I’m going to be on this Alan Wilder high for a little while longer. I’m sorry if my blogs posts have become so Depeche Mode/Alan Wilder centric, but I guess I have to confess about how the fandom started in order for anyone to understand why this weekend was so important to me.
I remember when I first heard Depeche Mode. I was in CCD class when I first heard about the station 91X back in 1983. Someone had told me about this station because of my taste in music, so I started listening to it. The first song I ever heard by Depeche Mode was “Everything Counts” and I thought it was a great song. I saw the video and I really enjoyed their music. When “People are People” came out the following year, I started to pay attention more and more. I found out that they were an all synth band, and as a classically trained pianist, it was a band I could relate to because they played the same instrument that I did. A whole band, all on keyboards? Could it be true?
The fandom really didn’t kick in until the next album “Some Great Reward”. It’s ironic that I had heard about 91X and Depeche Mode in CCD class because I really was trying to figure out what role religion was supposed to play in my life. At the tender age of 13 going on 14, I had started to struggle with my relationship with God and Catholicism. Then I heard “Blasphemous Rumours” and for whatever reason it spoke to me. It let me know that I wasn’t the only one wondering about what it all meant. There in lyrical and musical form was my struggle. From then on, I had found my band.
Luckily the following year, Depeche Mode toured to support “Some Great Reward”. By some miracle, my friend Eileen and I were able to snag these incredibly hard to come by tickets. They only opened up about a third of the San Diego Sports Arena because they were unsure of how well the tickets would sell. We already purchased our tickets when they opened up a few hundred more seats, then those sold out almost instantly. I didn’t realize then that this was the first time Depeche Mode had ever played in San Diego (April 1, 1985). I still have the ticket stub that says the tickets were a mere $13.75. My how times have changed!
I went on to see Depeche Mode eight more times, only missing “Tour of the Universe” last year because it was cancelled here in San Diego. The only other member I had seen solo prior to seeing Alan Wilder this weekend was Dave Gahan for his “Paper Monsters” tour. My biggest regret was missing the 1988 Rose Bowl concert that turned into the “101” movie. I did see a show for the “Music For the Masses” tour, but the Rose Bowl concert was the one that almost any fan who was in the Southern California area was in attendance, except for me (it seemed at the time).
Through it all, my favorite member had always been Alan Charles Wilder. The oldest of the group, he is the only classically trained musician, so I related instantly with him. I taught myself how to play “Somebody” on piano, among a number of other Depeche Mode songs. I bought myself a drum machine and a Korg keyboard to write songs. Much like people followed the Beatles, I followed Depeche Mode. And much like people liked Paul McCartney or John Lennon, I liked Alan Wilder. I had followed his career from all the way through Depeche Mode, and now to Recoil.
As you can see, this weekend was very important to me because it marked such a milestone in my fandom. I had never tried too hard to try to meet Alan or any member of Depeche Mode because it was always an elusive idea. When the opportunity presented itself the way it had this past weekend, it felt like fate. This weekend was meant to happen, exactly the way it was supposed to, and it did not disappoint.
So please pardon the interruption while I let this weekend’s experience sink in.
Photos 1, 2, and 3 are courtesy of the official Recoil Facebook page