1993-09-07 Colisée de Québec, Quebec City, QC, Canada
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A press release from Associated Press on September 8th:
QUEBEC (AP) - David Gahan, lead singer of British pop group Depeche Mode, was arrested along with his bodyguard after a scuffle with a hotel porter, but they were later released, police said. A porter at the Chateau Frontenac was struck in the head as he tried to explain to the group Monday night that a blackout at the hotel would soon be over, police said. No charges were filed against Gahan and bodyguard Daryl Levy because of contradictory statements from witnesses, police said. Depeche Mode was in Quebec City to kick off the North American leg of its tour Tuesday night.
Here is Daryl Bamonte's entry for the famous Devotional Tour Diary, published in Bong magazine in 1994:
September 6th, QUEBEC: Did a rehearsal tonight and we have the opening night of the North American tour tomorrow night. The hotel sent us a memo today (in French). Kessler translated it. It basically said that all power in the hotel would be cut between midnight and 5am due to works being carried out. Couldn’t they have let us know when we booked the rooms three weeks ago? The memo also said that extra “staff” would be provided to “assist” guests to their rooms in the darkness. What this should have said was: “Several large, fat, ugly, stupid off-duty policemen will shine industrial-strength flashlights in your face while hurling obscenities at you in French, therefore implying that you have no right to be in the hotel and so giving them every right to deny you access to the rooms that you have paid a lot of money for.” Signed The Management. As you can imagine, a melee ensured, and Dave bumped into one of them. I’m sitting writing this in the waiting room of the local nick as Kessler tries to get Dave and Darrell Ives (Head of Security) out on bail. One of the band is in jail and we haven’t even done a gig yet!
September 7th, QUEBEC: Went to court with Dave today. All charges were dropped. We were so happy we bought ice lollies on the way out of the courthouse and appeared on the front cover of the local newspaper eating them. You’ve gotta laugh, ain’t ya? Dave did a very good show tonight, considering he had done some bird bang to rights.
BONG Magazine issue #20, published in April 1994, elaborated on Dave's arrest:
The management of the hotel where the band was staying failed to inform the band and some of the guests about the powercut that was planned for two nights due to maintenance work. Consequently, Dave was quite surprised to see the hotel in darkness when he returned with some friends after a dinner party. As he entered the lobby, he was approached by one of the security men, hired by the hotel for the power cut, who appeared from the darkness and shone a torch in his face, in order to identify him. Obviously, Dave couldn't see a thing and confused by the whole situation went with his instinct and punched the guy as he didn't know what was really happening. Someone from the hotel staff called the police, and Dave was promptly arrested and taken to the police station. The situation was quickly resolved as he explained to the police that he thought he was being attacked and he was acting in self-defense. The whole incident was taken as a terrible misunderstanding and the charges were dropped.
Depeche Mode's first North American tour in three years got off to a rocky start in Quebec with a wildly uneven concert at the Montreal Forum. The show nearly fell apart halfway through the evening when lead singer David Gahan lost his voice.
The trouble really started when Gahan attempted to belt out 'Condemnation', the standout bluesy, gospel number from the group’s recent Sire release, 'Songs of Faith and Devotion'. It's arguably the best song on the record and it was also clearly meant as the centerpiece of the first half of the show, with Alan Wilder on grand piano and the addition of two back-up singers, Samantha Smith and Hildia Campbell.
Unfortunately, Gahan's voice broke down halfway through the tune and he ended up walking off stage, leaving the three stunned-looking band members to finish the song. Gahan was suffering from a bad cold, according to sources at Warner Music. Guitarist/keyboard player Martin Gore picked up the slack by heading to the front of the stage to sing lead on 'Judas', the Middle Eastern-flavored ballad from the new album.
Gahan returned about 15 minutes after his hasty exit to deliver a surprisingly vigorous 'Mercy in You', but vocal problems plagued him for the rest of the show, especially on the more melodic material. The entire set, including encores, only lasted a little over an hour and a half, and the band didn’t perform any of their old hits.
The band still managed to salvage the night thanks to Gore's musical leadership and the rabidly enthusiastic support of the 13,000 fans on hand.
The show began with Gore, Wilder and Andrew Fletcher playing keyboards on an elevated stage behind Gahan, in a high-tech setup typical of previous Depeche Mode tours. But, in a radical change of pace for the group, the musicians moved on to acoustic instruments as the night wore on.
Fellow Brits The The opened with a 50-minute set dominated by lead singer Matt Johnson's brooding, intense presence. Crowd reaction was fairly upbeat, but Johnson's dark, somber style didn’t really carry much force in an arena setting.