In 1990, Depeche Mode held an instore signing for their ‘Violator’ CD at L.A.’s Beverly Center mall. More than 10,000 crazed fans showed up – toting far too much memorabilia for Gahan and Gore to autograph without getting seriously cramped hands – and the Wherehouse record store eventually had shut down for the night. And chaos ensued.
New wavers subsequently rioted in the streets – a melee that, granted, wasn’t exactly as scary as the Rodney King race riot that nearly burned LA to the ground in 1992, since these were just skinny, sobbing goth kids. But still. I’m sure Angelenos who were trying to drive home from work that night – only to nearly run over suicidal Depeche fans who were hurling themselves into traffic – weren’t all that thrilled with Depeche Mode that night.
Well, 19 years later history repeated itself, when Depeche Mode – to commemorate the release of their new album Sounds Of The Universe, which DM’s new bio actually calls a “‘Violator’ for the 21st century” – closed down several blocks of Hollywood Blvd. last night to play a free outdoor concert taped for ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Show’.
The major thoroughfare was actually blockaded for a whopping 31 hours to prepare for the 10,000-strong mob expected to show up, despite thousands of protesting phone calls and emails from local residents who feared the concert would be like the Great Depeche Mode Beverly Center Riot Of ’90 all over again. But Hollywood councilman Eric Garcetti let the show go on as planned, which means he’ll definitely have my vote in the next election.
While regular-folk commuters who got caught in the gridlock will probably never hear ‘Behind The Wheel’ the same way again, for Depeche geeks – of which there are MANY in Los Angeles, since local radio station KROQ has practically made the Mode its house band since 1981 – this open-air concert was serious cause for black celebration. And I must say, the concert went off extremely smoothly, with everyone on their best behavior, except for a couple of intrepid fans who climbed onto a roof to get a better view.
Yes, no riots, no tears, and at the end of Depeche’s six-song set everyone left in a most orderly fashion. I guess Depeche Mode fans are more mature now. It has been 19 years, after all.
Here are some clips of the band making Hollywood history: