“When I heard ‘Ghosts Again’ something happened to me. Something dropped from here [Herz] until here [Knie]. Everything stopped for minutes. I really didn’t know that I could still feel that feeling inside of me. I’m just saying: Anyone who is old enough to have been there when ‘Enjoy The Silence’ came out and heard it for the first time at that time knows the feeling I mean.” Till, the back of his right hand, bows out of nowhere almost touches the ground. He slowly reappears and says, “And that was for Andy. Andy Fletcher. That’s missing.”
Friday evening in Berlin, March 24th – a day of celebration for Depeche Mode fans like Till from Berlin. MEMENTO MORI saw the light of day. Matt black, deeply sad and contemplative songs line up. Andrew Fletcher died in 2022, and since then Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have been on their own. Renaissance of a band that was founded in 1979. Since these early years, DM disciples have been moving to where live music is played. And apparently also to where you can buy special merch.
This Depeche Mode merch bus, which has been driving through Germany since Thursday, is also matt black like the new songs. Matt black, with red letters: “Depeche Mode – MEMENTO MORI”. Including two white angel wings. The bus started in Leipzig, and on Friday it will stop in front of the Berlin Palace on the premises of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg from 6 p.m. to midnight.
If you turn onto the site from Schönhauser Allee to get to the merch bus, you might briefly fear that the Depeche Mode fan base has died out: empty seats, no visitors, no pedestrians, no fans who flock to the bus. But then, on the brewery square itself, on the first warm afternoon of this year, a line of people can suddenly be seen behind the bus, running along the entire wall of the site until it juts out onto the pedestrian walkway on the opposite side. The line is more than 400 meters long, hundreds of fans, hundreds of individuals who have spent more than half their lives with Depeche Mode or have just started with it. They all put up with waiting hours for their turn.
Andi stands out from the line. He wears knee-high patent leather boots with eight-inch platform heels and polished silver buckles sewn into the leather. Cut off suit trousers begin above them, with silver metal rings worked into the ends. Andi’s jacket resembles a mod’s outfit and at the same time that of a soldier; including sewn-on Depeche Mode patch and patches of the countries he has already traveled to be able to be part of almost every tour concert in Europe.
A scrap of towel by Dave Gahan
Andi has dedicated his life to the band since 1983. “I was already on zich, zich, zich tours. At all band parties. In the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Poland…” He is interrupted. “Andiiiiii!” someone yells, throwing himself into his arm. A friend of the approximately 50-year-old explains: “Andi is known like a sore thumb! Real hardcore fan.”
After the greeting, he continues: “In 1986, at a concert in Montreux, I caught a small scrap of Dave Gahan’s towel and framed it at home.” Since then, Andi has gotten an apartment with two rooms and not just one, but two jobs – all the concerts, the journeys and the merch would cost a lot. “Besides, I have every record. The new one in black, blue, red and silver-transparent.”
Dave Gahan can captivate a lifetime
Again he is interrupted by a greeting – from a fan who has traveled from Poland for the merch bus. “In Poland, DM parties are the best places to celebrate anyway,” says Andi with his friend in his arms. “The parties start at eight in the evening. At midnight everyone used to lie down in a circle on the floor, then ‘Pimpf’ rang out from the speakers.” Alan Wilder, a former DM member, once explained the song in an interview: “That was the signal that we were about to enter the stage would, a moment when I started getting cold sweats.”
“I get goosebumps when I think of it that way,” Andi continues. In Germany, too, there are DM parties that shouldn’t be missed. “Three days of partying here in Berlin – you should take part!” At Depeche Mode it is above all Dave Gahan who has cast a spell over him for half his life. “Dave. His charisma is enough. The concert can be shit – but if he comes on stage, that’s enough.”
In addition to Andi, Lizzie and Lena are particularly noticeable in the queue of old fans. Because: Lizzie with hair dyed fire red and a long goth coat is 16 years young; the girlfriend at her side is only 13. You inherited the fan spirit from your mother.
Andy Fletcher is sorely missing
For Pitty, who is standing next to her friends Renee and Anja, the music of the synth-poppers is like the battery of life that only charges when she hears Depeche Mode music: “In 1985, I was 10, there was a song on the radio . I ran, pulled out the tape player and hit record. Since then I’ve done everything for Depeche Mode, for example waiting in front of hotels for days to get an autograph ‘Music For The Masses’ tour. The boys are like my battery.”
When Pitty talks about Fletch’s death, her eyes tear up. “After he died, I drove by the Hansastudio for days and put flowers there. My family also came with me, so we stood there together. Wasn’t a good time.”
Depeche Mode – the “gateway drug”
On this evening of March 24th, many here are remembering a time in life that holds memories for everyone – some younger, some older. Tonight will be rounded off by DJ Psycho Jones at the official release party in Berlin. He hosts Depeche Mode-themed parties several times a year, “and that’s how I slipped into the line-up for tonight. It’s also my favorite band since the 80’s. When I was 15, I didn’t feel like the usual Bravo pop tracks. For me, DM stood out because of their whimsical, special style. In 1987 I got my first CD for Christmas; the ones from the DM guys. My gateway drug. All the songs on the new album are also pure goosebumps.”
Around 8 p.m. the square in the middle of the Kulturbrauerei is almost dark; but the queue leading to the merch bus hasn’t got any shorter.
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