K-Tel “Solid Gold” type compilations, and Bee Gees Greatest – I’ll make no apologies for the latter, the Brothers Gibb are gods. Anyway, from age 9 to around sometime in my thirties, I ate, slept, drank, and injected music of all forms. If I wasn’t listening to it or collecting it, I was playing it. Music was pretty much all I thought about and served as a soundtrack to what I look back on as a damn interesting life, up until about a decade ago when I became a dad.
Now, I’m not about to blame fatherhood on my separation from music; no, I blame that on conforming to the everyday needs of a soulless job that has always promised an outlet for my creativity and then wildly underdelivered – for about 11 or 12 years now. In other words, I blame myself because I played it safe and kept the job, knowing full well it was destroying me with tedium and boredom in equal measure. I became abrasive, mean, and any number of other undesirable adjectives. I’ll own that. I won’t bore you (or me) with the details but suffice it to say that once music (and most other art) left my life, so did my spirit. I turned to other vices and pastimes to fill the void, but none of them did the trick.
Music is back in its proper place, front and center in my life.
Music is an activity – listening to vinyl is a physical act that removes the screens, requires me to get up and walk across the room and make a commitment to listening to something for at least a 22-minute stretch.
Music is prompting discussion between myself, my family, and my friends (online and off) that I haven’t experienced in ages.
As expected, they were nothing short of amazing. Still one of my favorite bands, live or recorded, after all these years.
Based on some quick research, it would appear that the other two times I saw Love and Rockets were:
December 11, 1987, at the Paramount Theater w/Jane’s Addiction
June 12, 1989, at the Seattle Center Arena w/The Godfathers
Pro-tip: If you can find it, get yourself a copy of “Lift,” their final album. It was released in 1998 and is still probably ahead of its time. It’s not available on Apple Music, Spotify, etc. for whatever reason, but Amazon usually has CDs of it for relatively cheap. It’s worth every penny.