Saturday 30 June 2018


The final leg of the Global Spirit Tour is making its way round a series of European festivals and on 28 June they stopped by the Tinderbox festival to headline the Thursday night slot. The review of that gig is by Peter Philipsen who will be better known to many of you as Peter Too, one of the Mod team at the best Depeche site there is -  Home. It's great to have Peter involved in this project and it'll come as no surprise to find that his review is an absolute cracker. Thanks so much for this Peter and for the photos too.

Depeche Mode’s gig at the Tinderbox festival was a triumph. Perhaps not in and of itself, but it’s certainly a symbol of a band who, nearly 40 years into their career, is more successful than ever. Yes, ladies and lads… EVER. Not bad for an “80’s band”, right? There exists in Depeche Mode-lore this romantic notion that the band were at the zenith of their popularity in the late 80s and early 90s, back when they were living the lives of tortured artists to the max and breaking new ground; and that they’ve been “not the same”, “not as good” or “not as popular” since. 

Don’t believe me? Comb through a forum or two - these ideas are actually pretty common, and it’s certainly how they are perceived by the uninitiated. And it is nonsense. Apart from “not the same” - they’re clearly not. The rest though… nonsense.

Allow me, dear fellow fan and reader, to make my rambling, scarcely thought through case.

Depeche Mode’s Tinderbox appearance was a first in more ways than one: It was their first gig in Denmark’s third largest city; it was their first gig on Denmark’s second largest island (of which we’ve got more than 1400), and it was their first festival gig in Denmark. But these things are mere trivial curiosities (I’m being generous here - none of that matters in the slightest). 

No, the “first” that I really want to talk about is that this show marked the first time ever Depeche Mode amassed an attendance of more than 100.000 people during a single tour in this tiny country. Over the course of their three “Global Spirit Tour” shows in Denmark they’ve played to an estimated 102.484 people. And that - in a country of less than 6 million people - is pretty impressive. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that no other band has ever done that*. 

So how does that mean they’re at their most successful ever? Well compare those numbers to the overly romanticised hey-day: Back then the band played to about 27.000 people in Copenhagen… if you add up the totals for the Music For The Masses, Violator and Songs Of Faith And Devotion tours that is. Yup… those tours combined: 27.000 people. That’s 9000 per tour**. 

In fact if you combine the audience totals for the band’s shows in Denmark during the Broken Frame, Construction Time Again, Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Music For The Masses, World Violation, Devotional, The Singles 86-98 and Exciter tours - all of their 80s, 90s and one of the noughties shows - then it works out at roughly the same attendance in Denmark as during the three “Global Spirit Tour” shows here.

So at least from the perspective of our wonderful little duck pond of a country, Depeche Mode are bigger and more successful than ever. And even if Tinderbox in itself wasn’t all that special (and it wasn’t, but we’re getting to that), I think that’s still cause for celebration.

So let’s talk about the show. This was the first time I’ve seen this revamped, abbreviated festival set. It seems it’s still a work in progress, and the band are still adjusting it, but from what I saw at Tinderbox they have found a very effective festival formula. 

Compared to the previous legs the festival set lacked surprises and it was much shorter - especially compared to the first leg of the tour. Every song - all 15 of them - were singles… and most of them hits to boot. 

For me personally that’s not necessarily a good thing. I like the odd album track and surprise here and there, and this gig offered none of that. I was especially disappointed we didn’t get The Things You Said. On the plus side for me was the re-shuffling of tracks towards the end of the gig. Closing the main set with Personal Jesus and Never Let Me Down Again worked really well, and finishing the encore with Enjoy The Silence and Just Can’t Get Enough”was absolutely ace. 

So for me personally the setlist was a bit of a mixed bag. For a festival audience however this was just what the doctor ordered. It simply worked. 

And the band looked and sounded great - and put in one helluva performance. The live video production seems to have been given the once over, and comes across far better than earlier in the tour, and the absence of the elaborate staging didn’t really take anything away the performance. And the band’s energy was spot on - which I think is impressive 100+ shows into the tour.

*) I’ve got no maths or stats to back that up - and I’m hoping someone out there will check up on this.
**) Did actually do the math on that one. 27.000 divided by 3… wasn’t hard.


Thanks Peter

Tuesday 26 June 2018


For the first time since 2006 and for only the second time ever, Depeche Mode headlined a UK festival last Saturday, topping the bill above the likes of Liam Gallagher and other equally..erm...talented (?) acts. As this was a momentous thing for the band, we have not one but two reviews of the show. The second of these is from long time Depeche fan and long time blog supporter Adele Mitchell whose review and pictures you can read and see below. Thanks very much for the great review Adele.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

What a weekend! I only bought a day pass for the Saturday as (obviously) my main focus was on seeing Depeche Mode. So, in typical Mitchell fashion, I managed to get absolutely hammered the Friday night before so I inevitably woke up wanting to die! Spending 12hrs in the sun was not something I was looking forward to if I am truly honest but I had serious Marty spotting to do so I sucked it up. 

First up to see was Louise in the Big Top (although shout-out to Rhythm Valley in Electro Love who did some fantastic 80s soul covers) Anyway, Louise was absolutely fantastic, proving that she wasn’t just the token white girl in Eternal as boy can she sing. Also, the male backing dancers all took their tops off, so WIN!

After that we made our way over to the main stage to see Blossoms and James Bay. I have never been to a festival before, so was not quite prepared for the sheer number of people who would be there and whether I would even be able to see the band on stage!! 

As you can see from the photo below, I had reason to be worried

That’s James Bay if you are so interested

Next up was Liam Gallagher (the main reason for a lot of DM fans NOT attending this festival). Even though I will begrudging admit, he did put on a good show, particularly the Oasis numbers. But, yes, his fans were mostly drunken louts who were only there to see him. Hence why, after they had cleared out, I got this much closer for my Marty stalking, they must have been packed in there like sardines!!

Not perfect but at least I could make out the band and was plenty of space around me for a bit of a boogie. 

I attended with a work colleague & his father. Andy is a DM fan too but has not seen them live for many, many years. He knows and understands my absolute adoration for the band and a certain blonde genius (I don’t even apologise for this particular obsession), so he was fairly up on what we could expect. I really didn’t expect there to be much change from the recent North American shows, just a slightly shortened one given the 105min set time. 

The band took to the stage (5 mins late, how tardy boys) and belted out Going Backwards. Dave was prowling the stage and really showing those that didn’t really know the band what he can do. A new one on this tour for me in Policy Of Truth and it sounded fantastic (well apart from Mart being a beat too late on his synth and then struggling to catch up). Precious sounded utterly fantastic, a much rockier guitar and World In My Eyes has Dave & Martin in very high spirits, they really seemed to be enjoying themselves but I was beginning to notice something. No-one around me seemed to be singing along or really interacting with Dave on all his vocal instructions, and I really think this was starting to frustrate him. I guess that is the gamble you take with doing a festival.

Then came the moment I had been waiting for, Martin’s little solo set & my weeks of hoping came true. I got to see The Things You Said and I will admit, I cried. Happy tears but heartfelt ones too, it was absolutely gorgeous. Elation then turned to devastation when WE GOT NO HOME!!!! Yes the crowd would not have done the singalong (blimey, it would have been epic if they had) but I expect, no demand, that this is played at any show I attend and really he should have known this. 

Everything Counts really got the crowd going, brilliant singalong that petered out towards the end, started up in one corner & made its way around everyone only to start up again. I hope the band enjoyed it as much as I did. I was surprised to see Personal Jesus so early in the set but as Dave commented “WAKEY WAKEY” as it really did get the crowd going and Never Let Me Down Again wave looked amazing on the big screens. 

Another break (which I wasn’t expecting) and a beautifully sung Somebody from Martin (too much to have asked for I Want You Now or Home I suppose?) I really don’t think he has sung better than on this tour, but I am extremely biased.

Walking In My Shoes was as awesome as always and then another surprise, Just Can’t Get Enough. I know that this song has its haters but I bloody love it. Really gets everyone going and I think even the band are beginning to enjoy performing it. Fantastic singalong from the crowd, not the best of videos but hopefully you get the gist:

Ending on Enjoy The Silence, I really do think that everyone enjoyed the set and hopefully they picked up some new fans too.

A very long day finally ended for me at 01.30, arriving at my hotel after a 45 minute bus ride totally shattered with my legs and feet aching, but totally wired after such an amazing show. Of course I would do it again in a heartbeat, but if this is the last time I ever see them live, I'm a happy bunny - well apart from no Home!

Everyone else still seeing them on tour, have fun and don’t dance too much.


Thank you Adele


Part One of the Isle of Wight Festival special comes from Sue Lawrence, a Depeche Mode fan from Littlehampton in England. Sue was wearing one of this blog's t-shirts for the Depeche set which was very good of her. Two chaps I've met a few times on the tour (hello Mark and Garry) recognised it and went up to her to say hello. What a strange world we live in! Thanks very much for this review Sue. Glad you enjoyed the festival - I wonder if any Louise fans have checked the blog out since then? All pictures are Sue's unless otherwise credited.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

I was excited and apprehensive when DM were announced as Saturday headliners. Excited because it was another chance for me to see them on this tour, but apprehensive in case they didn't pull a big crowd, and no-one liked them. Well, in the end it was a SOLD OUT Festival. I'd like to attribute this solely to DM; but more than likely it was the combined popularity of the headliners and the fact that Glastonbury is not on this year. 

This is my 3rd IOW Festival and 5th Global Spirit Tour show. 

To secure a reasonably good FOS position, I found myself amongst fans of Liam Gallagher. He was the warm-up (sorry, couldn't resist!) for Depeche Mode. As expected there was a bit of banter from him with the crowd "well what do you expect me to play to a bunch of Depeche Mode fans? I may as well f*ck off". (Or words to that effect). It felt a bit like being an 'away' fan who accidentally got in with the 'home' crowd at a football match. I pretended I knew all the words, until he finished his set.

To be fair to Liam, I enjoyed his album but his set relied heavily on Oasis songs. There are quite a few comparisons between him and Dave Gahan. Front man turned song-writer and finally having some success in his own right. 

With the help of a couple of DM T-shirt-clad chaps who came to my rescue (thanks lads, if you are reading this), I got my spot near the end of a short and very steep catwalk. 

The usual pre-gig music started and the familiar Jackson Pollock styled screens flickered on and off intermittently, as the band took the stage to the opening of Going Backwards. I had a momentary sick feeling that the screens were going to fail, as they have on a number of occasions on this tour, and I thought I caught a nervous look from Dave as he glanced towards them. But it was all fine. 

The crowd were unusually (for a Depeche show) dressed mainly in Gold. This was the 50th Anniversary IOW Festival and everyone had been asked to help celebrate by wearing Gold on Saturday. The band must have wondered if they were at the right event. 

Dave could have participated in his own small way by wearing his gold boots, but contrarily chose his red ones instead. 

As expected the set-list had been reduced and rearranged, either to satisfy a festival timetable and crowd, or to accommodate a Sky broadcast. So I really did not know what or when to expect it. 

Dave has said that he believes that a show should take the audience on a journey, that there should be highs and lows, dark and shade. This set-list ebbed and flowed, and built slowly and steadily until even the most indifferent bunch of young Liam fans beside me, were dancing wildly to Policy Of Truth and World In My Eyes. 

Things cooled down slightly for Cover Me, The Things You Said (first time for me) and In Your Room. 

Then came the genius run of Everything Counts, Stripped, and Personal Jesus (which had been the show closer for the tour so-far) and, for a brief moment, I thought the set had come to an end. If it had, I think most of the audience would have felt they had got a good show. The sing-a-long and audience participation was fitting for a show-closer. 

But, of course more was yet to come. How could I forget Never Let Me Down Again? This was epic as always, with the ubiquitous arm waving. I remember how that felt the first time I witnessed it. Surely, knowing this would be a cut-down set-list it had to be the end? 

But, I was pretty certain Walking In My Shoes would be played because I had been rudely awakened in my tent at 6:30 in the morning, by the intro booming a mile across the site from Mainstage. A schoolboy error if they were sound checking, given that about 50,000 people were still sleeping off the effects of the previous night. 

After a brief interval, Martin performed Somebody (I'm not a fan and would have preferred Home, if I'm honest). Then Walking In My Shoes which is my personal all-time favourite Depeche song (apart from when it wakes me at 6:30 in the morning, in my tent, at a festival, after a Kasabian show). 

Bloody hell! Just Can't Get Enough! Genius! That was a shock. Love it or hate it. People know it. (Even if it is because of the Churchill Insurance TV advert). It makes people dance and sing. That is what people like to do at festivals. It was like one huge party. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Yet, there was even more to come with Enjoy The Silence. With the crowd fully behind them, they launched into the song with Anton's puzzling animal video showing on the big screen. What the Depeche newbies thought of it I do not know, but the song was a resounding success, and brought the show to a close on a triumphant high. 

The band themselves seemed on good form. Fletch was moving his arms about quite a lot more than usual, Martin was conducting Christian on the drums, Dave was good-naturedly mimicking Fletch's moves with a laugh, and he even pointed the T-shirt cannon at Martin. He was also considerably chattier than normal and took a light-hearted swipe back at Liam "It's been a long day, and now you get to see the best"! 

Perhaps now would have been a good opportunity to roll out People Are People after all these years. I think it would have been well received and lifted the early part of the set. Although in my opinion it was a good crowd-pleasing set-list for a festival.

Leaving the field, I felt proud to be a Mode fan, hearing nothing but positive comments from the audience. 

It was also great to meet Gary and Mark before the show, two Mode fans who spotted me in my Almost Predictable Almost T-shirt and came and introduced themselves. I hope you enjoyed the show lads. 

Finally thank you to David for the Global Spirit Tour Project blog, and for giving me the chance to be a part of it. Thanks also for the T-shirt, and apologies if I was spotted wearing it earlier, bopping away at The Big Top Stage to Louise (of Eternal). 

I write this, sitting in the sun outside my tent, the morning after the show. I feel a little sadness as I think that this may very well have been my final Depeche Mode show. 

Speculation is rife that after the two Berlin shows later this year, the band may call it a day. If that is the case, then I am happy that they went out on a high and that the Doubting Thomas's were silenced.


Thanks Sue

Thursday 21 June 2018


For the first time on this project business, we welcome Marcel de Groot who is your reviewer for the Boston gig. Marcel has been very involved in the project however as he managed to save the day in St Petersburg when it looked like we'd have no reviewer at all by lining up Jan Ronald Stange to cover the gig. Marcel was over in America and Canada undertaking a mini US Depeche tour with and I was delighted when he offered to cover Boston. Here is his wonderful review together with his amazing photographs - view the full set on his Flickr page here. Thanks Marcel.

A European in Boston

What can I say, my second North American leg and I find myself in Boston for my second show in this leg. There are shows and then there are SHOWS, Boston clearly fell into the latter category!

After I had seen the show in Chicago, where the crowd was a bit flat (but the band was in fine form!), the crowd in Boston was on it from the word go! Loud, enthusiastic and that fed back to the band. It really goes both ways, the band feeds of the crowd and vice versa. The singalongs were pretty good for North America, though they don’t compare to the ones in Germany and Italy!

We (Amanda, Tara and myself) had managed to score our front-row VIP packages when the pre-sale opened and this was the only show for us with no hassle and stress with regards getting the tickets we wanted (I am still annoyed that I had three dead centre front row tickets for NY in my cart and Ticketmaster got stuck in a loop whilst verifying, meaning I lost them), so we enjoyed our food and drinks, caught up with old friends and made new ones. Apart from seeing the band play, this is an important part of what makes going to a show so special, we have all made so many friends over the years and around the shows is the time we get to meet up with them!

Marcel front right (plus Amanda beside him and Tara top left)

This was the second show I attended on the second North American leg, Chicago first (and finished it with the Toronto show) and my 12th of the Global Spirit Tour (the only leg I have seen not shows in will be the South American one).. As most of us know the set list doesn’t really hold any surprises anymore but the Martin songs can change and for this leg he brought back The Things You Said after a 30 year absence which I, and the rest of the crowd, thoroughly enjoyed!

As with my previous show, Chicago, I didn’t really get to see much of the opening act since I had friends to meet up with before the show started. That’s a notable difference with the European shows where you have far less opportunities to do that if you’re on the floor and want to hold on to your front row spot.

The Depeche Mode show itself was a good one, no surprises in the set list or the performance. The one thing that was clear to me though was that the break between the South American leg and the second North American leg did the band good, the energy levels were back to those at the beginning of the tour! Being in the front row is always the best way to be noticed by Dave, and it helps a lot if you’re next to Tara. At one point Dave looked straight at the three of us in succession and that’s always very cool to experience!

The thing that made this show stand out to me was that I was able to talk to a few band members after the show in a hotel bar. After having met Dave last year, I now was able to meet Fletch, Peter and Christian (I talked to Martin at the after-show in Toronto thanks to Tara, see her review of the Toronto show for more on this). I’d never imagined when the tour started that by this time I would have met all the members and talked to them and been backstage as well! This seemed to be something that was forever out of my reach and yet here I am!

It’s amazing to think that the first show I saw in my Global Spirit Tour was over a year ago, Amsterdam May 7, and they’re still going strong. Festival season is upon us and the tour will end with two shows at the Waldb├╝hne in Berlin, which I am lucky enough to attend bringing my total to 15 shows (without hurricane Irma it would’ve been 17). Of these 15 shows, only three of those I attended ‘on my own’, the power of Depeche Mode to bring people from all over together is a force for good. I have waited in line in all kinds of weather, from just above freezing for the second Amsterdam show to the 35C+ weather in Italy or watching the show at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in the pouring rain but having friends there to help you get through the ‘suffering’ makes it a lot easier to get through.

This tour has been an amazing experience both during the shows (hearing the new version of Everything Counts, Cover Me) and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it. Bring on the next tour!


Thank you Marcel.

Wednesday 20 June 2018


This review of the final 5th leg show comes from Tara Salt who is returning with her second review of the tour after her superb Dallas one from last September. As you'll read, Tara is a veteran not only of this tour, but of much Gahan interaction too. She was at this show with two other Global Spirit Tour Project contributors Amanda and Marcel and, as you'll see, they commemorated the tour in a spectacular way. Thank you so much for this review and the photos Tara and for all your help on this bizarre project too.

Literally one year ago today, as I write this, I flew into Frankfurt, Germany to get ready to see my first show of the Global Spirit Tour. 365 days and 15 shows later, it has now come to a close for me with the last date of the second North American leg - Toronto. It has been one hell of a year, packed with amazing memories. I’ve had such a great time with all of my fellow Mode friends, both old and new and in a way it was bittersweet that night because walking into the Toronto venue, I knew I wouldn’t see many of them for quite some time. 

The Toronto show day flew along as usual. I went to the VIP pre-show party and dinner with my friends and then from 7pm to 8:30 I spent time walking around the venue meeting up with more friends that I had come to know over the past twenty years of following DM on the road. Originally I had been able to score second row tickets for the Toronto show but in Boston I bumped into a big fan who had also spent decades following the band. She had an extra front row ticket for Toronto but hadn’t been able to sell it. She was incredibly kind and sent it to me just before the Toronto show so we could have a great time watching the concert together. (Thanks Kristin!) We were then able to bump up our own friends closer to the stage as a domino effect occurred from this generosity. By 8:30pm we were all set and the lights came down and the familiar Beatles song Revolution started to play..

Since I have been front row for pretty much the entire tour except for Nashville, David has been awesome with including me and my friends and other big fans I know in singalongs. He found me early in Toronto since I had also seen the Chicago and Boston shows on this leg and he was quick to point me out, give me a big grin, and a welcome bum wiggle. The crowd was definitely good that night, though slightly less enthusiastic than Boston, and the band responded in kind. I found A Pain That I’m Used To was particularly fantastic and it’s always good because Martin and Peter come front and centre to join David and I just love the energy between the entire band for that set. During Precious, David came over to me and we sang along together - precisely the line “My God what have we done to you?” After finishing that line he grinned big and I laughed hard and it’s those kind of moments that make being in front so worth it. 

Cover Me came on and David went out on the catwalk to do his iconic rounds and it was then that I finally broke down and cried. I particularly adore this song and it was at this moment that it truly hit me that this was my final show of the tour. Martin played The Things You Said right after Cover Me and I continued to cry because I too adore this song and it’s been a thrill to hear it live this leg seeing it hasn’t been played in 30 years. I was finally able to calm down to enjoy Home. Home of course being the perfect ode to how most of us DM fans feel, having been given such an incredible gift from the band - the music, the lifelong friends, and the deep connection to others who share our passion. 

I had some concerns about the setlist changing for this leg because having been a fan for so long, we do tend to get more tired of the “hits” than the average fan who attends the shows. However I have to say, I was not disappointed or bored by some of the additions in the way I thought I would have. Every time I say I’m bored of Personal Jesus or A Question of Time, they surprise me by re-working the song live making it interesting all over again. This tour I really LOVED Everything Counts because of the massive way it was overhauled. It worked so damn well and the crowd, every show I attended, went nuts for it. 

After the show I was lucky to go backstage for one final time to say hello to the band and I was thrilled that my friend Marcel was finally able to meet Martin. He’s been travelling overseas to see DM in North America for the past few tours so it was great to watch them have a good conversation. We wrapped up the night watching Martin play foosball and getting incredibly passionate seeing his team was given a run for their money during the game. ; ) 

This tour has been a favourite of mine for so many reasons. A few days after the show, Marcel, Amanda and I got our first tattoos to commemorate both the tour and our love for the band in general. I love Spirit so much and I’ve had so much fun while on the road (Hello Marcel, Diem, Amanda, Crystal, Rahul, Erik, Joanna, Sophie, Pina, Alex, Sarah, Emilie, Mike, Sandy) I also want to shout out to all my long time friends who I met on the road again as well as all of you who I met for the first time this tour. You all know who you are! Depeche Mode are more than a band for so many of us at this point, they’ve gifted us with lifelong friends and opportunities for travel. For that I am eternally grateful.

Cover Me (or at least part of me)

Thank you Tara.

Sunday 17 June 2018


It seems a very long time ago that I met up with Sean Salo in Stockholm after the first concert on this seemingly never ending tour. Sean has been kind enough to review a gig for the project before (Uncasville - I see I was talking about it being a long time since this all started even then. I need new lines) and I was delighted he volunteered to review the Brooklyn show and here is his unsurprisingly excellent review. Thanks very much for this and the pictures Sean. See you some other time...

The Global Spirit Tour has been the longest tour for Depeche Mode since Devotional, more than 25 years ago. I can only imagine how it’s taken its toll on the band, as it has with their aging fans. The idea of multiple shows over a few nights is exhilarating…and exhausting. It’s no wonder that the band shifted the touring pattern to no back-to-back shows. So, with nothing to base this on but speculation and inferences, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this may be the last tour for Depeche Mode. This is why Dave’s proclamation at the end of the show, “See you some other time,” instead of the well-worn, “See you next time,” felt like a bit of a dagger to the heart. 

The Barclay's Center

Having attended the week’s previous show in Philadelphia, I knew what to expect at Brooklyn, but a hometown show – for both me and for Dave – adds to the experience, of course. My friends Carrie, Steve, Jason, Kristin, and I had gone all in on the Ticketmaster Verified Fan pre-sale, and decided on the tickets within the first few rows, having secured sixth row seats. (Referring to them as seats is a misnomer, as I spent scant time in them – sitting for a few moments between opening act, EMA, and the opening riffs of The Beatles’ Revolution.) Regardless, the floor real estate we’d rented for our feet was in the sixth row.

Sean and the gang

Backtracking a bit, my friend Jason had flown to New York to experience his second show of the Spirit Tour in my fair city. We, along with another friend, Sarah, met up earlier in the day to experience the “David Bowie Is” exhibit that’s nearing its conclusion at the Brooklyn Museum. With DM having retired “Heroes” from the setlist, it was a great way to keep the spirit (pun intended) of Bowie present for me as a part of the DM experience. For those of you who’ve seen the exhibit in any of its stops around the world over the last several years, you know how special it is. And while DM aren’t cited within the exhibit, it wouldn’t have taken much to realize a solid line from Bowie to Gore and Gahan in an influence diagram. I can think of no better way to have mentally and emotionally prepped for the remainder of the day. Following a late Bowie-themed menu lunch at the museum, I headed over to the venue to prep for the pre-show reception that was part of the VIP ticket package. 

Sean is a VIP
While those of us in North America may gripe about the prices of the VIP packages, the ease of doing so and the sanity of entering the venue early, the pre-show dinner reception, the hassle-free merch shopping, the unique merch items included, and, of course, the location in front of the stage make it very comfortable for those who have the means and the willingness to spend the cash. Whether it’s a smart purchase or not remains to be answered by the individual spending it. I am happy I went with the VIP package this time around, but my wallet is happy that the Global Spirit Tour is nearing its conclusion.

Following the show, throngs of attendees descended upon the Kings Beer Hall for a packed DM New York Fanclub afterparty. The German-styled beer hall had the tables largely cleared to make way for the swarms of black-clad revelers. I was able to meet up with other fellow DM Facebook Takeoverees face-to-face, as well…an added benefit. 

There isn’t much to say about the setlist that hasn’t already been said. However, as much as it pains me to admit this, having seen the shows in Philly and NYC, the energy builds really well with the current set. And I was happily surrounded at both shows with big fans who were on their feet for the duration and belting out all the lyrics along with me. As I mentioned at the top of the review, Dave’s exclamation of “see you some other time” stood out. This is a subtle, but seemingly meaningful, shift from the standard, “See you next time.” We can all speculate what the twist means, and I have my strong suspicions about what it portends. But I have enjoyed the ride these last 32 years of seeing DM live. Then again, the band has outlived rumours and speculation about their longevity for decades. So whether ‘some other time’ is later this year, the year 2021, beyond, or never again, I can imagine no better way to have leveraged my retirement security and my kids’ college educations than with the dozens of live shows I’ve seen with the band.


Thank you Sean.

Saturday 16 June 2018


On 18 June 2018, it will be 30 years since Depeche Mode played the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

30 years! As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Rose Bowl gig then, it seemed logical to write something about it, so here are 101 fascinating facts about 101. Why couldn't they have recorded the 20th gig instead...

1. Everything Counts (Live)
The first hint of what was to come came on 13 February 1989 with the release of Everything Counts live from the Rose Bowl gig. The vinyl version of the forthcoming 101 wasn't, I don't know, wide enough or something to accommodate A Question Of Lust, Sacred and Nothing, so live versions of them appeared on the 7" (Nothing) and the 12" and cd single (all three). There were also a few remixes scattered here and there on the limited 12", 10" which came in a numbered envelope with a window sticker and two postcards inside (a lovely thing).

My Everything Counts collection (minus promo 12" singles - pics of them below)
Two promo 12" singles came out namely P12BONG16

which featured two remixes of Everything Counts: the Bomb The Bass remix (later known as Tim Simenon/Mark Saunders Remix) and the Alan Moulder Remix (later known as the Absolut Mix).

PPBONG16 also featured two tracks - Strangelove (Hijack Mix) and Nothing (Remix Edit).

There was also one other format...

2. Everything Counts (Live) LCD BONG16 a.k.a The Filofax pack
I've covered this before - have a read of this if the notion of a Filofax pack baffles you. It's still Depeche Mode's oddest officially released item. Well, apart from Hole To Feed as a single that is.

3. Everything Counts (Live) - the video
From the infamous "We're going to make loads of money" all the way to Dave conducting the crowd, it's glorious:

4 -17. Promoting the film and album
To coincide with the release of Everything Counts (Live), the band started promoting 101. Am I already running out of material? Probably, however, I need 101 of these so here we go:

4. Dave appears on TV AM
TV AM was a British morning show that balanced lots of inane nonsense with the excellence of Roland Rat and some rather good music pieces, one of which was Dave's appearance on 13 February 1989. Look how fresh faced he looks:

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Not too shabby for 7.18 in the morning bearing in mind that Dave was still enjoying a rock and roll lifestyle at the time. Dave confirms that Fletch is skiing, Martin is in Japan and Alan "hopefully watching at home." He's the interviewed again around 7.48 and talks about the gig. We even see a snippet of Behind The Wheel from 101.

5. The 101 premiere
This took place at the Dominion Theatre in London on 22 February 1989

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

All the band were there along with D A Pennebaker, Daniel Miller and more.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

6. A film premiere in Paris and a Music For The Masses platinum disc presentation
The film was shown at Club De L'etoile before the band headed for La Locomotive and their disc presentation. Here's Fletch at the latter having a grand old time

Picture (and info) courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

7. Miming to the live version of Everything Counts, San Remo, Italy 25 February 1989
Very odd this. The band played at the Sanremo festvial in San Remo on 25 February and, in doing so, played one song. That involved them miming to a live version of a song they'd just released. I've no idea why either.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

The band also gave a press conference at Hotel Royal in San Remo. Here's a picture of Dave and Martin enjoying themselves at that

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

And here's the performance of Everything Counts:

8. A 101 premiere in Birmingham
This took place on 2 March 1989 at the Cannon Cinema. The band didn't turn up however. And they wonder why they get a rough reaction from Birmingham crowds....*

*Martin's words, not mine

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

9. Martin and Andy head to Europe...
In early March, Martin and Andy went around Europe giving interviews. At one point they ended up in Denmark recording a show called Fluen. Here and Martin and Andy laughing it up in the taxi home

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group do Dave and Alan
Dave and Alan headed to Munich where they appeared on a show called Action. They appear to have been interviewed by the label on the b-side of the 12" of A Question Of Time

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

11. A signing session at HMV, Birmingham, 20 March 1989
The album was already out by this point and much to your inevitable relief, we'll come to that shortly. The whole band appeared in Birmingham to sign the record, meet fans and seemingly have a few beers. For a brief moment, as you can see below, Fletch was sacked and replaced by Terence Trent D'Arby, but that decision was thankfully overturned on the same day

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

12. Filming for The Story of 101, Hilton, London, 27 March
The band plus D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus were at the Hilton to film this show telling the story of the film

13. A signing session at Virgin Megastore, Paris, 12 April 1989
As you might have guessed from the title, there was a signing session on 12 April 1989.

At the Virgin Megastore.

In Paris.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

14. A 101 premiere in Toronto
The band then turned up in Toronto to see their film again. I wonder if they were bored by this point?

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

15. A premiere in Los Angeles
On 25 April 1989, 101 premiered in LA at AMC Century 14. Here's the band at the premiere

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

And here's a thing that was on TV about it:

16. A premiere of, unbelievably, 101 in New York
This was on 27th April at Radio City Music Hall which is a cool venue to have your film shown at. Dave and Alan were there only as a diary cock up meant Fletch and Martin had to be in Houston. I presume that was on 101 related business. Here are Dave and Alan - was this where the Violator cover concept was dreampt up? No, I imagine.

Picture courtesy of Depehce Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

And look, here are some other people. We'll find out a bit more about them shortly

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

17. So that's why Martin and Andy were in Houston
It was for a 101 premiere at AMC 14 in Houston. In case you are on the lookout for obscure Depeche Mode related buildings, here it is:

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

18. An odd and expensive promo single
At some point in 1989, the band's French and Spanish record companies released a promo by way of a vinyl version of Pleasure Little Treasure. In both countries, a 7" was released, featuring the live version of the track from 101 on both sides.

The French then went one step further, releasing a 12" featuring three tracks: the live version and the Join Mix and Glitter Mix of Pleasure Little Treasure.

These are quite cool if unnecessary items, neither of which I own sadly.

19. The album itself
Here's a fact to love about 101 -  it's the finest live album your ears will ever hear. The music aside, which we'll come to in good time, it's also incredible because of...

20 - 25. The Artwork
Ok, Anton Corbijn may have slacked off a tad on recent DM releases, but there is no argument to be had when it comes to the 101 artwork. Black and white, majestic and above all else, just fucking gorgeous, Anton did wonders here. The cover above alone is a work of art: Dave in his leather gear, wee Martin and his hat, Fletch slicked back and ready for business, Alan doing his best Morrissey (pre Brexit and racism) impression, the iconic t-shirt and so much more. Everywhere you look on 101, you see stunning pictures.  Just look at:

20. Dave

21. Martin

22. Andy

23. Alan

Each one of those pictures is glorious as are the others in the...

24. Booklet

Available either as a 12" 16 page book with the album or box sized book with the cd, the booklet accompanying the album is full of ever more wonderful pictures. Here's just one of them:

Dave pictured having a premonition about Hole To Feed

25. The Catalogue Number
What? Shut up David. No you shut up. The catalogue number for this release is STUMM101. That's genius. Record companies don't do that sort of thing anymore. Well played Mute, well played.

26. The formats - the envelope sleeve LP

Some of my 101's

This blog isn't just for fans of nifty black and white pictures. Oh no. It's also for people who like to know what the vinyl smells like and what weight the cassette is. It's time to have a brief look at the formats. Other than one section, I'm just referring to the UK formats. Thanks to for approximately 90% of the info here.

As this came out in 1989, LP's were still very much the in thing, unlike now where they - forget that. 101 was released on two vinyl versions here in Britain, the first of which was in an envelope sleeve, so called because the sleeve was envelope like in that both records and the booklet could fit inside it. As if they were in an envelope albeit one with Anton's photographic genius all over it.

27. The Gatefold sleeve LP
It's the Envelope Sleeve albeit without any hint of envelopeness. The gatefold fits one record in either side and the booklet in whichever sleeve you wish to squash it into. Also, on both versions of the lp, the stickers on the vinyl are majestic. That sort of thing pleases me and, admit it, many of you reading this.

28. The Cassette
This was my first ever version of 101. As with the CD, the full concert fits here with Black Celebration rounding off side 1. There are five different versions of the cassette (catalogue number CSTUMM101) ranging from one with a white paper label on each side to one with a black printed label. Collect them all and amuse and impress your loved ones. Also, if I don't actually get to 101 things to love (how is this only number 28 for God's sake?), expect 5 paragraphs on each version of the cassette sooner than you fear.

29. The Soft slipcase cover cd
The first variation of cd format (CDSTUMM101) came in a tri-fold digipack thing inside a cardboard sleeve. The cds were tucked inside the far too tight sleeves along with the booklet meaning you either sacrificed your fingers or the sleeve getting the bastard things out. Many Depeche fans of that era are accordingly fingerless.

30. The Big Chunky Double cd 
That's more like it. A no nonsense, reassuringly heavy thick jewel case that you could open up and effortlessly remove the cds and book, free of digit destroying Depechery. 

31. Other notable formats
If this is your sort of thing, then please do have a look at where a staggering amount of work has gone into making sure Depeche fans all over the place can find out on how many different variations of 7" Get The Balance Right was released in the Cook Islands and so on. 101 was released in many different formats worldwide and, thanks to, I've deemed the oddest three formats as follows:

(a) The Turkish cassette release on Jaws Records

Picture courtesy of

(b) The Saudi cassette on Stallions Records

Picture courtesy of

(c) The Taiwanese CD on Pony Records

Picture courtesy of depmod,com

All because I find the Record Company names amusing.

32. The Super Audio CD (SACD) release
You all know SACD's don't you? Unplayable in most cd players and certainly in no cars, they also can't be ripped to your iPod, making them virtually useless. Despite that, 101 was released on SACD on 2nd February 2004. Is it worth buying? Not really unless you're some sort of oddball completist - yes it does feature in my 101 formats picture above. There is one other reason to buy the SACD though. An unreleased until 2004 track. A NEW DEPECHE MODE THING. Sit down before I tell you that the name of that track was

33. Pimpf (Full version)
Yeah that gave us the full Pimpf. And not at the start instead of the old Pimpf either. It's at the end. As in after Everything Counts. As in after everyone has left. Baffling.

34. Reissues
This is more for the sake of completion than anything else, however the album has been reissued on CD 6 times and on LP once in Britain. You can tell them apart by minute details and again, can have fun collecting the set.

35. The Music
Yes, it's taken me 35 items to actually get to the music itself. Only 66 to go. 101 is an act of genius from the start to the end and, were this just a post called "Is 101 Any Good?" that description would suffice. It isn't however, so settle down, pop on the album and enjoy the best bits of each track with this startling commentary:

36. Pimpf
Genuinely works better as the fade in version we get here. It just does.

37. Behind The Wheel
That's how you kick off a concert. Depeche at their pre guitar dominance most minimalist and slinky.

38. Strangelove
GLORIOUS! When Martin starts singing "Strangelove" from 3 minutes 54 seconds in you are transported to a heavenly plane. 

39. Sacred
They were touring the album this was on. Fair enough.

40. Something To Do
Leather boots, oily dresses and noises only Depeche put on albums - a celebration of one of Some Great Reward's gems

41. Blasphemous Rumours
A towering version of their "We want to be like The Cure but can't help stick an oddly poppy chorus in a gloom track" classic. Look out for the woman in tears singing along in the film without any notion of what the tune is or ever was.

42. Stripped
A live track as erotic experience. That metal bashing is a staggering beast and the last 1 minute 30 seconds is probably the most exciting passage of music of all time. Fun fact - I spent far too long a time when I was 16 using deodorant cans to replicate the metal bashing. I even made sure I used enough deodorant from each so that each can sounded just like the metal pad things. I grew up in a very small town. Leave me alone.

43. Somebody
Sigh. Magical

44. The Things You Said
No YOU'RE crying

45. Black Celebration
The definitive live version of one of Depeche Mode's defining tracks. Yes even better than the Exciter tour version....shudder.....

46. Shake The Disease
If you don't like this either seek medical attention or get some new ears. And a new soul.

47. Nothing
In my still excellent and available to read blog about Music For The Masses, I suggested that Nothing was perhaps not that good and indeed a bit overrated. I stick by that. This version is either here nor there. On the plus side, its features more metal bashing. On the negative side, it's...well...sod it. I don't like it. There you go - I said it again. The band MUST agree as they missed this off the LP version. Right?

48. Pleasure Little Treasure
A B-side which is a cool thing and my Mum's favourite Depeche Mode song. Stop the air guitar though Dave. Just stop it. Stop it now.

49. People Are People
Brilliant and powerful and all the better for the "And go....." bit on the film which is not in fact from this concert. Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group's Linda Meijer recently did some detective work and it turns out that the shot of the lighting person actually came from the Philadelphia show on 27 May. So there you go.

50. A Question Of Time
No guitars, no rockiness, just this song played quite wonderfully

51. Never Let Me Down Again
Another definitive version and the one that started off the arm waving craze I ensure I bore DM newcomers about at concerts

52. A Question Of Lust
More marvellousness from Mr Martin. 

(It was also left off the album but that does NOT negate my Nothing argument)

53. Master & Servant
A booming, hugely satisfying version of this booming, highly satisfying song

54. Just Can't Get Enough
Vince Clarke wrote this you know. He used to be in Depeche Mode. Can no longer be played in Glasgow due to our marvellous football "culture."

55. Everything Counts

What an album.

56. Additional Fact 1
(Thanks to Niggels for these)

This was not the first time Depeche had played in Pasadena. They also played there on 15 February 1982 at Perkins Palace. It was nice of Perkin to let them play there. The wonderous DM Live Wiki has a note of what was played that night here . Only one song was played at both this show and the Rose Bowl one. Any ideas?

57. Additional Fact 2
The Rose Bowl gig was the last time (to date) that Depeche played Sacred, Blasphemous Rumours, Nothing, Pleasure Little Treasure and People Are People live. And Pimpf too if that counts.

58 - 60 The Support Acts

58. Wire
Wire opened the show and that's about all we know as there is no setlist information available. They also played a set that night at a venue called The Scream

59. Thomas Dolby
Setlist FM says he played two songs - My Brain Is Like A Sieve and She Blinded Me With Science. I would guess there were maybe more but who knows?

60. OMD
OMD's 12 song setlist can be found here and DM Live Wiki has a recording of it here

DM and DA Pennebaker (centre)

61. 101 - The Film
Having picked D A Pennebaker as Director, the band and he decided to make the band's live performance focus of the film both in terms of actual footage and in terms of what Depeche live means to the fans. The fans are represented by the kids on the bus more of whom in a moment. I'm not going to retell the story of the film as you're all familiar with it and will have watched it hundreds of times. One thing 101 amply demonstrates is the sheer numbers of people willing to see Depeche Mode live in 1988, especially of course in America. 101 was hugely important beast for the band as it showed the world that they were a big, big thing and it paved the way for huge success of the next two tours.

Interestingly, and perhaps obviously if, like me, you've seen Martin wear a hat, then not wear a hat then wear a hat again on 101, not all the live footage came from the Rose Bowl. As Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group have discovered, in addition to the Rose Bowl footage, the shows that feature in the film seem to be those in Arlington (13 May 1988), Houston (14 May 1988), Philadelphia (27 May 1988) and Mansfield (7 June 1988). There may be more though so if you know, get in touch with Depeche's own forensic detectives at that superb Facebook group.

62. The Video
Kids today might not be familiar with video cassettes. You used to watch a film on one then, rather than simply watch it again, you had to rewind it. Life was tough then. The video was the format of choice in 1989 however and that's how 101 was released. Many people of my age or younger (slightly) will be nodding their heads nostalgically as they read this.

A video cassette. Ask your parents. Or grandparents

63. The DVD
On 9 October 2003 (in the UK anyway), Depeche leapt into the future we were already in by releasing the film on DVD. This was huge really as none of us had video players anymore. The dvd was a double release featuring the film on 1 disc with additional commentary from the band, D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Disc 2 features the Story of 101 documentary in full (see 12 above) and live tracks (Master & Servant, Pimpf, Behind The Wheel, Strangelove, Blasphemous Rumours, Stripped, Somebody, Black Celebration, Pleasure Little Treasure, Just Can't Get Enough, Everything Counts, Never Let Me Down Again) and interviews with Dave, Martin, Andy, Daniel Miller and Jonathon Kessler along with three of the bus kids - Christopher Hardwick, Oliver Chessler and Jay Serken.

There was a DVD screening in London on 9 October 2003 at the Prince Charles Theatre. D A Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Fletch.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

64-71: The Kids On The Bus

64. Oliver Chester
Oliver, he of the blue hair, is now a successful recording artist known as The Horrorist. His best moment in 101 was surely having his hair poked and prodded by the bewildered diners in the diner.

65. Sandra Fergus
At the time to 101 Sandra and Oliver were an item. Sandra's was no fan of Elvis as you may recall.

66. Christopher Hardwick
My favourite bus kid. The Vivian moment (see below), his heroic booze intake, dropping booze in the truckstop and so on all make him the star of the bus.

Oliver, Sandra and Christopher (c) Christopher Hardwick

67. Mia Decaro
Mia is picture above with Martin and Fletch.

68. Jay Serken
Jay seemed like one of the quieter, saner bus kids. "Guns N Posers...."

Jay (right)

69. Liz Lazo
Here's Liz and some guy who I recognise but can't quite place

70. Chris Parziale
Chris was very quiet, seemingly the most sensible one of the group. 

71. Maggie Mouzakitis
101 was just the start of Maggie's music career - she ended up being Oasis' tour manager for 13 years. That seems more of a sentence than a job but it must have been interesting. Here she is with one of her clients

72 - 74 But there were other people involved too
As well as the kids and occasional band members, who else was on or near the bus?

72. Dave Charest
The true hero of 101, Dave was given a job many other people wouldn't have taken yet did it without complaint. We salute you Dave. He was also responsible for some of the film's best one liners as we shall see later

73. Tamsin Lee
Listed on IMDB as Cruise Director (odd), Tamsin makes a couple of appearances. She's in the middle below beside Liz at the concert

74. Marcello Romero
Marcello was the Tour Guide apparently. That's all I have. Here's a picture of Martino Gorero instead.

75 - 101: The Best Bits of 101
As a general rule, Depeche Mode fans love 101 and everyone has favourite moments from the film. I certainly do, but in an attempt to (a) make this more of a democratic process and (b) help my 101 addled brain keep going, I opened this part to the Black Swarm to see what they liked about 101. Many of the highlights mentioned were ones I considered highlights too. Here then, in no order at all, are the best bits of 101.

75. Announcing a Concert For The Masses
Riding in in a Cadillac, throwing a football, saying ni hao to China and announcing a concert in the Rose Bowl. Wait. Depeche Mode in a stadium? In America? That'll never work...

76. Alan explains everything

Admit it - you love this bit. A bit of Black Celebration, some metal bashing and Alan in full on technical mode. Lovely stuff, to quote Alan Partridge. And no, Alan isn't coming back to Depeche Mode. Ever. Accept that and move on.

77. I said "Smile..
...motherfucker, smile." Charmed - clearly not a fan.

78. Chris can't hold his drink
Literally. "I fucked up."

79. We play butt naked
80. We're keyboard players, we don't move
81. I will sing for tickets 
" got three of the words right"

Three in one here in this glorious piece of radio show buffoonery:

82. Dave Gahan vs Taxi Driver
Dave pre mid Atlantic accent, Dave hitting the taxi drive, the taxi driver's trousers falling down...what more do you want?

83. Dave and Martin suddenly realise what's going on
The moment they look at each other and smile is just superb.

84. Vivian
"Oh Vivian/look what you've done/You shagged Chris' friend/in his own bed/on 101/Oh Vivian"

Did Chris ever return the videos I wonder?

85. The alternative dance party from hell
86. Fletch just bums around
87. Fletch forgetting that Martin is a better guitar player than him

Another three in one here. Ah... the Country and Western shop. Fletch has a go on an acoustic and then Martin says "Stand aside my friend...this is how you play guitar." And then he buys every cassette in the shop.

88. Don't Dance Too Much
Wise words Mrs Dacaro, wise words.

89. Chris gets a little drunk
Tequila, worms, loads of beer - you just know a night out with Chris would be fun.

90. Oliver and Chris attempt Route 66.
It fools no-one.

91. Who do you think I am...
Fucking Wordsworth?

92. Let's go back to the hotel
Sorry Dave. Too late. Although Alan does appear to have his bag with him so maybe he was up for it

93. "This means nothing.."
"No, no....this means something." And from that day forth, Depeche Mode collectors around the globe would pay fortunes for those stickers. Years after the tour ended. When the stickers simply wouldn't work.

94. Blasphemous Rumours gets a little too much for someone
So much so that she forgets the tune. And the words.

95. Start The Tape
Tape starts, Pimpf starts, goosebumps. Every single time.

96. Dave introduces us (well me anyway) to Roxy Music
While playing pinball. Dave not me.

97. The band The Beatles could have been
Dave on harmonica (not to be seen again until his Reading Festival "performance" with Primal Scream), Martin on guitar and Daryl Bamonte on vocals tackling  I Saw Her Standing There

98. Parked your car on the corner last night
God bless you Dave Charest.

99. The Things You Said soundcheck
Martin soundchecks in front of the kids before the live track takes over. A gorgeous moment.

100. Dave in his black pants
This received a large number of nominations on Facebook. A large number.

101. Never Let Me Down Again
A towering version of the song culminates in Dave standing on top of a large platform waving his arms. Again - goosebumps every single time. A phenomenon begins...

Thank you very much. We'll see you next time
I hope you've enjoyed this and not taken it too seriously. Any Depeche fan will tell you how important 101 is as a film and album and it's certainly something worth celebrating. Feel free to tell me how many of the Top 25 moments are wrong by the way. All I've got to do now is think of 101 more things for the 40th anniversary.