1988-06-18 Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, USA
Depeche Mode's famous 101st and final concert of the 1987-1988 Music For The Masses Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. A documentary and double live album, 101, was released of the concert. In the documentary, Jonathan Kessler can be heard saying that with this concert they sold 66,233 tickets and the paid attendance was 60,453 people, and they grossed $1,360,192.50.
A first-generation audience recording of the first half of the set (up to and including The Things You Said) recorded by dmlive2k (Emmett C.) is currently circulating, but any FLAC version you currently find is a transcode of a 112kbps MP3 version of the recording. The second tape containing the rest of the recording is unfortunately missing. Any audience recording of Depeche Mode from this date cannot be shared on this wiki or DIME since it is an alternative recording of officially released content. 90 second samples of Emmett's audience recording were once provided here, but have been taken down to help avoid any potential legal issues after recommendation by the band's archivist.
The official "101" release had a fair amount of vocals re-recorded, which is somewhat obvious when comparing the official release to the audience recording mentioned previously. Alan Wilder was asked whether vocals were touched up for the release and answered on Shunt Q&A:
- From: Petr Jech
- E-mail: [email protected]
Is it true that on the '101' album, some of Dave's vocals were re-recorded in the studio?
Put it this way, I doubt there's ever been a live album in the history of pop music that hasn't been touched up here and there.
BONG magazine issue #2 from April/May 1988 reported that a concert at this venue was also planned for June 17th. However, according to the official tour itinerary, June 17th is marked as a day off, and no concert occurred on the 17th.
When Depeche Mode were asked in interviews who came up with the title '101' for the documentary and double live album, they would credit it to Alan Wilder for having come up with the title. Ex-KROQ host Richard Blade says in an interview with Stuck In The '80s in 2017 that when he was interviewing Andy Fletcher before the concert about their "101st gig of the tour", Richard subsequently continued to call it "1 0 1" for convenience's sake, to which - so Richard claims - Alan Wilder responded "1 0 1! I love it!" Until it was decided that Alan's suggestion to call it "101" was best, BONG magazine issue #3 reported that the working title was "A Brief Period Of Rejoicing", which references a Winston Churchill sample of the same phrase in the beginning of DM's song Black Celebration.
The Orange County Register reported the day before the concert: "The idea for the Rose Bowl concert was first kicked around in 1986 when the brass at Avalon Attractions and KROQ came up with the idea for a "new music" stadium show. In addition to Depeche Mode, they wanted the Cure, another British post-punk band very popular in Southern California, but plans fell through. The LA-based band Oingo Boingo was mentioned as a possible headliner, but the group planned to headline its own shows at the Greek Theater."
There was some unexpected rain during Depeche Mode's set. During the first chorus of Sacred, Emmett, the taper of the audience recording, shouts "it's starting to rain". Emmett mentions shouting "makes it better" about one minute in to Something To Do - his comment is referring to the rain which cooled everyone off on the blazing hot day, thus "making it better". Another moment later in the song, during the refrain "I can't stand another drink ...", lightning strikes and very loud crowd uproar drowns out the music on the recording. You can even hear the crowd uproar on the official '101' releases - I had always wondered what that was! Emmett mentioned separately that the rain was dying down by the time Blasphemous Rumours was playing and lightning did not occur during the song.
Here are direct quotes from Emmett regarding the rain and lightning:
By the way, historical note – at 21:06 when I shout “makes it better” – that’s when it started raining which was a freak tropical storm. The whole day had been clear skies and super hot. The event started at 3 PM with a band called Wire, then a few others like Thomas Dolby and others. Clouds mysteriously came in once Depeche took the stage, and it started raining on us around that 21 minute mark, then lightning lit up the sky at 22:06 “I can’t stand another drink”… crowd goes NUTS from the lightning. Richard Blade incorrectly recalls the show as it raining during Blasphemous Rumours. It stopped raining within a minute or two of the lightning. Very crazy!
for sure it started raining during Sacred. It was a freak tropical storm that just rolled through. Lasted about 15-20 minutes. The lightning happened ONLY during Something To Do, NOT Blasphemous Rumours. Richard Blade is the culprit (and the band) for saying that it was during Blasphemous Rumours. There's a massive crowd roar during Something To Do right during the refrain "I can't stand another drink... (lightning)" - all of us were like oh shit!! I think the rain starting dying down by the time Blasphemous Rumours was on - but the lightning was most definitely during Something To Do :)
I think I yelled "makes it better" because it was a blazing hot day being out there in the sun from something like 2 PM through the evening. The rain cooled everyone off!
Additionally, Twitter user @epsquid recalls the same events as Emmett. He also mentioned that there was an "epic trash wave" comprised of cardboard trays that made its way around the stadium at one point. He says: "[they] were being thrown like freebies all at the same time and it looked like a tornado was making its way thru the Rose Bowl". Furthermore, Depeche Mode waited until it got dark to go on so the Rose Bowl sat in darkness for a while; people began to chant "Lights, lights, lights, yeah!" as a play on the Thompson Twins' song "Lies, Lies, Lies". He also remembers that at one point, half the stadium began to yell "Tastes great!" and then the other half would yell "Less filling!" based on a Miller Lite beer commercial which used that phrase; this went on for a few moments.
Depeche Mode have mentioned this concert in many interviews over the years, such as here ten years later:
"[The album name 'Music For The Masses'] comes from an album Martin bought, called 'Music For The Millions'. We thought it was quite funny, so 'Music For the Masses'... But then again, it did become in the end 'Music For The Masses', because we did this, like, big gig at the Rosebowl, which was the real highlight of our career. And, incidentally, we had only ever played at a few stadiums, and it's like, you do, with stadiums, lose touch with the audience. But that particular gig, the audience was just with us the whole way and it was absolutely amazing. And, again, it was not just big for us, it was big for alternative music in America."
"It was like 70,000 people or something, and this was something that we were pretty nervous about doing, playing this big gig. When we actually did the show, it didn't matter. We didn't play particularly good, my voice went, everything went wrong during the gig, like, from what we thought we were doing and what we thought was important about it, but it wasn't. It was, like, the event, it was what was really happening there. It's hard to describe unless you're standing there, watching it or being a part of it. But I think everybody who was in that concert and was part of it felt that moment. And, you know, I just kind of started, like, blubbing on stage, and trying to cover it up, and still look very macho and do my thing. But I just stood there for a minute, stood on this big kind of riser, and I looked, and at that moment, everybody's arms were, like, waving in the air. And I looked down, and it sounds cheesy, but it just looked like this big field of corn or whatever swaying, and I just stopped. It didn't matter that I was singing or anything, it was just happening. And I remember afterwards, walking off, and the deflation of, like, "It's over", bang, and then I was like, "ughhh". I wonder if that's ever gonna happen again. And I sat backstage, and my wife was there, Joanne, and I sat in this room, and I remember I just started crying, I don't really know why crying, I was happy, sad, everything at the same moment. I remember that, it was a nice moment. We sat together, my son was there as well, he was probably about, like, three months old, just a little baby, he's actually in the movie. It looks like a big alien, he's got his big head in the camera. That whole event was just one of those special things, and fortunately we caught it on film. You can't see it on there, really, I watch it, I get these little goosebumps when I watch it, because only because I remember the recall of the experience, it's that euphoric recall that kicks in. A combination of everything: nerves, anxiety, happiness, sadness, the end of it. That was the last show of our tour as well. So, I would say that was one of the most special moments of, I guess, nearly twenty years that we've been together, one [of which] we did not know what was going to happen, but it was a beautiful moment."
Andy McCluskey from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark recalled in 2009:
"There was four acts. There was ourselves and Depeche (who had been on the entire tour) and then there was Thomas Dolby and Wire. I remember being terrified: so frightened that my stage fright manifested itself in, I guess a form of narcolepsy. I just fell asleep. They had to wake me up five minutes before we went on stage because my body had just shut down. I was like, "I can't face this, this is scary. I remember it being a great gig. After we had gone through 'Enola Gay' - because we went on stage [and] started the drum machine to 'Enola Gay' - the audience went nuts. I counted it, "In one, two, three, four..." and just as we came in with the whole band for the main melody, there was a power spike in the generators. Everything went off on stage for a split second, and when it came back on, it was just me and the drums. The keyboards had gone off. They are computer keyboards, and two keyboard players were thrashing dead keyboards which was just reading back to them: "disk read error: this will take a while..." [laughs] And so we did this dub version of 'Enola Gay' for about a minute, whilst the fucking keyboards reloaded, [of] which the audience probably thought it was some particular dub trick we had thrown in to amuse them for a minute. Then it came back together again. The gig was amazing, but it was an inauspicious start to a massive concert. But it was an amazing day."
You may stream and download the most complete audience recording available of OMD's set below.
Thomas Dolby also recalled:
[The Rose Bowl gig] represented sort of the zenith of the conquest of California and increasingly the rest of North America by Depeche Mode. Their sound, and the tour that they did for Music For The Masses, basically followed the infection of the KROQ factor across America to all of the different radio formats and different radio stations. And I think they fed off each other. I think each new city that they got to had just sort of got the bug of the KROQ format, had hit different cities, and so it was very clear that by the time that they got to the Rose Bowl, which is the biggest gig that they had ever done and really the biggest electronic music gig that had ever happened, it was gonna be a big celebration, it was gonna be a sort of Woodstock for that kind of KROQ, electronic sound."
This show is also the last performance of Pimpf, Sacred, Blasphemous Rumours, Pleasure, Little Treasure, People Are People, and penultimate performance of Something To Do (which was performed once more at 1993-05-25 Forest National Stadium, Brussels, Belgium). The Things You Said wasn’t performed again until 2018 as part of the Global Spirit Tour.
- You can find a special about this gig on the official site's archives: Archives Special: A Concert For The Masses, June 18, 1988.
- You can watch 90 second video snippets of this concert on Vimeo. These snippets are from the giant screen feed, using official audio from the '101' release.
- Listen to a radio interview from Hitline USA between Martin, Fletch, and fans from the day after the concert in our interview section.
- KROQ FM broadcast Depeche Mode's announcement of this concert at the Rose Bowl; you can listen to it at 1988-04-26 KROQ, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, USA.
- Behind The Wheel
- Something To Do
- Blasphemous Rumours
- Somebody (*)
- The Things You Said (*)
- Black Celebration
- Shake The Disease
- Pleasure, Little Treasure
- People Are People
- A Question Of Time
- Never Let Me Down Again
- A Question Of Lust (*)
- Master And Servant
- Just Can't Get Enough
- Everything Counts
- OMD Source 1 is a good audience recording of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's set. Two cassette sources were used to help create the most complete recording available.
- The paid attendance mention is at timestamp 1:37:26 of the main movie.
- Source: Shunt Q&A, LIVE - live albums / versions / performance, second page; about 1/3rd down the page
- Source: BONG magazine, issue two, page 22.
- Twitter conversation
- Source: 1998-08-04 Singles 86-98 EPK, Mute Records
- Source: Snag Films: Depeche Mode: The Dark Progression (dead link, not on archive.org either)