Exactly five years ago to the day, if not exactly to the hour, I was about to see one of my most cherished dreams come true. A silly dream some might call it, a teenager’s dream I call it, a dream that had been a fantasy for many years, so much so that I never actually thought it would come true. It was just a dream, never crossing that border into the land of possibility. That June evening it was about to become reality.
Two friends were with me that day and we chatted nervously, with that giggly happiness that is present in the hours of anticipation before a much expected and happy event. We had arrived quite early, about six hours before the appointed hour, and we had claimed a piece of concrete as our spot, not far from the stage, and we sat down, snacking on pretzels and wishing for the time to pass faster. What could be more exciting than being in the same place with about 40.000 other people who were waiting for the exact same thing?
People of all ages and sizes were gathering around us. Owners of pierced eyebrows and tattooed arms, middle aged men, teenagers, foreigners speaking both familiar and strange languages. It felt like Babylon. It also felt good.
How to describe that rush of energy that went through the crowd when they appeared on the stage, the chanting, the waving of arms? I had never seen them before and now, all of a sudden, they were there in the flesh. Not people I just saw in video clips on TV or in pictures in the magazines or on the posters in the room I shared with my sister a lifetime ago, not just sounds coming out of a tape or cd. This time it was real. The band members were on the stage and the crowd started chanting: De-peche Mode, De-peche Mode, De-peche Mode.
Did I shout, did I laugh, did I cry? I did, all at the same time, and in between, when all of that seemed like not enough, I sang. Every word, every song, until I had no voice left. But that was ok.
“Let me take you on a trip, around the world and back….” They sang, and I with them, following from song to song, from Personal Jesus to my personal favorite, World In My Eyes, to Enjoy the Silence and In Your Room, to Precious. And when Never Let Me Down started the crowd went wild. A sea of hands rose in the air, moving in harmony, all eyes watching the stage, watching Dave move, dance, come closer, touching hands with the fans, smiling, pausing so we could sing instead, and we did, never faltering, never missing a beat. A huge white banner, black letters painted on a white sheet of fabric, went over our heads with a few words that summed it all up: “A lifetime waiting for this night”. I had waited for this night, never daring to hope that it would come true one day. But it did. One of the best experiences of my life. One of the days when I was completely, unimaginably, absolutely, HAPPY. Thank you, Depeche Mode.
P.S. The words on the left are from the t-shirt I had inscribed especially for that day. It is a faded dark blue by now but the words remain, just as clear as on the day I wore it for the first time, five years ago.