Sangeeta Rao returns to reviewing duties, following her Detroit review from the 27 August gig. Being the Depeche superfan she is, one gig was never going to be enough for Sangeeta, so hot on the heels of Detroit, she took in a hometown gig in Washington D.C. and that was always going to be a good thing. Read this and delve into Sangeeta's world - it's DM all the way! Thanks to Sangeeta for the photos too. They're all hers so do not nick them. Enjoy!
Washington, DC – September 7, 2017
I was especially excited about the Washington, DC show for three reasons: 1) This was the FIRST time in since the Some Great Reward Tour that they were playing in the actual District of Columbia. Every single tour since then, they played a venue out of the District, in either Maryland or Virginia, otherwise known as the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) area. Those venues are a challenge to travel to if you live in Maryland and have to travel to Virginia and vice versa, and during rush hour! I wanted to make sure, so I researched every single tour, and DM opened the North American Some Great Reward Tour on March 14, 1985. It was also their FIRST DC show!! 2) This was the show that I had spent $$$ ($350 for 6th row to be exact) for amazing seats. 3) Most importantly, many of my friends wanted to join me (some new to DM) and experience what the fuss was all about. One of my friends said “If you’re going to a DM show, you have to go with Sangeeta”. LOL, sounds about right!
About one week prior, practically every friend came out of the woodwork and said that they wanted to see DM with me. I received a barrage of texts, facebook messages/tags “Are you going to the show on Thursday?” I usually responded with “Is the sky blue?” Seriously, what a dumb question. I had discussed it with several friends, and about 10 friends confirmed. I got a few more to go, so the final number was 16. If I had known in advance that many friends expressed such interest, I would have booked a suite for the venue! But it was too late because I had 6th row seats with my friend Blanca, and we were NOT about to give those up. This was also special for Blanca because it would be her first time up close to the band. I think my biggest achievement of getting tickets was for my sister, Harita and Scott, her husband. It was HER who gave me an Enjoy the Silence cassette single in 1990, and I was HOOKED. So since 1993, I’ve been seeing DM at every tour, but she never joined me.
I sell wine and spirits to restaurants, hotels, and bars for a living. I happened to stop by at one of my accounts to hand deliver an invitation to our upcoming portfolio tasting. While I’m having a drink at the bar, I see Andrew Fletcher. I came by and said hello, and we had a few pleasantries. He didn’t seem that interested in talking , so I let him be. Honestly, I would have been happier to see Mart or Peter, and this was my 5th time meeting Fletch, so no biggie. I did meet his son, which is a whole other story. It’s safe to say that whatever story you’ve heard about him is most likely what I experienced.
On the evening of the concert, all of us headed to a new rooftop bar for a pre-show happy hour, and I was SO happy to see all of my friends come out for the show. We arrive at the Verizon Centre, now called Capitol One Arena, and our 6th row seats aren’t really 6th row because there was a large walkway gap between the 5th and 6th, so it was approximately the 10th row. I was not too pleased that I paid that much, but whatever…no time to be angry because my favorite band was about to hit the stage. I was about to see everything I had seen in my previous shows but up close. We were on stage left right by Martin. The venue capacity is approximately 20k but with floor seats, I’m guessing it was 21k. Looked like a sold out crowd, and I was so happy that this was happening in the city that’s been my home for the past 12 years. The band arrives on stage, and like in any city, the crowd goes wild. As we all know, two songs in, Dave shouts “Good Evening [insert city here]!”. This time he said “Washington, DC” and in previous tours, it was always “Washington”. Depeche Mode was finally back in the District of Columbia and not some suburb an hour away.
A few songs into the show, my friend Carrie who had traveled from New York, was seated in the first tier section in the last row. She made it to the front row of the tier, and it was parallel with the stage. I came to check it out, and it was much better than our “6th row” seats. We moved over, and it was far more amazing! I had so much more room that I could head bang to I Feel You, my favourite live song.
It was the same setlist as usual, but I could tell that the band, especially Dave and Mart were happy to be in a big arena in DC, very different from previous DC shows. When they left for the encore, the entire venue turned on their flash light on their phones, and Martin said “Wow”. I guess it wasn’t done in other cities.
After the show was over, we scored the setlist from one of the roadies. Being that I’ve been to SO MANY DM shows, and this was Blanca’s first time this close to the band, I gifted her the setlist. I’ve met every single band member several times, and I’ve been front row on more than one occasion. This was a moment for my friend, and I let her enjoy it. Also, I’m so happy that my sister FINALLY came to the show…after all these years! I was a happy devotee not only for being so close but because so many of my friends joined, as well as my sister. I was waiting for the night, and it was a night to remember.