Depeche Mode in Fair Park: Reliving My First Concert with My Mom, 12 Long Years Later
On July 17, 2001 my mom took me to see Depeche Mode. I had just turned 12 years old, and it was my first concert. By the time we walked up First Avenue to what was then called the Smirnoff Music Center, my palms were already sweaty and my feet already hurt, because I had insisted on wearing a pair of black knee-high gogo boots from an old Halloween costume. Mama glided along next to me in a floor length black skirt and Victorian granny boots. The chains on her custom leather bondage belt jingled as she walked. She looked just like Siouxsie Sioux, and I remember hoping that one day I'd be at least half as cool as she was. I realize now that no one will ever be.
To celebrate her birthday this week, I took her back to that same place, now called Gexa Energy Pavilion, for that same band, to recreate one of the most formative experiences she has ever given me. The result was another night of live music that I will remember for the rest of my life.
We arrived this past Friday dressed down, as was most of the crowd. Our first time around was on the Exciter Tour, which brought out a younger crowd, many adorned in proper "Master and Servant" attire.
This time around we weren't the only ones looking for some nostalgia. We got inside, and Mama reeled over how much closer our seats were this time. We watched together as David Gahan twirled and spun across the stage. I leaned in to exclaimed to my mom, "God, he's so cool!"
You'd be be hard pressed to find another rockstar as ageless as Gahan. He looked exactly as I remembered him, svelte and fiery, still rocking a six pack under his black leather vest. His incredible voice is pristine, in spite years of struggling with drug addiction. Time has not been so easy on Mama and me. During Martin Gore's deeply moving rendition of "But Not Tonight," I reflected on the last decade of my life.
The stars in the sky
Bring tears to my eyes
They're lighting my way
And I haven't felt so alive
In the time that had passed since we last found ourselves here, my family has been through a lot. My coming of age process was a tumultuous one. My father died unexpectedly when I was a senior in High School, and in 2014 it will have been seven years since my last eating disorder relapse -- a benchmark most specialists use to define a full recovery from Anorexia Nervosa. It's an affliction I've lived with for the majority of my life.