Depeche Mode tonight. Hot on the heels of their debut album Speak & Spell, which was issued in October of 1981, this concert, from February of 1982, comes right after founding member and keyboard/guitarist/writer Vince Clarke left the band (in November of ’81). Replacing him, initially on a temporary basis, was Alan Wilder, who I believe makes his debut with this appearance.
Together for an astonishing 37 years, Depeche Mode have undergone a number of personnel changes. But the core of the band have remained pretty much intact all this time. A highly regarded and celebrated band, whom Q Magazine have referred to as “one of the 50 bands that changed the world”. They have released some 14 studio albums, 10 compilation albums, 6 live albums, 8 box sets, 13 video albums, 71 music videos and 54 singles. The band have sold over 100 million records worldwide. Depeche Mode have had 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart, one US and two UK number one albums.
They are frequently praised by the music press; they became “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known” according to Q magazine, “one of the greatest British pop groups of all time” according to The Sunday Telegraph, and “the quintessential eighties techno-pop band” according to Rolling Stone and AllMusic Depeche Mode were ranked No. 2 on Electronic Music Realm’s list of The 100 Greatest Artists of Electronic Music, ranked No. 158 on Acclaimed Music’s list of Top 1000 Artists of All Time.
But this concert is before all that – this concert finds them making the rounds, promoting their debut album, which would be certified Gold. The beginnings of a great track record for this band. Captured for posterity by BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series, it’s clear from the first few notes that this band is different than most.
I always say that. I mean it this time.