Strange Hours: The Alan Wilder Experience

Sometimes one doesn’t have to plan for a spectacular event to happen. Sometimes it just happens because of synergy or karma. Sometimes it’s just pure luck, and sometimes it’s all about timing and opportunity.  Sometimes, it’s all of the above.

I had an unbeliveable day with my sister in meeting Alan Wilder and seeing his show “A Strange Hour” with Recoil and friends.  It started off with being the very first person in line at the M-Theory Music store signing (we got there and met up with my friend Rob and his friend, Todd at 2:30pm), winning the “dance-off” judged by Alan Wilder himself (music by DJ Edgartronic), then chatting with him briefly while getting many of my Depeche Mode and Recoil rarities signed.  The dance-off was quite funny because five people signed up, but I was the only who danced.  Alan remarked that I won not only because of the dancing, but because I was the only brave one to go up there and actually do it!

Winning the contest afforded me two tickets to the show, so I took my sister.  While still at the signing, Alan said that I need to be there because Anthology is such an intimate venue that he wanted to make sure I got up and danced to get the crowd going.  I said that since I won the contest that I had tickets, I would definitely be there.  After waiting for my sister, Rob and Todd and their signings, we exited M-Theory. 

Later that night, my sister and I went to the show at Anthology.  Because I won the contest, our seats were just five feet from the stage.  I’d never been to Anthology before, and it’s a very beautiful venue.  The night started with Conjure One, who did a pretty good set (this was my first time seeing them).  Then Alan Wilder himself came out to check out the crowd.  He scanned the front to see if there was any one he recognized, and pointed me out and said “I remember you from earlier!”  I got a couple of high-fives for the “shout out” from Alan, which just brought out the 16-year old in me all over again.  He then introduced Daniel Myer of Architect.  Alan encouraged people to please come down to the floor, as this set up was just too “sophisticated” and wanted to see people dance.  He also mentioned that the Architect set was cut short at the show the night before, so we would get the privilege of enjoying Daniel’s entire set (a little over 30 minutes long).  The Architect set mixed in some Depeche Mode samples which really got the crowd going.  It was a very strong proggy/industrial set, which I enjoyed. 

Of course, last but not least was Paul Kendall and Alan Wilder, who did a magnificent set from their new “Selected” album, which is a selection of classic Recoil songs that are remastered.  What surprised me the most about the set was just how much Depeche Mode was mixed in.  Songs that I remember the snippets of were “Never Let Me Down Again”, “Behind The Wheel”, “Walking in my Shoes” and the encore song that included “Personal Jesus”.  I guess I expected it to be strictly Recoil music, but one can never forget where Alan spent a big part of his musical career.

I felt that Alan was also so much more relaxed and grooved the entire concert, something I don’t recall seeing when he was with Depeche Mode (who I’ve seen at least eight times in concert since 1985).  Maybe it was the dynamics of the group at the time he was there, but Alan was in his element last night, enjoying every single moment of this musical journey he started well before he left Depeche Mode.  Additionally, Alan is just such a nice person.  He was so gracious judging the dance-off and so very sweet during the signing.  One always hopes for a great experience with someone they have admired and followed for so long, so the moment is even better when that person is as wonderful a person as Alan Wilder is.

All in all, it was a spectacular day.  I was so pleasantly surprised throughout the day by all the events that it made the day even better than I hoped it would be.  My inner-teenager was so thrilled to have had this opportunity to fulfill what seemed to be a lifelong dream.  I want to thank my sister, my friends Rob and Todd, M-Theory Music, Anthology, DJ Edgartronic and most of all, Alan Wilder for making this an experience I will not soon forget.