The O2, the IT guys and a band.

>>  Thursday, May 30, 2013

I saw Depeche Mode live sometime around 1982 at the DeMontfort Hall in Leicester quickly followed by Duran Duran at the Birmingham NEC.  I recall being shocked at how bad Duran Duran were musically and blamed the size of the arena.  So I went to see Depeche Mode at the NEC around 1986 to prove it to myself.  I was wrong, Depeche Mode were again awesome musically and Simon LeBon (Duran Duran) indeed could not sing.

On Wednesday I went down to London after work to see Depeche Mode at the O2. Well, after seeing them twice already they might have thought they had offended me if I didn't make the effort.  And what an effort it was, getting there.  England were playing Ireland at Wembley and the whole damned country north of Watford Gap were travelling on the M1, generally piling into the backs of each other and then having the audacity to park where I wanted to park.

But, hey-ho, we made it, missing the support act and paying £6.10 for a hotdog because it was eat on the hop or miss the start, how the heck did they work out they needed to charge an extra 10p?!

I've never been to the O2 before so I was quite excited amongst the travel stress. Actually the guy at the tube car park told me I looked stressed, as had someone at work earlier in the day, clearly I need to smile more.

This is quite wrong, I guess it is something to do with O2 bubbles but it looks like an unfinished piece of artwork or one that is falling apart and it fills the space badly. In fact for a modern building designed for the sole purpose of holding huge numbers of people I was amazed at how badly designed it all is. Pinch points in walk ways, bad toilet layouts for getting big numbers through, lack of 'on the hop' buy water or grab a snack stations.  I bet some idiot got a design award for the blighter as well.  Still, onwards and upwards.

Upwards I was, not even half way up and it felt jolly high.  I was really pleased with the seats though, I could see them properly without needing to watch the screens.  I would sit there again, if maybe just a bit lower.

I was amazed at how much older they looked.  After all, I haven't changed a jot in the 27 years since we last met.  But they were still absolutely fantastic.  Not the best stage or light show, in fact it looked exactly the same design as the last time I saw them.  But they do what a band should do, they play the music and well.

 This was the reason I liked the seat as much as I did, I spent so much time just watching these guys manage the whole set from a bank of PCs, laptops and routers.  It's not the sound desk, that was still in the centre of the arena, but they were controlling the sound on the microphones as I was watching Dave Gahan motioning to them to alter it as he sang.  Which does leave me wondering how much of a band's sound live is down to their ability and how much is the ability of the IT guys.  I give the credit to IT, but then I would!
After the concert I joined a couple of thousand others for a queue for the one door to get into the tube.  There is no decent signage or instruction, just TFL staff trying to yell instructions at post concert deaf crowds.  Totally useless. It didn't take too long though.  The usual confusion reigned with trains on both sides of a platform going the same way, so 500 people got on the tube leaving in 2 mins...

...and friend I I got on this one, it left first and went all the way to Stanmore so I was happy. But it left me a little annoyed knowing that there were people queueing upstairs because of the lack of clarity down below. Yes, the sign said 'train ready' 'Stanmore' but it obviously wasn't clear enough.

I started to film Depeche Mode as they played one of the great oldies but if you bother to watch it you'll see it just stops.  I decided to put the camera down and actually enjoy the moment.  I have no photos or film from 1982 but can remember it like it was yesterday.  Martin Gore singing straight to me, or so it seemed, is something I will never forget and I think sometimes it is just the way it should be, life through living not through a lens.


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