1981-06-02 Hammersmith Palais, London, England, UK

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Notes

Depeche Mode (as well as an unknown band named 'Siam') were the support act for The Psychedelic Furs. They supported The Psychedelic Furs again in 1983-03-26).

Here is BBC Radio 6 Music's host Tom Robinson's memory of this night:

Back then I used to read the NME religiously from cover to cover, and early in 1981 their single of the week was an indie release by a new young all-synth band called Depeche Mode. The gig guide showed they were opening for The Psychedelic Furs at Hammersmith Palais that week and I bought myself a ticket. The Furs were a big noise back then, with a debut album on CBS Records, posters everywhere and gigging on a grand scale thanks to lavish tour support from their label.

The Palais was rammed with their fans, and the support band had been crammed into a small apron of stage, hemmed in my giant amplifiers, guitar stands, PA stacks, monitors, keyboards, drum risers and - at the back of the stage - a SuperTrooper followspot mounted on a stand like a machinegun.

Depeche Mode turned out to be four small shy skinny youths with three cheap bottom-of-the-range synths on makeshift stands and no backline at all. There was no sign of Vince's drum machine - instead at the front of the stage Dave Gahan had a radio cassette recorder that was wired into the PA system. As he announced each song, he would pull a cassette out of his shirt pocket, put it in the machine and out would come a plinky DR-55 drum pattern at exactly the right speed. A foolproof lo-tech solution to the tempo problem.

Their sound was young, fresh, sexy and quite unlike anything I'd seen or heard before. The Furs were as heavy dull and predictable as a Sherman tank and after two numbers I slipped away. As to what happened next... New Life went to number 11 that month on the unknown indie label Mute - while later in the year, for all the Furs' touring and promotional push, Pretty in Pink failed to even dent the UK Top 40.