Wednesday, 29 August 2018

DEPECHE MODE LIVE IN SCOTLAND PART 3: 1982

The post Global Spirit Tour Project break is over and it's back to work both in the day job and in the blogging sense. The Live In Scotland series (part 1 here and part 2 here) took a back seat because of the tour but it's now back. This episode looks at the band's three concerts in Scotland in 1982 which includes their first ever trip to my hometown Glasgow. It would not have been possible to write this without the three contributors Robert Weir, Trevor Thomson and Raymond Perry - thank you very much to each of you. Thanks you too to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos for the photos (all theirs unless otherwise credited) and to DM Live Wiki for the links to the live shows. 



Depeche Mode live at Tiffany's, Glasgow, October 19, 1982
In 1982, Depeche Mode played 3 concerts in Scotland, one at the start of the year and two towards the end. For the first time, the band were touring without Vince Clarke. In his place was, of course, Alan Wilder, at that point the Peter Gordeno of his time*, playing with the band while not being a member. He would of course soon join up officially and he would remain a band member until 1995. If the internet had existed in 1982, I presume there would have been as much debate about Vince leaving as there continues to be about Alan leaving now. Anyway, post Vince, Depeche were a three piece band who turned into a four piece band for live purposes. Here is the story of how they rocked or, more accurately, synthed Scotland in 1982.

(* Please note this was a joke. Don't hound me online and send me threatening emails. For the avoidance of doubt, Alan is NOT Peter Gordeno. Peter is far more talented.**)

(**Also a joke. Although Peter is a talented musician. Anyway...enough of this nonsense. One rule of DM blogging, indeed the only rule - never mention Alan. Or joke about Alan. Ok, two rules.)



21 February 1982, Tiffany's, Glasgow

The band's first post Vince tour was known as the See You tour. In case you didn't spot the cleverly hidden reason why it was called that, the band were on the road in support of their first ever Martin Gore written single, the glorious See You. It's a song that still remains the band's biggest selling U.K. single. That's right - it even outsold Soothe My Soul.  The See You tour took in Tiffany's in Glasgow, a venue that hosted many wonderful bands including Yazoo. Around the time Depeche played there, they were in a rose in a crown of punk thorns as you can see:


Tiffany's is now a Genting casino sadly, but back in 1982 it was a much more interesting place. It started life as the Locarno Ballroom in 1926, featuring a sprung dancefloor and a revolving stage among other things. No evidence exists of whether or not that stage was used for the Depeche show. 

The Locarno in 1982
From the first ever Scottish Professional Dancing Championships in 1928 via the Glasgow gang violence of the 50's and 60's, the Locarno turned into Tiffany's and, twice in 1982, it featured Depeche Mode's own professional dancer, Fletch and, thankfully, very little violence. It closed in the late 80's, turning into the casino it still is today. As you can see, while it was open, Tiffany's very much went for a Scottish feel:


At Depeche Mode's show was Robert Weir, now resident in Toronto. I asked Robert what his recollections of the gig were.

"I remember the sound of the synths. It was my first ever concert, and the power of the sound vibrating through me just reeled me in. This was the night I fell in love with electronic music. 

Blancmange were the support and they got the crowd ready for DM. I remember the anticipation in the venue as it filled with dry ice. There were empty synths and a tape machine in the middle of the stage and then the band walked on, coming on to a long intro of Shout and the crowd went nuts. Alan, the new guy, was there. They played an unreleased song, The Meaning Of Love and, in the encore, they covered a Gerry & The Pacemakers song, I Like It - I knew that from my parents record collection.

At the end of the show, I remember not wanting to leave the venue as it had been one of the best experiences of my life. It paid off as one of the bouncers told me to go to the stairs leading up to the balcony so that I could meet the band. I was fourth in line and was star struck. I told them I thought the show was amazing. Earlier. I'd bought a programme which was basically a fold out poster with dates, lyrics and an introduction to Alan. I no longer have it, but Alan and Dave signed it. I told Alan I thought he was great to which he said "thanks" and when I told Dave how much I'd enjoyed the show he said "thanks a lot mate" in a strong Essex accent.

With that, I was ushered along and left the venue a happy man."

The setlist for the Tiffany's gig was:

Shout
I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
Boys Say Go!
Puppets
See You
Big Muff
Now, This Is Fun
Ice Machine
New Life
Tora! Tora! Tora!
The Meaning Of Love
Just Can't Get Enough
What's Your Name?
Photgraphic
Dreaming Of Me
I Like It

Happily, the concert was recorded for broadcast by Glasgow's Clyde FM. It's a superb recording which you can grab from the ever wonderful DM Live Wiki right here: Tiffany's Feb 82

Listen to it all obviously, but, in particular, listen to See You. The band's equipment clearly couldn't replicate the vocal sample lines, so the band sing them. It's quite wonderful.

The band then left Scotland, returning for...

Depeche Mode live at Tiffany's, Glasgow, 19 October 1982

19 October 1982, Tiffany's, Glasgow

Unlike the last gig at Tiffany's, the band had an album to support with the still brilliant A Broken Frame released on 27 September that year. This isn't an album review thing but never ignore the fact that this maligned Depeche album features genuine greats like Leave In Silence, My Secret Garden, Monument, Satellite, See You and The Sun And The Rainfall. This was songwriting far beyond the years of the then thrust into the spotlight Martin L Gore. Sublime electro goth music (See You aside) that pointed the way to the band they became.

Anyway, back to Scotland. The Depeche show at Tiffany's in the October was markedly different from the February show. The setlist was:

Oberkorn (It's A Small Town)
My Secret Garden
See You
Satellite
New Life
Boys Say Go!
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Leave In Silence
Nothing To Fear
Shouldn't Have Done That
Monument
The Meaning Of Love
Just Can't Get Enough
A Photograph Of You
The Sun And The Rainfall
Shout
Photographic
Dreaming Of Me

Firstly, what a setlist. Secondly - the pop nonsense of A Photograph Of You followed by the majesty of The Sun And The Rainfall and Shout? Bold and genius. I love this era of Depeche Mode.



Anyway, as I mentioned above about Tiffany's, look at this line up around the time this gig took place:


Good grief. I wasn't at any of those shows, let alone the Depeche one, but Robert Weir was. I asked him a few things about Tiffany's.

"On the A Broken Frame Tour at Tiffany's, the support was Matt Fretton. I  loved his song So High immediately. This tour seemed slicker. It had a great tour programme featuring with imagery from the album and pictures of the band. 

I remember the long intro of Oberkorn which was the b-side of The Meaning Of Love opening. Then they went into My Secret Garden before they came on stage with the familiar tape machine centre stage. 

Check shirts were the thing and Dave was dancing all over the stage, seeming more confident than earlier that year. Again, the show was amazing, and I remember being glad they didn't do any cover versions.

All the young dudes
Having shown Glasgow a good time, it was only logical Depeche Mode headed along the M8 to Edinburgh. That could only mean...


20 October 1982, Playhouse, Edinburgh

The Playhouse in Edinburgh is an institution. Opening in 1929, it has hosted Depeche Mode on no less than four occasions, the last being on 17 January 1988 when, oddly, the Music For The Masses tour ended up there. It capacity of 3,059 people makes it an unlikely place for a gig almost exactly five months to the day they'd play the Pasadena Rose Bowl but (1) Britain always had an odd relationship with the band and (2) Britain got Depeche Mode very wrong.

Anyway, here's the Playhouse:



I've genuinely no idea when that picture was taken, but whenever it was, the Playhouse still looks like that right now. And that's right now as in whenever you're reading this - 2018, 2019 or, if Depeche Mode are still a thing then, in 2099. The Playhouse will always look like this.

To the concert then. Interestingly, and no doubt to the fury of whatever passed for forums in those days, the band played the same set they'd played at Tiffany's at the Playhouse. Yes, even way back then, setlist rotation was not really a thing. There are no recordings of these two shows available as I write this. If you have them, please get in touch with me or Matthew at DM Live Wiki as they would be a great addition to the site. If you want to hear this setlist live, check out the superb soundboard recording from the London show on October 25 on DM Live Wiki right here - London, 25 October 1982.

Picture courtesy of Trevor Thomson

Trevor Thomson, whose recollections of the band's 1981 gigs we heard in Part 1, was at the Playhouse gig (see his ticket above). Once again I annoyed him enough to have him tell us a bit more about this gig:

"This was the only time I saw Depeche in 1982. The Playhouse is all seated so it was odd seeing DM in a venue like that however the audience weren't all seated for long. Matt Fretton was the support and was essentially twenty years ahead of his time, singing and dancing along to a backing track, engaging with the front rows of the stalls. 

As far as Depeche Mode were concerned, things had certainly moved on since I saw them in November 1981. They were now playing theatres rather than clubs so they knew they had to put on a show. This fell to Dave who was engaging the audience throughout the show. He'd seemed, if not aloof, then slightly nervous in 1981 but he was much more confident this time. 

Trevor's A Broken Frame programme - picture courtesy of Trevor Thomson

The thrust of Depeche Mode's songs had switched from what was essentially happy, up tempo pop to the more reflective and at times brooding sound of Martin's songs. The songs from A Broken Frame were darker in general, apart from The Meaning Of Love. Oberkorn was dark in an almost Low era Bowie way and even Just Can't Get Enough had a darker edge as they played the Schizo Mix live.

More success for the band meant a theatre, more space on stage, a sit down audience and much better and more impressive keyboards although I was pretty impressed by the machines I'd seen them play before then. There was definitely a change in mood from the 1981 shows. They presented themselves as a shiny pop band but that wasn't reflected in their performance. Dave was a confident broody singer.

I came away thoroughly entertained. I could tell they were already becoming bigger and bit more distant however. It's a massive leap from the front row of two club style gigs to the fifth row of a theatre. Success had put them on the album-tour commercial readmill. They were probably thinking "we have to take this while we can because we don't know how long it will last." They certainly have lasted!"

The badges Trevor bought at the gig - photo courtesy of Trevor Thomson

The show at the Playhouse was featured in the magazine Patches. The band looked tremendously fresh faced on the cover:

Awwwww

I wonder what if the Lacy Fashion section inspired Martin's clothing in 1983? There was also an article telling us a bit about the tour


With Trevor's story of the gig, we can account for one of the 3,059 people there that night. Because I aim to be as thorough as I can, we can also now hear from someone else, Raymond Perry. Raymond is life long DM fan and he and I managed to meet up before the Manchester gig last year. Here's what he recalls of the Playhouse show:

"I'd never been to a gig before as I was only 14, so I didn't know what to expect. The keyboard players appeared through the smoke to the tune of Oberkorn. Dave then appeared and turned on the reel to reel tape recorder, leading the band into the opening My Secret Garden. I thought to myself "these guys are fantastic." They blew me away.

It was a long show and I became a fan for life after it. I started buying their back catalogue including A Broken Frame. It's such a brilliant album - I still love it today.

I used to love the baggy clothes the band wore in those days. I even loved the patterned jumpers too. How times have changed!"

The band's schedule for the day


And that was that. Depeche Mode boarded their tourbus and headed for Newcastle for a gig on the 21st of October. They would return to both the Playhouse and Tiffany's in 1983 on the Construction Time Again tour and we will have a look at that next time.

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Thank you very much to Robert Weir, Trevor Thomson and Raymond Perry for their help putting this together. Thanks too to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group and to DM Live Wiki

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