We arrived at Minehead for our final UK date of 2011 on a foggy November afternoon. The airport pickup had passed trouble free with no delays, lost luggage or traffic jams.
Thorsten was back on drums and Martin on guitar for this Sample Minds and Depeche Made double header which would mean two separate performances in two different venues at Butlins. To some, this could be a tricky thing to pull off but remember - our band have played two gigs in one day in different countries so you could say it was just another day in the office.
As we near the end of the year and our final German date, we find ourselves in a reflective mood and the conversation around the pub table centres mostly on, what was good? What not so good? And how we can improve and develop the show for 2012?
We should see some new songs introduced into the set and possible multimedia enhancements. While the core of our activities is expected to be with MIND2MODE, we are keen to develop the stand alone DM / U2 shows for indoor venues during the colder months of the year.
So after a few swift drinks combined with the now legendary 'how little sleep can we have and still play’ experiment, we began soundchecking for our first slot. Centre Stage 9 - 10pm: Sample Minds.
The Set was:
After a really storming performance to a bumper crowd which involved the most blatant self promotion of our second gig in the Reds Arena as Depeche Mode we dismantled our gear for the short journey downstairs to the next venue.
We was contacted to play at 12.30pm and decided to get things moved fast so we could enjoy a break between shows. This was fortunate as unknown to ourselves there had been a serious accident on the motorway delaying Duran Duran so we would take their 11am slot.
As always we rise to the challenge. It was great fun pulling down and then setting up again, whilst getting changed into our Mode gear.
I must say that the Mode gig was possibly the most fun I have ever had in a while. The crowd, many if who had seen our earlier Sample Minds show, sang, danced and generally had fun throughout and made it a night to remember.
The Set was:
I think it was the first time one band had played both arenas. It was great to hear the great reviews from Butlins head of entertainment who had made the trip to see if we could pull it off. I'm happy to say that we did and with a great deal of energy.
The final gig of the year in Gutersloh, Germany had been in the diary for most of the year and being a club date, indoors and not far from our base near Dortmund, it offered us with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the end of the year in style and amongst friends.
Simon and I decided to rendezvous at the airport at 4:30am for a flight that would see us land in Germany before most people have finished breakfast! Thorsten picked us up in Dortmund and we travelled the short distance to Hamm with a good feeling about the forthcoming gig that night.
We had discussed setlists via email over the previous week and following our aim to provide value for money for the ticket paying audience we had 35-40 songs in the locker, primed and ready for action.
Some of the new songs in the stand alone sets, such as Angel of Harlem and The Fly have become firm favourites over the year and together with A Question of Time and New Life being added to the Mode part of the set we were ready to serve up a feast of music and as Simon put it, 'Go out with a bang'!!!
The venue in Gutersloh was a former weaving factory built from industrial red brick and converted into a restaurant, bar and music venue. The stage ran the full width of the venue and after our soundcheck was bathed in a beautiful red glow.
Before a gig I like to have a walk around the venues to see what the audience will see. It’s sometimes very different from what the view from the stage looks like.
The intro track kicked in at 8.30pm with Jacky camped in the toilet. We have about 3 minutes before taking the stage and let’s just say, Mr Bierman cut it fine this time!!!
As this was the first time we have played in this area since our Beckum a few years ago we really didn't expect the reception we got when we took to the stage. Having said that the entire front row was made up of the t shirt clad army that are now a fixture of all our gigs. The 'travelling men and women' from Holland, Germany and Belgium were in fine form and voice and gave us a huge lift from start to finish (which we probably needed as both Simon and myself had now been awake for approx’ 38 hours!).
From the opening bars of New Gold Dream to the last note of Pride, we had been on stage for 3 hours and 20 minutes! And more importantly, had enjoyed every single second of it. Ok there were times when I could tell that the legs were more than slightly fatigued due to sleep deprivation, but we made it and that is what counts.
The Set was:
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A memorable show to end a memorable year.
You can see an excerpt from Enjoy the Silence here:
And check out more photos from the show in the gallery here.
It was especially great to see legendary remixer John Provyn from Belgium, who was not only experiencing his first M2M gig, but his first trip beyond his boarders.
To all of our friends and fans we would like to say thanks for your loyalty over the year. There are lots of great bands out there and we really appreciate the fact that you choose to show your continued support. We really hope we continue to impress you even after gig number 25, 35 or 50.
I’d also like to thank the extended M2M family including the legendary Marc Klemme who has played guitar on most of the 2011 dates, Dustin ‘Dougie’ Unfeld for standing in on drums and Dirk Schulte and Matthes Grothe who stood in for Jacky and Simon respectively.
Already we have some fantastic gigs confirmed for next year and others in contract stage. There are many miles for this band to travel and many, many more stories and tales to tell I'm sure.
The end of the year sees us with a renewed energy to continue the journey. I hope, and we hope that you’re coming along with us for the ride!