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What I did last summer (Martin Gore – twice! and Fat Bob)

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Last summer, everyone who was involved in writing this blog post met up in Chicago to see (worship at) a Depeche Mode show. The three of us (me, H and K) have all been internet pals for a long time but we’d never all been in the same city at the same time, and we are all huge Depeche fans. We had lots of adventures in Chicago, but the main event was seeing Depeche Mode, and Martin Gore, our favorite.

I’m an extremely anxious person and so I wanted to leave really early on the day of the show. The venue wasn’t that far away, but I get nervous. I was literally shitting bricks so finally H agreed to head towards the show. It turned out there was horrendous traffic getting into the venue, so we barely made it in time. All three of us had panic attacks in the car by that time.

I have to say that the venue we went to was one of the most poorly planned venues I have ever seen in my life. We ended up parking in VIP and not paying for it (shhhhh it’s our secret),and running to our seats just before Depeche Mode hit the stage.

Finally, we were in our seats and ready to go. All of us had our anxiety amped up to maximum levels and so it was inevitable that we all had emotional breakdowns during the concert. Martin Gore, sensitive and elfin as ever, stepped into the spotlight in his silver suit to croon Shake the Disease, and our collective knees buckled. We all held each other up while we sobbed our hearts out. I am not kidding. We were crying like babies. When people say, “I cried like a baby,” they may not mean it, but I totally mean it.

For the rest of the night, we each took turns bawling our eyes out over Depeche Mode, especially when Martin was singing. They had two set lists on that tour, and I was praying he’d sing But Not Tonight, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, the show was incredible and we all agreed it was better than we had hoped for. There was a magic in the air that could never be recaptured. Thanks, anxiety!

Tickets for Austin City Limits (ACL) were going on sale a few weeks later. Depeche Mode and The Cure were both playing, so I knew I had to go, no matter what, and my friend H was coming with me. Martin Gore and Fat Bob (Robert Smith) are two icons from my holy trinity of goth (Morrissey is the third, if you were curious), so It was going to be insanely great.

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ACL had it set up so that Depeche Mode played on Friday night, and The Cure played on Saturday night. This was basically a dream come true for me. I could not believe I was going to see two of my favorite bands in one weekend, with one of my best friends!

My friend didn’t want to spend all day at ACL, and I agreed, because it was hot as balls and also because there are so many other fun things to do in Austin. We went to Book People, and gasped loudly when we spotted an entire magazine dedicated to Depeche Mode. Yes, I bought it and we squealed over it like teenagers. Whatever, don’t judge me!

We went to ACL that evening, and  I parked at my office, which was two miles away, and those two miles seem pretty far in the hot weather. We were already wilting.

We hardly got to see any bands besides the headliners, because we had to get a decent spot in the crowd. We went on the second weekend of the festival. The first weekend had temperatures in the 70’s, absolutely perfect weather. The second weekend predicted rainstorms, so we had rain ponchos.

Depeche Mode’s show is so fun when you’re in a big, excited, festival crowd. I love hearing everyone singing along to every song. I didn’t cry as much this time, probably because I wasn’t as anxious as I had been in Chicago, but when Martin sang But Not Tonight, I lost it. I think it was raining by then too, so when he sang, “Oh God, it’s raining, but I’m not complaining,” every cell in my body exploded with joy. I tried to sing along but I couldn’t, because I was crying too much. I wasn’t sobbing, just quietly letting tears run down my face while I mouthed the words. When the song ended, I was kind of embarrassed, until a man standing nearby gently patted me on the shoulder and told me that was a beautiful moment. I choked up just writing about that moment.

H and I had a great time laughing at Dave’s crazy dancing. He grabbed his dick a lot, as usual. I remember shouting, “Look at that chicken leg!” during one particularly lecherous grope. Dave, never change.

When the concert was over, we walked the two miles to the car in the rain. We had our ponchos on, but honestly, they don’t help much. You still get wet and then also feel clammy. By the time we got to the car, we were exhausted and hungry. We stopped at Kerbey Lane for some late night grub and I felt (and looked) like I had been run over by a truck. That was only day one!

The next day, we woke up and still felt terrible so we planned to go even later than we did the day before. We ended up seeing the Arctic Monkeys, but had to leave early to get a good place to see the Cure.

We were really excited to worship at the altar of Fat Bob (affectionately nicknamed by Siouxsie, so we aren’t body shaming, okay?). I’ve been listening to the Cure since Let’s Go to Bed. I remember scoffing at the people who discovered the band when The Head on the Door came out. I’m still a terrible music snob, sorry. (not sorry)

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I knew it was supposed to rain again that night, and as promised, the deluge began about halfway through the show. I didn’t have a rain poncho and I forgot my umbrella, so we huddled under H’s umbrella. Seeing The Cure play One Hundred Years in a heavy rainstorm through a sea of umbrellas was probably the ultimate experience I could have as a Cure fan. I will never ever forget that.

I’d seen The Cure play at Coachella in 2010, so I knew they were notorious for breaking curfews and playing for hours and hours. They played on, covering their equipment with tarps, makeup smearing in the rain. Sadly, due to the storm, they were cut off. You could tell that Robert did not want to leave the stage, as he reluctantly shrugged and waved goodbye.

We trudged out of Zilker Park, and got lost trying to get to the car. I think we walked an extra mile out of the way. I was soaked to the bone. When we got home, we bundled up and I had the chills. The next day, I was miserable, the park was flooded, and ACL was canceled due to the fact that we had over a foot of rain.

The only band we really wanted to see on Sunday was Franz Ferdinand. They were playing a secret show at a club downtown. I felt so awful that we didn’t get in line early enough. I knew we weren’t going to get in, but after three hours, we ended up sneaking in only to be escorted out seconds later. We saw the band walk into the club, and I touched Bob on the arm as he went by. Oh, the humanity!

To salve our disappointment, we went to dinner and got some Amy’s Ice Cream. I felt terrible because I’d been a whiny bitch all the time we were in line. I seriously felt so sick, though.

After I dropped H off at the airport the next day, I went home and passed out. I ended up calling in sick the whole week, because I had a bad upper respiratory infection. They thought maybe it was pneumonia or pertussis, but I dodged those bullets, thank goodness.

I’m not sure I will ever go to ACL again. I could just livestream it all on the web, and see more bands than we saw. If it wasn’t for Depeche Mode and The Cure, I would have never gone in the first place. I guess I’ll go back to ACL for a Smiths reunion…haha! As if…

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Konichiwa, bitches!

Last night I went to see Robyn perform at the new Austin City Limits venue, the Moody Theater.

Here’s a clip of one of her songs, in case you don’t know who the hell I am talking about:

For some reason, Robyn is not well known in America at all. If you are wondering what she sounds like, I guess you could call her the Swedish Lady Gaga, minus the performance art. Robyn’s songs are pure dancepop, fun, and a little bit naughty. She’s just naughty and cutting edge enough to be adored by the hipster set. Believe me, the place was crawling with hipsters in their little pashmina scarves, funny haircuts and toting their iPhones.

I’d also like to discuss the venue, since it is  brand-spankin’ new, and will be the new home of the TV show Austin City Limits.  Not every concert performed there will be filmed for the show.  A lot of people in the audience thought that Robyn’s set was going to be on TV, but it won’t be.  (Sadly) 

Anyway, from the outside, the building just looks like a big, boring block of painted concrete, right next door to the W Hotel.  Once you walk up the stairs to the entrance and go inside, it is fabulous.  There is a lounge area at the entrance which is on a balcony, and it has a nice view of downtown (and probably the lake, in the daytime).  There are plenty of restrooms and bars, so there is never a long wait. 

I was seated in the balcony, so I had to climb several flights of stairs.  There is another lounge area, with couches, chairs and tables, and more bars at the balcony level.  It’s really comfortable and roomy. 

Even though I was seated in the balcony, I still had a great view.  Apparently, the worst seat in the house is only 75 feet from the stage.  You can still see the performer’s face and you don’t feel like you’re watching from a blimp.  The place seats about 2500 people so it isn’t too huge, it still has an intimate feel to it.

Of course, the real test came once Robyn hit the stage.  From the minute she appeared until the end of the show a couple of hours later, she was a ball of energy.  Constantly moving, dancing, and making sure everyone had a great time.  I was really impressed by her.  I also loved that her band were all dressed like mad scientists. 

Once the show started, I was up on my feet dancing.  What else would you do at a Robyn show?  The lady a few rows behind me had another idea.  She thought it would be really fun to bellow at people to sit down for the first half hour of the show.  She sounded like a constipated cow.  Finally, I turned around and suggested that she stand up.  Right after I said that, Robyn played Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do, which seemed very appropriate to my situation. 

Pretty soon everyone was up and dancing, even the boys sitting next to me who gave off too-cool-for-the-room vibes when they arrived.  By the end of the show, they were dancing, singing along, and basically losing their shit.  Such is the power of Robyn.

The weirdest thing that happened was that Robyn ate two bananas on stage while she was performing.  I was wondering if maybe she is hypogylcemic, or maybe she just thought it would be funny.  The second time she did it, she threw the peel out into the crowd. 

It was so much fun to be in a room full of people who really loved the music, who were singing and dancing, and having a good time.  Usually in Austin, I have found the audience to be more aloof because…yeah, hipsters…I will stop using that word in this post now.

Here is the set list.  I got this off of a Google search but it seems right to me.  I was too busy enjoying the show to write down the songs.  Sorry if that makes me a bad blogger!

1.”Time Machine”
2.”Fembot”
3.”Cobrastyle”
4.”Call Your Girlfriend”
5.”Get Myself Together”
6.”Dancehall Queen”
7.”Dancing on My Own”
8.Medley: “We Dance to the Beat” / “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do”
9.”Love Kills”
10.”Indestructible
11.”Stars 4-Ever”
12.”With Every Heartbeat”
Encore 1:
13.”You Should Know Better”
14.”Konichiwa Bitches”
15.”Be Mine!”

Encore 2:
16.”Hang With Me”
17.”Dancing Queen/Show Me Love”