1982-05-07 The Ritz, New York City, NY, USA

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Notes

This date has the only known recording of Depeche Mode from their short visit to the US during the See You Tour. Dave flubs a line near the beginning of Ice Machine. "Television Set" and "I Like It" were not played.

Martin Gore stated in the summer 1985 edition of a Star Hits special that, unlike the first two gigs at the Ritz which were so full that people had to be turned away, this night was "just about full".

The members of Depeche Mode have famously repeated an anecdote about this gig over and over again in interviews. For example, here is a quote from Martin Gore from 2009:

Question: What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?

Martin: "There's one thing that always sticks in our minds, and I wonder if this person remembers saying it, he probably doesn't. But we played the Ritz in New York twice [ 1, 2 ] really early on in our career, and the first time we played there everything was fine and it was a good show. And we went back a second time not long after, maybe within six months, and we had to do Top of the Pops [in England] and then they put us on the Concorde to get us to New York in time to play the show at the Ritz. Concorde had problems and we were delayed. So we ended up getting there later than we would have done taking a normal plane. We arrived late in New York and then we had a really late soundcheck. And you didn't go on till really late, two in the morning at the Ritz in those days, so we were all totally jetlagged, all of our equipment broke down and it was an absolutely dreadful show. And I remember leaving the venue very depressed and some guy came up to us and said, "What happened to you guys? You used to be good!" [Laughs] That was a long time ago but we still remember that one."

Andy Fletcher recalls this moment for the documentary for the 'A Broken Frame' remaster DVD in 2006:

"We did Top Of The Pops and then got Concorde over for our first gig[1], so, we didn't go on stage until 3 o'clock in the morning, none of our synths were working, Dave, meanwhile, had decided to have one of his tattoos removed and it had all gone septic[2], so we had a lead, a dancing lead singer, with a septic left arm in a sling, so it didn't look very good. And I remember when we came off and we was really tired, it must have been about 5 o'clock in the morning, we got out of that place, the Ritz, and this bloke shouted to us, "What happened to you guys, you used to be good!" We all, all of us, remember that comment, and feeling really down, and it was just one of those tours, it wasn't that successful. We just honestly thought that our music would never ever be compatible with what the Americans want."

Ministry was the support act. According to their frontman's, Al Jourgensen, memoir:

"When we were playing in New York with Depeche Mode I literally dumpster dove behind a theather to grab popcorn to eat. A big five-pound bag would feed the whole band. We were all living in a van scrunched up with our equipment. There was us, our driver, a road, a bunch of equipment, and popcorn. That's all I remember - eight people living in a van living on popcorn. Not good."

Set list

  1. Shout
  2. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
  3. Boys Say Go!
  4. Puppets
  5. See You
  6. Big Muff
  7. Now, This Is Fun
  8. Ice Machine
  9. New Life
  10. Tora! Tora! Tora!
  11. The Meaning Of Love
  12. Just Can't Get Enough
  13. What's Your Name?
  14. Photographic
  15. Dreaming Of Me

Sources

  • Source 1 is a very good audience recording; there is a moderate amount of tape hiss, but it is not too objectionable.

References

  1. Fletch incorrectly thinks that this was DM's first gig with Alan. He also seems to think this when he brought up the same anecdote in Uncut magazine, May 2001: "We played the Ritz club in New York. The first gig that Alan played. We'd done Top Of The Pops the night before - why we agreed to, I don't know. But Mute decided to send us over on Concorde. Unfortunately it was probably the most disastrous gig of our lives. None of the equipment worked, we didn't go onstage until 2.30 in the morning. A guy outside said to me afterwards, 'What happened to you lot? You used to be good...'"
  2. Fletch also thinks that the tattoo removal happened on this date, but it happened on the day of the third Ritz gig, 1983-03-24 The Ritz.