Shit Happens: How TOTU Is Not Cursed & Dave Gahan Is Not Old

August, 15, 2009 / 2 comments

By Amanda

This isn’t necessarily the topic I wanted to have for my first non-tour related post, but it seems fitting. As most fans know by now, today’s gig in Mountain View, California was cancelled as Dave was forced on 48-hour vocal rest. I also had three of my Germany shows cancelled earlier in the tour. This was to be my “hometown” show, at least as close to home as one could be when they live two hours away from the venue. This time yesterday, I was having a rough day at work, but was happily thinking that right now I’d be sitting in a bar with fellow Modefans from Home, Bong and the DMMB. Instead I’m AT home, almost wishing I had A bong and wondering how people can be so DUMB on the internet. I’m crushed, but I’m not angry. I have not been wronged by anyone, just simply unlucky. Unlike my boyfriend and several friends who planned on going to Shoreline, I am blessed enough to be seeing multiple shows on this tour. Not so for many NorCal fans, and my sympathies are with them.

Dave and Depeche Mode have certainly seen their fair share of “misfortune” this tour, haven’t they? People have been posting that the tour is cursed. ‘Curse Of The Universe’, to some, ‘Tour Of The Unicurse’, to others. I still refuse to call it cursed or unlucky. If Dave hadn’t fallen ill in Athens, it could have been quite some time before anyone discovered his low-grade bladder tumor. No cancer is friendly, but bladder cancer is one that can turn nasty, aggressive and hard to treat if not caught early. If not for intestinal trouble and zealous doctors, in time we could have been facing an uncertain or unthinkable future – at worst one without a wonderful person and amazing artist who has touched and inspired so many. For this reason, for himself, his family, friends and fans, I dare say I am tempted to call this tour “lucky.” Call me melodramatic if you must, but for him to have gone through everything he has and come out a better person for it, working hard to turn his life around, only to meet an untimely end by cancer unrecognized would not be unlucky – it would be tragedy.

Many fans have started attributing his health problems this tour to his being “old.” He’s only 47. News flash, people.. we’re in an era when people can live to be 113. This is logic I’m tired of seeing. Cancer knows no age. Millions of people under the age of 40 have had the disease – just look at all the children’s cancer centers and charities. Perfectly healthy tweens and teens tear muscles while playing soccer or basketball, despite regular practices and stretching routines. Singers of any age can over-extend their vocals in a night of excess fervor, just as a trained chef can burn their finger in a boisterous stir-frying session. Dave is getting older, as we all are, but I think to blame everything on age is a crutch. The man is in better shape than many of the people for which he performs, many of whom are his junior by 10 years. Sure, he did a lot of damage to his body in the past, which may play a role, but he appears to do everything he can now to ensure he takes the best care of his body and it appears to be working well. As none of us are his personal physician, we’re in no position to make judgements. I just find it terribly sad that we live in an ageist society that stops believing in one’s abilities upon the 30th year.

In my life, I’ve found that fortune works in interesting ways. For every peaceful time, there are equal and opposite tumultuous times. The pendulum of life swings between the two, with a subtle pause at either end before it dips and swings back again. Without the storm, we tend to take the sun for granted. It appears Dave, and by auxiliary Depeche Mode, are in a tumultuous period. The calf-tear and vocal strain merely a series of unfortunate events following a blessing disguised as misfortune. I speculate Dave probably hasn’t taken his life for granted in some 13 years, but I think fans may have. No – by the sheer amount of disrespectful, conspiracy-mongering posts I have seen over the last two tours, I’m sure of it. While there are indeed kind and empathetic, if at least plain practical, fans out there, the amount of fans with an egregious sense of entitlement is baffling. Yes, we as fans lose a lot when Depeche Mode cancels shows – potentially thousands of dollars on travel and other expenses. But that’s the risk we take. One never knows if a natural disaster might hit and destroy our vacation plans – but do we blame the travel broker for the hurricane that leveled the city of destination? No. However, DM is not a product – what we have in these situations is a living breathing person’s health. A man who has lived through worse things and has been nothing but dedicated to giving more than his every ounce to entertain us for nearly 30 years, despite incidents ranging from broken ribs to a heart attack to the flu. He’s had a LOT of shit flung in his face off-and-on over the last 13-14 years for drugs, solo albums, and illness beyond his control, but he still comes back for more. Why on Earth should we call into question his integrity now? A person doesn’t have that kind of spirit for money, only for the love of what he does.

It’s unfortunate for Dave that he has to deal with these things in the public sphere with hundreds of thousands of fans’ joy on the line. Anyone who thinks for a second that he doesn’t feel remorse for this may need their head examined. I don’t know Dave, I can’t speak for him. What I can attempt to speak for is perspective. How would we feel if we had tens of thousands of people were let down because of our health problems we couldn’t control? When we have health problems, it rarely ripples beyond our immediate friends, family and coworkers. When Depeche Mode have trouble, the aftershocks can be felt for thousands of miles, thousands of kilobytes and thousands of people. Not a position I’d envy on my worst day.

Stay well, Dave, and godspeed, Depeche Mode.

Source: Blog Of The Universe

Photography: Amanda [usaku] Click here for amazing pictures by usaku on Flickr

2 Responses to Shit Happens: How TOTU Is Not Cursed & Dave Gahan Is Not Old

  • SWG

    Eloquent and truthful. We should all have this insight and empathy for others. Well done Amanda

  • Pixelintime

    Like a breath of fresh air…. Thank you for articulating so eloquently what I’ve been wanting to express to a few bitter apples. I loved DM before most in LA knew who they were— I will love them long after the ugly idiocracy is long gone. Healing vibes for Dave. Many well-wishes DM (& Alan!) 😉