Thursday, 16 July 2020

Depeche Mode live in Barcelona November 2009

I had really wanted to see Depeche Mode live in 2009. But why? Well, as I've said many times, back in 2006 at Terra Vibe I didn't really see them. I've only listened to them. I couldn't see anything. And that was mainly because I had arrived late and it was one of the most crowded concerts that had taken place at Terra Vibe. From then on I had been very cautious with that venue, usually buying premium (VIP) tickets, to ensure that I could find some higher ground from where I could see the band. And that's exactly what I did in May 2009 when they were due to appear at Terra Vibe. I had bought a VIP ticket and that particular section corresponded to the VIP section I had observed back in 2006. And I went there fairly early. And then came the disappointment of the cancellation due to Dave's illness. Unfortunately (or should I say "as usual"?) the promoter did not attempt to reschedule the date at a later time during that particular tour. And I'm saying "as usual" because it was the same promoter who had not attempted to reschedule the 2006 Rolling Stones Athens concert which was cancelled due to Keith's falling from a coconut tree or something like that. But, as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. In 2007 I went to see The Rolling Stones in France and that was the start of my habit of going abroad for concerts, while in 2009, I went to see Depeche Mode in Barcelona and that was the concert that was being filmed for the "Tour Of The Universe" DVD.

The Barcelona dates were not announced with the other dates at the beginning of the tour. They were announced much later and I thought it was a good chance to make up for the cancelled gig so I took it. Plus, I would also get to see Barcelona, a city I had never been to before.
The first problem I had was with the flights. The concert was on a Saturday night and Aegean Airlines had a direct flight to Barcelona every day of the week except - yes, you've guessed it! - on a Saturday! So, I chose another - not easier, but cheaper - way. I took my regular Friday night 23:30 EasyJet flight to London Gatwick and from there I would take another EasyJet flight to Barcelona.
Another strange coincidence was that Pet Shop Boys were playing in Athens on Friday night. And to add insult to injury, the venue was near the airport! But even if Pet Shop Boys were to finish before 23:30, I still wouldn't have time to go through check-in. So I decided that I would see them (again) some other time. Nice decision, since that "other time" would be in the summer of 2013 in Athens on a gig that I have filed under the category of "Concerts that changed my life". (Once again, everything happens for a reason).
I arrived in Barcelona at sometime before noon and I didn't have as much time as I would have wanted to do much sightseeing because I also had to catch up on some sleep.

I went to the Sagrada Familia, I checked a couple of other buildings by Gaudi (from the outside only) and I visited the Olympic Stadium which was on the way to the venue (Palau Sant Jordi, another venue that had been used during the 1992 Olympics).

I wanted to check out the venue before the concert because a friend of mine from Scotland would be waiting there since early in the morning in order to be able to get to the front. We did meet (and it was he who informed me that the concert was being filmed for a DVD), we arranged where we would meet after the concert and I went back to the city to get something to eat before the concert. I wanted to try tapas of course. I had taken a year of Spanish lessons a long long time ago, but these didn't help me much since the guy at the Tapas Bar was only speaking Catalan and I was only speaking (a kind of) Spanish. However, with my Spanish and his Catalan we somehow managed to communicate and I got the tapas I wanted. I returned to the venue, in time for the concert, and decided as usual to have a pint of beer from the bar. It was the first time that I had seen a bar serving a 2-pint glass of beer! 

And yes, I went for it! And once inside, right on time, the concert started and I was enjoying the fact that I could actually really see the band (for the first time since 1985 and the "Rock In Athens" festival) while drinking my two pints of lager (and realizing, to my surprise that there were two Greeks sitting behind me).

I wasn't much keen on the "Sounds Of The Universe" album, but I was anxious to hear "Wrong" which was an excellent single (probably the last good Depeche Mode single in my opinion, while the last good Depeche Mode album was "Playing The Angel"). But there were lots of other favourites from the past although they didn't play the song I always expect to hear on a DM gig, "Just Can't Get Enough".

They had however, planned something special for the finale and the DVD and that was "Waiting For The Night" as a vocal duet between Dave and Martin which went horribly wrong when one of them forgot the lyrics! It still went on the DVD though.
When it was all over, I went to the place where I had arranged to meet my Scottish friend (and his Bulgarian friend who had also attended the concert, so I had quite a multinational company on that night), found them, and went back to the centre of the city on foot, going down the hill.
Halfway down, I realized that this was possibly the place where Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe had presented their Barcelona project back in 1987 or 1988. So that was another bit of sightseeing accidentally dealt with.

From the city centre I took the metro back to my hotel where I met several Catalan devotees who were asking me to photograph them while shouting not "Depeche" but "deep-etch-ay".

One final thing I noticed about Barcelona (even though it was a Saturday night) was how many people were out on the streets at night. Not inside bars or restaurants, but out on the streets. I have only seen that in two other cities: Athens and Istanbul.
The next morning I had to wake up early to get to the airport, there was no time for any further sightseeing. And I had to take that same route again: Barcelona to London and then London to Athens. When I arrived at the gate I realized that I would travel as far as London with my Scottish friend. It was good to have some company because that flight turned out to be the worst I have ever been on. We felt so relieved when it touched down on Gatwick. There was one more flight for me, from London to Athens but that went rather smoothly.
I would see Depeche Mode again in 2013 at Terra Vibe and there I had the chance to recreate what was supposed to happen at the cancelled concert. I got the same VIP ticket, in the same area, on higher ground with a proper view of the band. But that's another story. Meanwhile, I could boast that in 2009 I attended not one, but two concerts which were filmed for a DVD release. The other one, was, of course, Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park.

01. In Chains
02. Wrong
03. Hole To Feed
04. Walking In My Shoes
05. It's No Good
06. A Question Of Time
07. Precious
08. Fly On The Windscreen
09. Sister Of Night
10. Home
11. Come Back
12. Policy Of Truth
13. In Your Room
14. I Feel You
15. Enjoy The Silence
16. Never Let Me Down Again
17. Dressed In Black
18. Stripped
19. Behind The Wheel
20. Personal Jesus
21. Waiting For The Night

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