There’s something amazing about piling in the car with a few of your friends, and driving across state lines to see one of your favorite bands. Roadtrips make me feel younger than I should, like I’m still in my twenties and my best friend called me to take a last-minute weekend trip, and all I need to do is load up a bag with some clothes and undies and pick up a pack of cigs at the gas station on the way out. I wish I would have had the chance to do that when I was younger. I’m glad I can do that now, though…and I’m glad I have great friends to go with.
Months back, I found out that Depeche Mode, one of my absolute favorite bands, were going on tour to promote their new album. I’m an ENORMOUS fan of theirs, and every other time they came to or close to NOLA, I haven’t had the chance to go. This time, I refused to miss out. My mom was even wonderful enough to use her remaining points to get me a room at the closest La Quinta – so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel, either! A few months later, I was at Katie’s for a pool party, and I was telling her and her cousin Mary about the concert. Mary offered to get tickets for the lawn so we could all go together! I was ecstatic – Katie is another DM fan, and going on a roadtrip with the both of them would definitely be fun.
We’d originally planned on going to Dallas and visiting one of Mary’s friends on Tuesday, but that fell through when Mary’s job dropped a pile of work on her at the last minute. Katie and I decided to keep our Tuesday off and spend a day in the French Quarter, window shopping and poking around the French Market. Since I moved across the lake, Katie and I don’t get to spend time together by ourselves as much as we’d like, so it was wonderful to spend time together and talk. We started the day at our favorite FQ food stop, Angeli, and devoured some Divine Portabella and Bloody Marys. OM NOM NOM.
One of the places we stopped at in the Quarter was the Spice & Tea Exchange, on St. Louis. My mom had given me a $25 gift certificate to the place a while back, and I was looking forward to seeing the tea selection they have. (I’ve been drinking a lot of tea lately.) I picked up a bag of International Breakfast tea and Black Chocolate tea, and Katie got a bag of Marrakesh Mint tea and this AMAZING cheese dip mix that we mixed up and brought to dinner that evening. The spice selection in this place is astounding. I have to make a second trip back there to get some of the spice mixes, and I know my mom would love some of the green teas. It’s a national chain, so take a look at their site to see what they have to offer!
We spent the rest of the afternoon going into a few different shops – Trendz (my fave accessory store), Trashy Diva, and we stopped into Molly’s at the Market for a frozen Irish Coffee (a necessity since it was SO DAMN HOT). I even ended my day with a snoball in the French Market, where this adorable little “bartender” mixed up a sweet concoction for me since I couldn’t decide what I wanted. We ate a wonderful dinner at Katie’s mom’s house that evening before heading back to her place to crash.
Wednesday morning, we rolled out of bed around 7:30 and were on the road by 9. After stopping for breakfast at a drive-thru, stopping at a gas station off of I-10 that sold katanas and throwing knives, and listening to “The World’s End” soundtrack (fantastic soundtrack, BTW) and almost every Patton Oswalt comedy CD, we made it to the hotel right for check-in at 3pm. Originally, the plan was to go out and get lunch, then get ready for the show, but we were all kind of tired and feeling a bit raggedy after being stuck in the car for 6 hours, so we ordered a veggie pizza and relaxed in the room.
After getting ready, we took the shuttle from the hotel to the pavilion just in time to get there for the doors to open!
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is a great open-air concert arena. When you walk in, there are a ton of booths for food, drinks, souvenirs, and other items as well. The main stage is under a huge awning, with giant fans spread underneath. Behind the awning is a large lawn, where people can camp out on blankets or towels and enjoy the show under the night sky.
I stopped as soon as we walked in to get my concert tour tee. This is a must-have for me – and I’ve got to have the concert dates on the back! We walked around for a bit to get drinks and such, then went to find our seats. I had my seat under the awning, Katie and Mary had theirs on the lawn. I relaxed, drank my Blue Moon, and chatted with the people around me while waiting for the opening act.
Crystal Castles was good – I texted my brother while they were playing and suggested he check them out. They ended their set around 8:30, and Depeche Mode took the stage close to 9:00.
What can I say about this band? I’ve been in love with their music since the early 90s. Violator was one of the cassettes I listened to through high school, and Songs of Faith and Devotion take me back to a very interesting time in my life. Dave Gahan’s baritone makes me feel funny in places low in my body (he’s not bad to look at either – see the above picture as Exhibit A), and Martin’s lyrics and voice are both still full of raw emotion. They’re one of the founders of modern electronic music, and they still change things up with every album. Watching them perform live for the first time was an unforgettable experience for me.
The one thing I didn’t do a lot of was take pictures. I snapped the above shot at the beginning of the show, and took a short video, but otherwise, I refused to be bound to my phone. I noticed so many people watching the show through their screens – so many bright white lights shining from the audience. As much as I love photography, I wanted this memory in my mind – not on my iPhone. So I put it away. I danced, I sang along, I watched and listened and EXPERIENCED, and it was glorious.
They played not only new singles from Delta Machine, but they played a lot of classics as well. “Enjoy The Silence” was a particular favorite of the crowd, and as you can see in my snippet of video, almost everyone sang along (including myself – please excuse my hoarse, out-of-tune voice in the background).
The big finale was “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Never Let Me Down Again”, which wrapped up the night. The three of us left the pavilion with enormous smiles on our faces, and hoarse voices from singing and screaming so much.
The setlist from the show (thanks to Smells Like Infinite Sadness):
Welcome To My World
Walking In My Shoes
Policy Of Truth
Should Be Higher
Barrel Of A Gun
The Child Inside (sung by Martin)
But Not Tonight (sung by Martin)
Soothe My Soul
A Pain That I’m Used To
A Question Of Time
Enjoy The Silence
Home (sung by Martin)
Just Can’t Get Enough
I Feel You
Never Let Me Down Again
We discovered that the background video for “Heaven” was filmed outside of New Orleans – not to mention the actual music video for that song was filmed in an abandoned church in NOLA.
DEPECHE MODE WHY U NO COME TO NOLA FOR CONCERTS ANYMORE?!?
On the shuttle ride back, we asked the driver if she could recommend a good place to get some drinks and food that would be open late. She recommended the Baker Street Pub, and offered to bring us there for a small fee. We struck up a conversation with a very nice couple, Scott and Louise, in the shuttle, and they decided to join us at the pub for drinks and food.
We spent the evening drinking beer, doing shots, eating a late dinner, meeting new people, and talking about how the show was an amazing experience for all of us.
We discovered the following things that night:
– that if you ask random strangers for a high five, 99% of them will give you one
– that asking random people to join your table will usually result in great conversations
– that sometimes your night can end even better than it began
We took a cab back to the hotel, each of us crawled into the shower to clean off the copious amounts of sweat, and fell asleep.
Thursday morning, Mary and I woke up earlier than Katie, so we got dressed and had a small breakfast at Denny’s to stave off hunger pains.
Our plan was to stop in Beaumont and eat at Pappadeaux’s, which is a place that both Katie and Mary love. We packed up, checked out at noon, and hit the road again. We stopped and ate, then Mary offered to rive after seeing me nodding off between Lake Charles and Lafayette. I climbed in the back of the TARDIS and propped my head up on a pillow.
I got home around 9:30, tired as hell but very happy. I still can’t believe the show was THAT good, and I’m seriously looking forward to their next album so we can do this again.
Have you taken a roadtrip to see one of your favorite bands? I’d love to hear about your favorite concert experience!