If you were wondering where your nearly middle aged, bald friend or brother or husband was last night, they were at the Depeche Mode concert at BB&T Center. That's right. The hockey arena was a hotspot for smooth-headed, black T-shirt wearing, mostly straight guys. They gathered there to emote and dance enthusiastically with their arms. Some were in bro pairs, others brought along less amped girlfriends, but all sang along with the band.
Now before all the world's bald dudes get pissed about being called out here (it's about the music!), we'd like to point out that their presence illuminated something. While an ignoramus might assume Depeche Mode is the stuff of women in not-totally-sexy pleather corsets and skinny gay dudes in 300-pound boots, the bald guys at the show proved otherwise. With their emotional yet masculine songs, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and the rest of the band drew a significantly male, and somewhat mainstream crowd, in Broward at least.
Maybe it was also partly because Gahan showed 15,000 fans that if you're tall, have good hair, and a nice physique, you don't ever have to learn to dance like a cool guy, and chicks and even straight dudes will dig the shit out of you anyway.
The night started though, on a feminine note. Bat for Lashes brought a set of beautiful songs and delightful Kate Bush-iness to the place. Now, a lot of people have beautiful voices, but they don't always do the right things with them. Natasha Khan isn't one of the misguided. She does all the right things with her pipes. All of them. In an impressive floor-length black and white striped gown, her haunting vocals likely induced a goosebump epidemic in the crowd.
And Gahan kept those hairs high when he literally twirled out onto the stage. The band welcomed us to their world with, well, "Welcome to My World." Gahan seriously had some of the most amazing, though not exactly smooth, dance moves we've witnessed in an arena setting. He used flamenco hands. He made the mic his very own stripper pole to the overwhelming delight of the whole audience during "Policy of Truth." He knocked off a few thrusts from Elvis, and even did a semi-Mick Jagger chicken dance. There was even some minor crotch grabbing too, a la MJ. But it seemed the butt wiggle was the night's winner. He was twerking like Miley, as in not technically twerking, but working his derriere somewhat.
After the first song, Gahan took his jacket off to reveal a vest, black in front and gold on the back. He went through several vests throughout the course of the night, all in different colors. Black was the only constant, of course. But by the time the band got to "Enjoy the Silence," toward the end of the show, he was simply vest-less. It just looked really hot up there, to be honest. Even in the seats it was a little sweaty. Perhaps it was the bum twitching?
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By about song three, "Walking in My Shoes," people were already getting into it and singing along as a unit. But it was probably the entrancing video of simply dogs sitting on a sidewalk -- one at a time, sitting, walking away, looking at the camera -- illustrating "Precious," and the frenzy induced by "Black Celebration," that ensured everyone was paying full attention. We were all committed to this night, and it had just begun.
Gore came out to sing a few slow songs with the sole help of a keyboard. "The Child Inside" and "But Not Tonight" got eyes damp and the whole place ooh-ooh-ing along. It was a relaxing, though still emotionally intense, interlude. The energy pretty soon after went from weepy to wild. By the time they got to "A Pain That I'm Used to," the room was making its way to its feet entirely. And, of course, "Enjoy the Silence" got all the mouths singing every word. On the giant screen behind the band, the image to this song was akin to the "Blurred Lines" video, but if the girls had been folded into a fish bowl. It displayed a few naked chicks in totally uncomfortable poses, barely moving. Strikingly different from the essentially boring MTV video that we were raised on, and a lot more icky.
"Personal Jesus" started out very, very slow, and built up. The band acted as experienced Casanovas, teasing the room. We were all instructed to call out "reach out and touch faith." And under their spell, we obliged. Then the room went dark. But only for a few minutes. Gore returned to the stage kicking off the five song encore. (Five freaking songs!) By the time Gahan brought us to "I Feel You," the ooh-ing of the audience filled the room again. He waved his arms side-to-side during the closer, "Never Let Me Down Again," and the whole entire place followed his lead.
The nicest part was, at the end, the five performers came together to bow as one. Clapping at the audience, hanging around onstage for that extra exchange of adoration. Gahan even hammed it up right at the end hopping from one side of the stage to the other for some final rowdiness. The crowd stumbled out of their seats reluctantly. They wanted more.
But, alas, the time was right for all the hairless men to return to their lives of black tees with one more DM shirt hanging from their shoulder.
Welcome to My World
Walking in My Shoes
Policy of Truth
Should Be Higher
Barrel of a Gun
The Child Inside
But Not Tonight
Soothe My Soul
A Pain That I'm Used To
A Question of Time
Enjoy the Silence
Just Can't Get Enough
I Feel You
Never Let Me Down Again
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