In Your Room, Cleveland – Nancy Kelly

depeche MODE’s Summary of North American leg: A Celebration of Life

I’m single, with no children, so I said: ‘F*CK it! My life is a downward spiral of failed health and too much day-to-day complacency.’  When the concert dates were announced, it was time to get out my credit card and get those tickets. As I sit here at the beginning of 2024, I have zero regrets. It was one of the best times of my life. And luckily enough, I was fortunate to have some money saved for retirement. I spent some of it early. I regret nothing. 

By Nancy Kelly

The last decade has been an extremely challenging time for me. Usually, I consider myself a strong person. However, after dealing with several personal and unforeseen health issues, plus the COVID pandemic period, I felt that life had worn me down.

There is a quote that I recently found on the internet ”Music is simply the chaos in our minds reborn as perfection.” I love perfection.

depeche MODE’s music helped me deal with the trials and tribulations of life over several decades. From the awkwardness of peer pressure in school, the loss of friendship, the downward spiral of my love life, bad career moves, and the heartbreaking death of my parents.

In 2016, my ex-boyfriend/best friend who became addicted to drugs passed away, after being found in a bathtub two days later. The first thing I reached for was my dM CD collection – their music comforts me.

No, it is not all gloom – there were so many happy times listening to dM: socializing with friends, and dancing at various clubs or parties in Toronto and other places around the globe since I love to travel. I also blasted their music in my car while road-tripping from Canada to the Mojave Desert in California. Their music brings me so much joy!

And we can’t forget their fashion influences throughout the decades. I will never forget as a teen, my father walked into the living room while I was watching the Master and Servant video on TV and he said, “What is this and what are they singing about?” He walked out of the room as he shook his head. To me, it was my clue to buy more black clothing!

The band members themselves personally have been through so many of their trials and tribulations. That is also what makes fans worldwide admire them for creating the soundtrack of our lives, which may be the soundtrack of their lives. I genuinely believe that’s why many of us feel a personal connection with the band.

Going backwards to 2018

After their epic GLOBAL SPIRIT TOUR concluded in July 2018, the fanbase was concerned that depeche MODE was over – for good. I saw the fatigue in Dave’s eyes at the final concerts at Waldbühne, in Berlin. Dave, Martin, Peter & Christian, and the crew, gave so much during that tour with 130+ shows in various countries. Dave looked exhausted and I bear witness that many of us in the audience were crying during the final songs. Was it the end of this incredible band? We all felt saddened, yet happy to share this epic moment.

Fast Forward to 2022

Yes, rumours were circulating that Martin was writing new material, but we never knew if it was for dM or one of his own, great personal projects. We felt it was up to Dave if dM would tour again or record again. The projects were not made public, especially during the COVID 2020-2021 period.

Martin & Fletch

On May 26, 2022, Andrew Fletcher (aka Fletch) of depeche MODE suddenly passed away at the age of 60, just weeks shy of his 61st birthday. Despite the band’s very personal loss, I was also, very selfishly thinking, that my favourite band in the world was never going to tour or even record again.

Fletch appeared to be ‘the glue’ that held the friendship of Martin and Dave together and many of us longtime fans knew this.

In October 2023, I was so excited to watch the stream of the dM Press Conference that was held in Berlin, a city with a massive fanbase.

Dave and Martin sat on the stage, without Fletch, which was emotional to watch online. Reality hit. Fletch was gone. But we were grateful that the band was still together. Dave and Martin announced that a new single, Ghosts Again will be released in 2023, along with a new album titled Memento Mori. Plus, extensive tour dates were listed with 10 shows in North America beginning in May and then Europe to follow.

2023: MEMENTO MORI – Remember to Celebrate Life

Memento Mori translates from the Latin phrase: Remember That You Must Die. Although the album title was chosen several months before Fletch’s sudden death, to me, it was a strong, and emotional message to remind us of all to celebrate life. We are all getting old, and time is fleeting….

I’m single, with no children, so I said: ‘F*CK it! My life is a downward spiral of failed health and too much day-to-day complacency.’  When the concert dates were announced, it was time to get out my trusty MasterCard and get those tickets. I should get a Mastercard logo tattooed on my ass – Mastercard still owns part of it. But as I sit here at the beginning of 2024, I have zero regrets. It was one of the best times of my life. And luckily I was fortunate enough to have some money saved for retirement. I spent some of it early, but I have zero regrets. I am so fortunate that I saved when I was younger.

Yes, I have other fun interests. I love vintage fashion, watching old films, exploring nature, and travelling. And I also listen to rockabilly and 1950s music. But depeche MODE’s music has been the consistent glue that has held me together for decades. I also already pre-arranged to have dM music play at my funeral.

My Cosmos is Mine: The US/Canada vs Europe.

In 2023, I attended 21 concerts – Five in Canada, where I live (outside of Toronto), 3 in Europe, and 12 in the US, including six in California, another dM mecca, where the infamous dM 101 concert and video recording took place at Rose Bowl, in Pasadena.

I believe several fans reading this understand my mindset is to attend as many shows as possible. If the average reader doesn’t understand it, just respect the fact that this band gives me such incredible joy.

I want to make it clear – I am not trying to brag about the number of shows or the money I spent. My biggest pitfall is that I’m a ticket snob – I need to be up at the front, near the stage when attending a dM concert. To me, this is the most important connection with the band, and with the audience.

But yes, it comes with a big price tag, one that I won’t even bother to add up. It’s best not to know. Whether it is seeing a show local to where I live (near Toronto), in California, with higher priced tickets. Or to fly overseas to Europe, with more economical tickets but flight prices, hotels, travel expenses, jet lags, and waiting in line to get up to the front are involved. Time can also equal money. Europe is not that much more economical for me either. But my own personal reality is that my poor ageing knees are ridden with arthritis. They don’t want me to stand in line for hours, to get to the front of the stage for concerts in Europe anymore.

I do. However, I find it ironic how Americans and Canadians are sometimes labelled ‘loud and obnoxious’ and Europeans are considered more reserved. Yes, when dM comes onstage in North America, many fans just stare, in awe. Yes, some sing, stand still, dance, or some will just shout. And some do go crazy with excitement, like I do.

But in Europe, fans tend to clap more. It naturally raises the energy for the band and their performance. Also, in places like Mexico City – with the language and cultural barrier, they really know to how to celebrate. It seems, any audience failed in comparison in 2023! I wish I could have attended those shows also.

To summarize, I don’t know who should be recognized more: Fans in the US and Canada who blow thousands of dollars to get up close because we don’t have any other local options, or my European and Mexican counterparts who endure this devotional act of waiting in line for hours, or even days for several shows! Regardless, we all love the band dearly. Remember, we are part of a special community made up of people from various backgrounds, cultures, and age groups. Let’s be kind to fans worldwide, not criticize and celebrate together! There are pros and cons of seeing dM live anywhere.

Lastly, I’m realistic – I am not the fan who thinks the band are going to leave their gorgeous wives for me – a slightly overweight, middle-aged, average-looking redheaded woman from Canada. Just because animated Dave will sing or wave to me onstage for a few seconds, or Martin will flash a killer smile while he’s singing or playing guitar, or Peter glances at me while playing bass, it’s all just playful fun. This kind of interaction provides me with a sense of honour since I play a small part in their celebration onstage. I want to be up close for my enjoyment. The band owes me nothing in return. It’s all part of the fun!

My 2023 Memento Mori dM Tour Diary

  1. March 23rd, 2023, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
  2. March 25th, 2023, SAP Center, San Jose, CA
  3. April 7th, 2023, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
  4. April 9th, 2023, Videotron Center, Quebec City, QC
  5. April 12th, 2023, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC
  6. April 14th, 2023, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY (plus the incredible after-show party)
  7. July 23rd, 2023, Arena Zagreb, Zagreb (to celebrate Martin’s birthday!)
  8. July 28th, 2023, Puskás Aréna, Budapest
  9. July 30th, 2023, Letnany Airport, Prague (plus an incredible after-show party)
  10. November 3rd, 2023, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC
  11. November 5th, 2023, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
  12. November 8th, 2023, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
  13. November 10th, 2023, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH
  14. November 24th, 2023, Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
  15. December 1st, 2023, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
  16. December 6th, 2023, Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
  17. December 8th, 2023, Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
  18. December 10th, 2023, Kia Forum, Inglewood, CA
  19. December 12th, 2023, Kia Forum, Inglewood, CA (plus LA DM Day on Dec 13th)
  20. December 15th, 2023, Arena, Los Angeles, CA (plus an incredible party on the 16th)
  21. December 17th, 2023, Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Each concert was truly special, but these are some of my most memorable highlights of the tour:

  • March 23rd, 2023, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
    • dM’s first appearance in almost 5 years
    • Dave sang Speak To Me on the catwalk and it was the first time sang live.
    • Martin also sang Soul With Me for the first time. (Note: The audience did not know any of these songs yet since the album was being released the following day.)
    • The FIRST Tribute to Fletch: World In My Eyes – it was very emotional and heartfelt.
    • The pre-show gathering organized by The depeche MODE Global Fan group on Facebook was special to meet new people.
  • July 23rd, 2023, Arena Zagreb, ZagrebMartin’s birthday
    • Seeing the smile on Dave and Christians’s faces as he brought out the cake to Martin was amazing.
    • Christian handed out black balloons to the audience along the catwalk.
    • This was the first time I heard My Favourite Stranger performed live.
  • July 30th, 2023, Letnany Airport, Prague
    • Harsh weather before the show – it rained before the band came onstage.
    • Dave and Martin sang on the catwalk, with the moon shining and grey streaks in the sky at night.
    • There was a high-energy after-show party that ended at 5 a.m.
  • November 5th, 2023, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
    • The audience was on fire – lots of people singing all the lyrics, including songs from Memento Mori like Ghosts Again. After singing this for several shows with Dave, he smiled into my camera.
    • Dave sang Happy Birthday to an audience member named DIEM.
  • December 6th, 2023, Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
    • Incredible audience with several Latinos and people from Mexico in attendance who gave the audience a bigger lift in energy.
    • My friend Rodrigo from Chile was personally handed a guitar pick from Peter. Peter threw him one, but it ended up behind the barrier. Peter then walked onto the catwalk to personally hand it to him in the 3rd row.
    • A fan threw cute, little look-alike dolls to Martin and Dave. They both loved them.
    • Dave sang to a young fan in the audience by having her jump over the barrier. Then Martin rushed at the end to ensure she was given a guitar pick.
    • I discovered that I love In Your Room (Live) more than ever.
    • I got a copy of the setlist.
  • December 8th, 2023, Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
    • Great audience and energy. I was in the third row near the catwalk, and the performance did not disappoint.
    • Dave sang happy birthday to a lady in the audience who was told by security to take her sign down. Dave noticed this, and then he sang to her. She was turning 50, and he commented on her having grey hair like himself.
    • Dave modelled his shoes to my camera during Walking in My Shoes.
  • depeche MODE Day – Dec 13th.
    • I was so honoured to meet so many incredible fans from the LA area and attend this event. Not only it was great to see the band but to share this day with like-minded people.
  • December 15th, 2023, Arena, Los Angeles, CA
    • Martin sang Heaven – wow.
    • Yes, the notorious fight broke out that Dave stopped. But sadly, this is what happens when a fan buds in front of another man’s wife, standing at her spot, for several minutes. He pushes her so her husband rightfully defends her. Violence is never the answer, but you must understand his position of defending his wife.
  • Other Notable Events:
    • I ended up with five setlists – Detroit, Cleveland (thanks to Sam and Teri), Vancouver, Inglewood (Dec 10th) and San Diego (Dec 6th). I gave the Detroit and Vancouver setlist to friends.
    • I met the most incredible people including friendships that will last a lifetime. This is the most incredible thing about going to see depeche MODE – the wonderful fanbase.

Overall, I was in awe each time Dave, Martin, Peter, and Christian were onstage each night. And yes, I do consider Peter and Christian an integral part of depeche MODE, although so may still beg to differ. Peter’s solo piano playing during Martin’s songs of magic and Christian’s powerful drums enlighten the experience for me. And both are incredible guys that have helped co-write several of Dave’s songs.

Memento Mori – Remember we must live before we all die. And seeing dM live is truly living. I especially want to thank the band – Dave, Martin, Peter and Christian. Plus we can’t forget to mention Anton Corbijn and dM management and staff who also worked so hard… they truly made 2023 an incredibly special year for me. Naturally, the fanbase worldwide – you are truly incredible. I met friends for life, and I am forever grateful.

Finally, a special thank you to Rodrigo, Ellie, Stephanie F, Anne, Ryan, Jon, Kimber, Agnes, Danny, John, Bryan, Nathalie, Karel, Elizabeth, Rob, plus countless people I didn’t include in this collage. Too many to thank! I love you all!

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