While doing some work for FanimeCon tonight, I decided to watch One Night in Paris. It doesn’t always come on so strongly, but when I put it in I was suddenly brimming with joy and nostalgia. August 1, 2001* was my very first Depeche Mode concert. I’d only been to a club show or two by this point, so it was really my first big concert as well. I realize I date myself with this entry, probably making some of you feel old in the process. Just think about all the awesome tours I missed and how jealous I am, m’kay? 😉
On a hot August day, six teenagers and two parents crammed into a minivan for a two hour road trip to Sacramento. We were one too many, so one of my friends hid out on the floor of the van next to the middle seats. Me and all of my best friends, settled in ninth row center, were flabbergasted by how we could be so lucky. The stage was low and the band close. I’ll never forget the building chills I felt as Martin crossed the stage in the flesh, Fletch taking his place behind his keyboard, and finally Dave sauntering on to the cracking opening of “The Dead of Night.” This abstract concept that I’d been following for nearly three years was no longer just a song, a video, a history – they were flesh and blood.
“Halo” and “Walking in My Shoes” brought me to tears (though I tried so hard to stifle them) as my favorite songs solidified that it was real. When I looked at my friends, I could tell they were feeling the same, as we hugged squealing with our eyes welling up. I remember waving my poster roll around, as I was too afraid to put it on the ground, lest it be trampled. I was completely and utterly floored by “Black Celebration,” which I had never heard until this concert. Chills came again when I turned to see the amphitheater waving in unison to “Never Let Me Down Again,” just like I’d seen so many times in the videos. We were giddy the whole way home. Even though we got home in the wee hours of the morning, I was dog tired from dancing and merry-making, I couldn’t wait but get online to talk to my boyfriend about the most amazing experience I just had. I don’t even remember what time I finally made it to bed.
It was a night of unfettered, unrelenting joy during a much simpler time in all our lives. When I watch this film, I can reach back through time and relive the wonder and excitement of that night. I may not have delved into the entire back catalog by then, but Depeche Mode was my favorite band, I loved them more than I’d loved any band before. I find it amazing, talking with my friends, just how much that love continues to grow after every album and every tour. Little did I know then where I would be today, traveling half-way around the world to see Depeche and making so many wonderful friends, national borders be damned.
*This was a very strange day for coincidences. My mom was supposed to drive me, but she got into an accident the afternoon of the show. She was fine, but the car wasn’t fit to drive. After the concert, still inside the venue, my ex-boyfriend who’d moved up to the hills randomly found me in the crowd. I hadn’t seen him in at least a year (he also wasn’t a big DM fan when we were going out).