Depeche Mode – Live At Ludwigshafen – 1984 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Depeche Mode – in concert from Suedwest Stadium, Ludwigshafen, Germany – June 2, 1984 – Live And Loud.com
Depeche Mode. Recorded in concert a Suedwest Stadium in Ludwigshafen, Germany on June 2, 1984.
Depeche Mode released its debut album Speak & Spell in 1981, bringing the band onto the British new wave scene. Founding member Vince Clarke left after the release of the album; they recorded A Broken Frame as a trio. Gore took over as main songwriter and, later in 1982, Alan Wilder replaced Clarke, establishing a lineup that continued for 13 years. Some Great Reward was the fourth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode. It was released on 24 September 1984 by Mute Records. The album peaked at number five in the United Kingdom and number 51 in the United States, and was supported by the Some Great Reward Tour.
Melody Maker’s Barry McIlheney hailed Some Great Reward and noted a “truly remarkable development” in Dave Gahan’s voice, concluding that while “it used to be okay to slag this bunch off because of their lack of soul, their supposed synthetic appeal, their reluctance to really pack a punch”, the album “just trashes such bad old talk into the ground and demands that you now sit up and take notice of what is happening here, right under your nose”.
New Musical Express critic David Quantick was critical of the sound of the record, and felt that it “suffers from too many missed grips on good ideas”. He continues: “It ought to be an intelligent chart contender, a mix of commercial class and magpie manipulation of the unconventional; it isn’t. When that bonk and clatter is used… it’s just a nod to left-field, rather than use of the sound.” Of the songs and singing he says: “Often the tunes are ordinary; Martin Gore, as ever, favours a bit of a drone. In small doses (singles) this is fine. Over 40 minutes, the interest begins to wane. Dave Gahan’s voice has improved greatly – in that he’s learned how to use its limited range – but like the melodies, it imparts mucho sameiness to the record.” He concludes: “Depeche Mode can be one the few acts worthy of the name pop group. It’s just that they should be so much better.”
In No. 1, Sunie expressed similar reservations: “The sadly under-rated Depeches turn out consistently excellent singles. But 45s rather than LPs remain their forte. They’ve progressed a million musical miles from their boppy origins, but Martin Gore’s lyrics haven’t kept up. Over a whole LP, their gaucheness is a major distraction from the record’s musical merits.”
This concert comes at the tail end of their tour prior to the tour promoting Some Great Reward and only features two songs from the as-yet unreleased album, favoring instead earlier albums for their set material.
Good concert, especially for fans of early Depeche Mode. Crank it up and enjoy.