Sunday 20 March 2016


On 29 March 1986, Depeche Mode kicked off the Black Celebration World Tour at the Apollo Theatre in Oxford. The first leg of the tour was the U.K. leg and it featured 13 concerts, most of which were the biggest venues Depeche had headlined at the stage in their career, seeing Depeche Mode were play the country's arenas for the first time. As we'll see over the next couple of days, their reputation as a live band began to grow as a result of this tour.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

The first leg of the tour was as follows:

29 March 1986 - Apollo Theatre, Oxford
31 March 1986 - Brighton Centre, Brighton
2 April - RDS Arena, Dublin (not strictly U.K. obviously, but it's here for ease)
Backstage pass from Dublin, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

4 April - Maysfield Centre, Belfast
6 April - S.E.C.C Glasgow

Live Glasgow 6 April, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos

7 April - Whitley Bay Ice Rink, Whitley Bay
9 April - Birmingham N.E.C.

Martin, Birmingham 9 April, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

10 April - Birmingham N.E.C.
12 April - Manchester Apollo, Manchester
13 April - Hippodrome, Bristol
14 April - Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth
16 April - Wembley Arena, London

Live Wembley Arena 16 April, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

17 April - Wembley Arena, London

The first two shows are one of only three shows in which the tour setlist altered. The setlist for Oxford and Brighton was:

Christmas Island
Black Celebration
A Question Of Time
Fly On The Windscreen
Shake The Disease
Leave In Silence
It's Called A Heart
Everything Counts
It Doesn't Matter Two (Martin)
A Question Of Lust (Martin)
Here Is The House
Blasphemous Rumours
New Dress
Something To Do
Master & Servant
People Are People
Boys Say Go! (Encore 1)
Just Can't Get Enough (Encore 1)
More Than A Party (Encore 2)

After these two shows, Here Is The House was dropped and not played again on the tour. Thankfully, there is a live version available, more of which tomorrow. Other than one slight change to the setlist for the last gig of the whole tour, 73 out of the 76 gigs featured the same setlist. Just think - people moan about the lack of variation these days.

Support on all U.K. dates came from Hula, a Sheffield based four piece who sounded like this in 1985, so I guess they weren't that different in 1986:

As well as enjoying the Depeche live experience, you could also of course buy some rather wonderful merchandise. The picture below shows what was on offer:

Picture courtesy of

The tour t-shirt, sweatshirt and "deisgner top" all look wonderful and occasionally pop up on Ebay. The £37 you would have paid for all three combined then will no doubt be a comparative bargain when you look at what they'd cost today.

Finally on the U.K. leg front, the show at Wembley Arena on 16 April was filmed, but never released officially. YouTube saves the day though, and the whole show can be enjoyed there. Seeing as I am so good to you all though, why not watch it right now:

Enough of the U.K. then, let's embark on the 2nd leg of the tour, the  first European leg of the Black Celebration tour:

24 April - Skedsmohallen, Oslo
25 April - Scandinavium, Gothenburg
26 April - Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stickholm
28 April - Valby Hallen, Copengahen

Newspaper ad fro Valby-Hallen gig, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

29 April - Eilenriedehalle, Hanover
30 April - Eurogress, Aachen
2 May - Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart
3 May - Rudi Sedlmayer Halle, Munich

Extract from Band and Crew Tour itinerary for Munich, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos
4 May - Hallenstadion, Zurich
6 May - Bercy Omnisports, Paris
7 May - Bercy Omnisports, Paris
8 May - Palais de Sports de Gerland, Lyon
10 May - Forest National, Brussels
11 May - Philips Halle, Dusseldorf
13 May - Friedrich Ebert Halle, Ludwigshafen
14 May - Saarlandhalle, Saarbrucken
16 May - Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg
17 May - Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg
18 May - Waldbuhne, West Berlin
20 May - Munsterlandhalle, Munster
21 May - Stadthalle, Bremen
22 May - Westfalenhalle, Dortmund
24 May - Ahoy Rotterdam, Rotterdam
25 May - Walter Kobel Halle, Russelsheim

Depeche Mode Live in Rotterdam 24 May 1986 courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

On this leg, support on all dates came from Book Of Love, a Philadelphia/New York based synthpop quartet whose debut self titled album was released in 1986.  Here's the self titled track from that self titled album:

Sparing no time, Depeche Mode headed across the Atlantic to start their North American tour. This was the point where Depeche broke through in America, selling out huge venues with little or no radio support and a record company who thought But Not Tonight was a better choice of single than Stripped. I think I may have mentioned the latter part previously. Book Of Love were support on all dates with The Blah Brothers, consisting of longtime band aide Daryl Bamonte and Nobby Marr, joining in occasionally and Animotion adding to Book Of Love on the Irvine Meadows dates. Animotion were a Los Angeles synthpop band apparently best known for this track Obsession:

The Blah Brothers only exist in dodgy live footage such as this song, Theme From Blah, filmed, funnily enough on another Depeche support slot in Warsaw on 30 July 1985. This is from Daryl's own YouTube page:

So now you know. Let's have a look at the Depeche tour dates for North America:

1 June - Wang Center, Boston
3 June - Tower Theater, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
4 June - Tower Theater, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
6 June - Radio City Music Hall, New York

(listen to an interview with Martin recorded that day here - LISTEN - thanks to DM Live Wiki)

7 June - Radio City Music Hall, New York
8 June - Radio City Music Hall, New York

Live Radio City Music Hall courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

10 June - Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
12 June - Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua
13 June - Jones Beach Amphitheater, Wantagh
13 June - Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland
17 June - Verdun Auditorium, Montreal
18 June - Kingswood Music Theater, Vaughan, Ontario
20 June - Kingswood Music Theater, Vaughan, Ontario
21 June - Pine Knob Music Theater, Clarkston, Michigan (Attendance of 10,160)
22 June - Poplar Creek Music Theater, Illinois (Attendance of 7,216)
24 June - Civic Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Ticket for St Paul, Minnesota courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

26 June - Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, texas
28 June - City Coliseum, Austin, Texas
29 June - Southern Star Amphitheater, Houston, Texas
1 July - Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado (The Blah Brothers and Book Of Love, attendance of 7,927)
3 July - Park West Amphitheater, Park City, Utah (The Blah Brothers and Book Of Love)
5 July - Hearst Greek Theater, Berkeley, California (Attendance of 8,500 - a sell out)

Dave live, Hearst Greek Theatre 5 July 1986 courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

6 July - Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, California (Attendance of 6,664)
8 July - Labatt's Expo Theatre, Vancouver
11 July - San Diego Sports Arena, San Deigo (Attendance of 10,776)
13 July - The Forum, Inglewood, California

Poster for the show at The Forum courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos. Scanned by Rob Rohm

14 July - Meadows Amphitheater, Irvine, California (Animotion and Book Of Love)
15 July - Meadows Amphitheater, Irvine, California (Animotion and Book Of Love)

Alan in action at Meadows Amphitheater, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

The live parts for the video to A Question Of Time were filmed at the last two gigs.

The fourth leg of the tour saw the band briefly tour Japan. There was no support on these shows.

21 July - Festival Hall, Osaka
22 July - Aichi Kosei Nenkin Kaikan, Nagoya
23 July  - NHK Hall, Tokyo

Dave live in Tokyo 23 July courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

Finally, the band returned to Europe for a run of seven dates in August. Support on the first six of these was meant to come from Eyeless in Gaza, a horrifically named duo from Nuneaton, England who are, in fact, named after a book by Aldous Huxley. They sound like this:

Grim. As i said, they were meant to support on six of the seven dates, but they turned up late for the opening gig in Frejus, France, so our heroes The Blah Brothers stepped in and supported instead. The full dates were:

4 August - Les Arenes, Frejus, France
5 August - Stadio Comunale, Pietra Ligure, Italy

Live Pietra Ligure 5 August, courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

6 August - Stadio Comunale, Rimini, Italy
8 August - Arenes de Nimes, Nimes, France
9 August - Stade Le Vieux, Annecy, France
11 August - Esplanade du Stade, Royan, France - Note: This gig was cancelled
12 August - Les Arenes, Bayonne, France

Bayonne ticket courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos

16 August - Valby Idraetspark, Copengahen

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos

This last gig was special. As you can see from the poster above, the support came from Public Panic, Talk Talk and New Order. I guess you know two of the supports there. Public Panic were a Danish three piece whose one and only album I Al Offentlighed was released in 1985. I've not been able to source any of their material unfortunately. The album cover looks like this though:

There is an excellent recording of this gig available, as we'll read about tomorrow, and I recommend you all get it. Do you remember way back at the start of this post I mentioned a third and final setlist change? Well that happened here. Instead of It Doesn't Matter Two, Martin sang Somebody. 

And there, the Black Celebration Tour ended. A very hungover Depeche Mode can be seen on the Black Celebration re-issue dvd hanging around the airport the day after, no doubt looking forward to their first early night in nearly 6 months. The tour they'd just finished had seen them become a hugely popular live act and it laid the foundations for the subsequent success of the next few years. 


  1. Great article. Thanks.
    On the other hand, it is funny what you (European and American people) consider a World Tour is

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thank you for another excellent article. When I saw them at Whitley Bay I'm sure the support act were called Bim - I'm open to being corrected!! ;-)

  4. This brought back great memories for me. :) I was at the Poplar Creek show, in Illinois. I remember Book of Love very well, too -- I bought their album and became a fan after they opened for Depeche during this tour.

  5. I caught this tour in Fort Worth TX and was introduced to Book of Love and became an immediate fan of BOL ... I remember the stage power dropped right at the end of a song and they had to reboot everything .. The concert was EPIC to say the least :)

  6. My first ever gig was the night at Oxford Apollo. I never knew it was the first night of the tour until today!