Today was concert day, September 24, 2013. The first of our three Depeche Mode shows in the USA. The sky was clear and blue again, with a top temperature of 30 degrees C.

Our breakfast nook this morning

While we were eating breakfast at a lovely table in the alleyway next to the breakfast room, we randomly caught up with Jennifer, the DM fan we met last night at the Old Kings Head. With her was Mary, another online friend. It was good to chat face to face with people I’ve known online since around 2006-2008.

After our encounter at breakfast, Chris and I took our cups of tea back to the garden outside our room and Skyped our daughter Sarah back home in Brisbane, then I put some photos on Facebook.

Mum is a keen gardener and I know she’d love this place, so we meandered around the hotel grounds taking photos of the gorgeous gardens. I can’t get over the beauty of this place. I love all the coloured tiles, pots, plants, ivy, etc.

Part of our hotel

Garden at hotel

After our photo spree, we went for a walk to check out a local Moreton Bay Fig tree. Because, why wouldn’t we want to see a tree native to our local area in a foreign country? It was old and large, much like the trees at Wellington Point, but there were no kids climbing all over it, it was roped off. That didn’t stop a homeless man from sleeping among the roots. Yes, although it looks perfect here, it isn’t really, there are quite a few homeless folk around.

This afternoon we took the hotel up on their free two-hour cycle hire. Helmets are not compulsory here, but I wore one anyway. The bikes were fixed gear and had very high cross bars, but we managed to get on and off without too much embarrassment. Not an easy task when you are only five feet tall. We cycled all the way along the beach bike path to the marina and Leadbetter Beach, then doubled back and went right down the other end, way past Stern’s Wharf. Then doubled back again to ride back to the hotel. After two undignified dismounts we handed the bikes back and went to shower and get ready to go out again.

At 3.30pm we walked up State Street, and detoured to visit the old Spanish part of town. Of course, the camera came out again. It was lovely.

Old Spanish part of town

Back on State Street, our tea tonight was a shared turkey foot-long Subway for $6.00 as we’ve gone over budget a bit lately and we need to get back on track. Our drinks were water bottles bought on our first day here, and refilled at our hotel.

After our sumptuous Subway sandwich and tap water, we walked to the Santa Barbara Bowl, where we picked up our tickets and had to empty out the rest of our water into a bin as they wouldn’t let us take unsealed bottles into the venue. Fair enough, they filled up our bottles with nice cold water inside.

The venue was really good, we were about three-quarters of the way back, but it’s a small place, only about 5,000 people can fit in here.

Santa Barbara Bowl

We listened to the support act, Crystal Castles. Unfortunately, the singer’s mic didn’t seem to be working a lot of the time, but I liked the synths. There was a long gap between the support act and the main attraction. The open air venue filled, the sky darkened and the excitement grew. Then, they were there.

We had waited 19 years for this, and it was worth the wait. Depeche Mode really know how to put on a show.

Depeche Mode

From the first song of the night, “Welcome To My World”, to the audience waving in unison to “Never Let Me Down”, the two-hour show took us through every emotion. Both Chris and I teared up a few times.

The song “Walking in My Shoes” was the first one to bring a tear to my eye, as the last time we heard that performed was at the Brisbane Festival Hall in 1994 on the tour that nearly wiped them all out.

“But Not Tonight” and “Home” sung by Martin, were also highlights for me.  Especially “Home” as Martin lives in Santa Barbara, so he was literally home.

A show of classics such as “Enjoy the Silence” and “Black Celebration”, and my personal new favourite, “Soothe My Soul” kept us very happy.

It was a long walk back to the hotel, but on a show-high it hardly seemed like any time at all.

As we passed the old Courthouse we could hear a busker playing pretty Spanish guitar music. Then down State Street, we could see the Old Kings Head was full and noisy: no doubt full of DM fans tonight. We kept walking, we’d had enough excitement for one day.

We were back at our hotel room by 11.00 pm, with a cup of tea (made by trickery in a pod-type coffee maker). Chris was snoring by just gone midnight, but I didn’t get to sleep until 2.00 am.

This was an amazing night.