Wednesday, August 26, 2009


A few weeks ago, we splurged on a road trip to Seattle so Blake and I could see Depeche Mode. They've been around for decades, and are one of our mutual favorite was high time we catch them on their rare West Coast appearance. Seattle was the closest stop and I see why--the Seattle show draws not only the fans from that city but from Portland and Canada (BC) area as well. This made it difficult since we would have to find a way to make the trip, stay in a hotel and get someone to watch the kids. But my mom happily obliged and we got a sweet little mini-vacation out of it.

Mom was great to have with us, especially on the road, handing the kids snacks, reading to them books and she even brought a stash of pipe cleaners which kept the kids entertained, making crowns and jewelry out of them. Here they are in their creations:
We arrived just afternoon and decided the best thing to do, based on our friend Joi's suggestion, was to take a harbor cruise (we'd already see the normal main attractions last October, here, here, here, and here; and who can forget the infamous pee-tea incident)--this way we could see the city as a whole and get to be on a boat, a sensation we've all been craving since this was our first year without the sailboat. It might not have been exciting as sail, but it was really nice. Relaxing and thanks to their narration pretty interesting, too. Like, the guide told us where Fraiser's apartment would have been if the view from the show was really shot in Seattle (as opposed to L.A.)--of course totally unrealistic since it was from a radio tower hill. Silly stuff like that. Anyway they served us beer and we ate sandwiches over the course of the 1-hour ride.
My Mommy and me!

A great shot of Mayan and freshly-fallen top tooth:
Mom chilled inside with the girls, while Blake hung out on deck with George on his back. I love this shot!
What a good Papa! Thanks for bringing us on this adventure, B!
On the last stretch, we watched port workers move those massive containers around on the cargo ships. While I took this, the operator or the mechanism slipped and almost dropped the whole thing--now that would have been exciting...
Ah, breathing the bay area with my sweetie:

Afterwards we checked into our hotel, and treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Etta's Seafood over-looking Pike Place Market. just before the show, we set Grandma up with the kids and a movie and I nursed George down to sleep just in time. We were going to walk to Key Arena but it had just started to rain, heavier than a sprinkle, so we called a cab instead. Blake and I stifled snickers on the way since our cabbie was up to his knuckle picking his nose the whole time as he chatted on his cell phone--talk about multi-tasking! Then when we got out, I just about died when Blake says to the guy "Thanks for PICK-ing us up..." (heavy-emphasis on the "pick") and didn't want to take the change the guy was holding out with his booger-contaminated fingers.

We had some time to walk around before the music started, so I started a quest for "good beer." I thought it was hopeless when I realized the arena must have a contract with the makers of MGD and Rolling Rock, but on our way to our seats we discovered our section had a hidden bar that served Fat Tire--score! Albeit one beer costs $8 a pop, but that's all part of the experience, like $10 popcorn at the theaters (or so I justified Blake.) Drinks were not allowed into the bowl, so we found a space to lean and watched people walk by, proving to be on e of the most enjoyable parts of the evening. First you had different age groups--those that were probably in their 20's when DM was at their peak, and some that may not have been born when their first single hit. then there were the outfits, always a favorite past time of mine, to see what people are wearing. Some girls were really dolled up in goth-y makeup and fishnets--it made me regret right away not wearing my back-up outfit I had bought, a dress and black ankle strap heels instead of grey skinny jeans and a sparkly sweater, which was admitted more comfortable. It was most interesting to guess what these people did during their day-jobs--did they work in an office and only pull out their black platform boots hidden behind their white button up shirts, once or twice a year? Others seemed to live the rock and roll lifestyle on a more regular basis. Certain couples looked like they could be on second dates. And then there were people who just seemed out of place, but you know, you never know what kind of music people will like. this part of the night was fun.

What I've told people when they ask me about the show is that: I am glad I went, and the music was good. All of those things were true. But we were not without complaints--the largest being the visual effects...they were AWFUL! The stage had behind it one of those huge screens that looks like a metal cage until an image appears, and a disco ball shape of the same material. The first song began ("In Chains") and the face of an old man on one side of the screen came on and a young boy on the other. The images slowly morphed during the song so the old man became the young boy and vice versa; not a terrible image, creative...but during this on the ball was an image of a woman on a treadmill. She just climbed and climbed and climbed and never got anywhere--the symbolism I got but the actual image was just distracting. But it just got worse, because with each song came a new, totally unrelated image that would abruptly end when the songs ended, no continuity whatsoever. My conflicted brain got a break when they merely imposed distorted color images of the actual band playing--not creative, but enhancing and allowed the audience to focus on the music and players. The worst one (or what I thought was the worst one at the time) was gum balls. Yup, just gum balls. It appeared that the "sphere" was filled with gum balls at the start of the song and one at a time they would "fall" and appear in the larger flat screen. It seriously looked like a PC screen saver from 1994--and I can even remember what song was playing at the time, only the dumb gum balls. I mean when I think Depeche Mode, I don't think of colorful, novelty chewing gum--it just didn't fit. the last visual straw for me was the last song. Blake and I had started to regret not buying a ticket for Mayan, when we saw some other 7-10 year olds there with their parents. Until the very end, when we looked at each other in relief that we DIDN'T bring her. The band begins playing Strange Love, and a real video comes on screen--a chicly appointed apartment, an ornate chair in front of a fireplace, and in comes a women dressed very provocatively, and lounges in the chair. In comes a sexy Asian gal in a dominatrix style number, and begins peeling off the other girls stocking, and ever so slowly proceeds to suck on her toes, which brings girl #1 much pleasure. By the end of the song, girl #1 has her breast bared, but just in time girl#2 stands up and leaves the room. Okaaaay. Again, I get it, but 1) it was the first actual "produced" video image during the whole show so it seemed like it came out of nowhere and 2) it was totally inappropriate for an all-ages show. A little warning before the lesbian-soft-porn would have been nice.

So to balance out that complaint, there were other things I liked--for instance, Martin Gore (who is not the front man, but writes all the music and lyrics and plays multiple instruments and passes on the front man position to Dave Gahan to get all the glory) had his moment where Dave left the stage and he sung two songs. They were songs I normally don't give much love to when I hear the albums, but hearing him sing them gave me a new appreciation. He has a beautiful voice and in one particular song, which I never got before, I think he is addressing his out-of-the-ordinary position in the band and this gave him validation and a moment in the spot light. Good stuff. They also did a very good selection of material spanning many albums, and one I very much hoped to hear, called Precious--you never know what you'll hear when a band has 12 studio albums plus plenty of other material, and I was not disappointed.

Again, glad we went. Even though we really couldn't afford it I knew we'd regret not going. With the added bonus of mom-time and getting to see a beloved band with my honey, and despite the fact that it wasn't the raddest show we've been to, we're very pleased that we made it happen.


Lee said...

Nice! Glad you enjoyed it overall!

LA RN said...

Thanks for sharing! (Really, not in in a sarcastic way!) I never regret the money we spend on rare outings and I'm stoked you were able to bring mom. How awesome was the pipe cleaner idea?! said...

I am so glad you asked me to come along. I had a great time and I love it that the memories last in pictures. The kids were really great. I like the way you found traveling a time to catch up on your needlework.