Depeche Mode recently sold out a historic four nights at the Hollywood Bowl, but another Bowl show first established them as bonafide rockstars in LA- The Rose Bowl. The year was 1988 -almost 30 years ago- and Depeche’s Music For the Masses became a self-fulfilling prophecy record of sorts, propelling them into the mainstream and winning them new legions of admirers, especially in Los Angeles.
Filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker followed the band on the American tour supporting the record, documenting them behind the scenes and following a group of young fans on their tour route. He also structured the film in common rock doc fashion, presenting plenty of electrifying stage performances from various points on the tour, culminating with the Pasadena stadium’s epic show their 101st.
Obviously, Showtime’s traveling outdoor event series EAT/SEE/HEAR couldn’t have had a better locale to screen the film than the venue itself, and Friday night, it was pretty clear that a large portion of the crowd had in fact, been to the show documented in the film, some even donning their concert tees from 1988.
It was an immersive and somewhat ironic movie viewing experience in many ways. Richard Blade, now with Sirius XM, but best known for this disc-jockeey days at K-ROQ 106.7 FM when D.M. were exploding, deejayed '80s sounds before the screening and spoke about the bands impact on LA and the world. He also showed a montage of photos from the “Rock of the '80s” era from his forthcoming book, which he revealed for the first time, will be named after the Depeche song. “World In My Eyes.”
Though 65,000 fans were in attendance at the 1988 performance, the Eat See Hear event only granted a few thousand people seats for the event. And they were clearly hardcore fans. It was a surreal, pseudo-concert flashback too, with plenty of dancing, screaming (former fangirls, now grown women everytime Dave Gahan danced sensually on the screen) and even an arms-waving-in-the-air moment when the singer directed the crowd in the film to do so. It was like a “sing-a-long” event and an interactive Rocky Horror Picture Show type experience, but other level because of where it took place.
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As with all of Eat|See|Hear’s screenings, the movie was shown on the “largest inflatable movie screen on the west coast with the highest quality HD-projection, a 52-foot wide image and professional sound,” according to Showtime, and guests were able to bring their dogs. Food trucks and a couple bars on site added to the festive vibe of the event, and just like at a real concert, official Depeche Mode merchandise was sold, including their current tour designs and reproduction designs from the Music for the Masses era.
Showtime’s next Eat/See/Hear LA event will be “Goodfellas” at the Autry Museum on Sept. 2.
More info at: http://www.eatseehear.com.