I have been a Depeche Mode fan for a long time. I’ve gone to a couple of their concerts over the years but haven’t seen them live in quite awhile.
When I was in Lisbon way back at the start of my trip I remember seeing a poster for Depeche Mode touring there in July. Later that day when I returned to the hostel I logged on to see just where they were and when they were touring while I was over here.
They’re all over the place in Europe this summer and, of course, so am I so I was happy to see that we would intersect here in Belgrade give or take a few days.
As I was reworking my itinerary last month, in the back of my mind was always this date – May 19th. I needed to make sure I would be here.
I bought my ticket online about a month ago while I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia and have been carrying it around ever since.
The anticipation as the days passed and the city of Belgrade came closer was great.
Before I knew it, I was crossing over the border into Serbia and was smack dab in the middle of Belgrade.
I was here!
This morning I woke up with no real plan for the day. I just wanted the hours to fly by til the concert.
Because the concert was held outdoors there were no assigned seating so I wasn’t sure how early to arrive for it. The concert didn’t start til 8pm but they opened the gates at 5:30.
I just couldn’t take it anymore and at 3pm I left for a 45 minute walk through town and over the bridge to the park on the other side of the Danube river.
I was prepared to just camp out in a line in front of the gate at 4pm – a good 4 hours before the start of the concert.
I got to the gate to find no one waiting. I talked to the girl inside and she said there was no need to wait ahead of time and if I came around 7:30 I should be fine as it was the opening act at 8pm and Depeche Mode wouldn’t be playing til later.
Okay… change of plans.
I headed back over the bridge into the old town. This time I took the bus as the walk over to the park in 33 degree weather had wiped me out.
I grabbed a nice meal of mixed salad and veal, returned to the hostel, took a shower, and then headed back to the concert by taxi (ridiculously cheap, by the way, only 6 euros) around 7pm.
Back home in North America a tshirt at a concert goes for minimum $25 (about 18 euros) – and that’s the minimum. Here in Serbia I bought a tshirt for only 8 euros. Everything was cheaper here. Ice cream bars are between 40c and 60c. Bottled water 50c (at the concert, they hiked the price up to a whopping 1.30 euro).
I sat in the VIP section in the bleachers off to the side of the fan pit where everyone was scrumming for position. The girl was right. There was no need to come early and infact I could have come an hour later.
Around 8:45 Depeche Mode took to the stage.
They played a mix of their new stuff and their old classics. As always it was the old stuff everyone cheered for the most – myself included.
In the past, each time I went to a Depeche Mode concert I noticed it was basically the same group of fans, just a little older each time. Not this time – not here in Belgrade. I’ve noticed that the Balkans love their music from the 80’s and 90’s. If you turn on a radio station that’s what they’re playing. So, here in Belgrade – this is their music. The crowd consisted of mostly 20 somethings – most of them not born when the band started their career back in 1981.
The concert ended around 11:30 and after the long walk through the park back to the main road and a crazy wait for a packed (and I mean packed) bus ride home it was around 12:30 when I got back into the old town.
Luckily the restaurant I had eaten at for breakfast was open til 1am so I stopped in there for a late dinner – Bruschetta and a Ham & Cheese Crepe.
By 1:30 I was home, exhausted but happy. It was a long day but well worth it!