Depeche Mode in concert and on the verge in 1983. Recorded by VPRO, The Netherlands, on December 6, 1983.
Depeche Mode are an English electronic band formed in Basildon, Essex in 1980. The group consists of founders Dave Gahan (lead vocals, co-songwriting), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, chief songwriting), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards). Depeche Mode released their debut album Speak & Spell in 1981, bringing the band onto the British new wave scene. Original band member Vince Clarke, left the band after the release of the album, leaving the band as a trio to record A Broken Frame, released the following year. Gore took over the lead songwriting duties and, later in 1982, Alan Wilder officially joined the band to fill Clarke’s spot, establishing a line up that would continue for the next 13 years.
This concert coincides with the release of their third album, Construction Time Again. This time they worked with producer Gareth Jones, at John Foxx’s Garden Studios and at Hansa Studios in West Berlin (where much of David Bowie’s trilogy of seminal electronic albums featuring Brian Eno had been produced). The album saw a dramatic shift in the group’s sound, due in part to Wilder’s introduction of the Synclavier and E-mu Emulator samplers. By sampling the noises of everyday objects, the band created an eclectic, industrial-influenced sound, with similarities to groups such as the Art of Noise and Einstürzende Neubauten (the latter becoming Mute labelmates in 1983).
Along with the music, Gore’s songwriting was also rapidly evolving, focusing increasingly on political and social issues. A good example[according to whom?] of the new sound was on the first single from the album, “Everything Counts”, a commentary on the perceived greed of multinational corporations. In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Ned Raggett wrote that the song marked a change in the band “with Martin Gore’s songwriting abilities matched with an increasing ambition of the band as a whole.”
“Everything Counts” rose to number six in the UK, also reaching the top 30 in Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and West Germany. Wilder contributed two songs to the album, “The Landscape Is Changing” and “Two Minute Warning”. In September 1983, to promote Construction Time Again, the band launched a European concert tour.
In case you missed this formative period of the band, or would like a reminder – here is what they were up to in December of 1983.
Crank it up and enjoy the weekend.