Devotional/Exotic Tour diary
Daryl Bamonte, first roadie then tour manager then also keyboard player for Depeche Mode, wrote a tour diary for the Devotional and Exotic tour, which revealed some bizarre (though undoubtedly definitely not all bizarre) events throughout this mammoth tour. His diary was spread across Bong magazine issues #22 till #25, which were published between September 1994 and June 1995. Now-defunct fan-site Sacreddm.net has typed out this entire diary, and has been copied below.
Devotional Tour diary
May 19th, LILLE:
"First gig in Lille tonight. Strange feeling, being on tour again. Funny place to start."
May 24th, BRUSSELS:
"Just spent four days in ZURICH. There’s only so many cuckoo clocks you can look at in four days."
May 27th, COPENHAGEN:
"Good show tonight. Good party afterwards. The tour is starting to hot up, as the band settle into it. Spirit of camaraderie starting to appear."
May 28th, GOTHENBURG:
"Spiritualized have left. They didn’t like us. We went to the hotel disco after the show to think about a new support band. The resident band were playing, a dodgy Swedish ska band. Kessler asked them to support us in Stockholm the next night. The drummer came round first, and agreed on behalf of his band."
May 29th, STOCKHOLM:
"Ska band were superb. Of all the support bands we’ve ever had, they are the most recent."
June 1st, ROTTERDAM:
"Al’s birthday. I’m proud to say I (Dis-)Organized the most boring birthday party ever. Never mind. He’s got another birthday to come before this tour’s over."
June 6th, MILAN:
"Day off in MILAN. We just did two shows, which were great. I got refused entry to the cathedral in the city centre today. I didn’t have any sleeves. I argued that if I didn’t have any arms I wouldn’t have any sleeves, and they’d have to let me in then, but my Italian is surprisingly bad and when the polizia started shoving me, I thought I’d better hop it. Went to a bar instead. Much better."
June 8th, FLORENCE:
"A nightclub, a piano, a microphone, alcohol, Alan Wilder, Martin Gore – I THANK YOU!"
June 10th, NANCY:
"Didn’t speak all day today. Refuse to speak in a place called NANCY."
June 12th, MANNHEIM:
"Went to a disco in an airport at 7am. Yes. It’s getting that bad."
June 14th, DORTMUND:
"After a great show (Westfalenhalle), we went over the road to the park hotel for a quiet drink. (The crew were staying there.) Woke up the next morning in a twin room in the park hotel. Apparently, Martin and I checked in."
June 18th, PRAGUE:
"We had ANOTHER support band tonight. Local lads. Their name was “Sonic Smell”. Yes, you heard it right: “Sonic Smell”. I’m sorry, but not even 70 years of communism can excuse a band from taking a name that basically means “Humungous stench”. PHEW!"
June 21st, MUNICH:
"Marxman joined the tour tonight. They’re pretty good. Der wickid actually, yernart amin?"
June 30th, PARIS:
"We’ve just done two excellent sold-out shows at the Bercy. Hildia asked me “Are we doing The Bercy tonight?” and I replied “No, we’re doing Get Right With Me instead” and she just smiled. I think she’s got a cold."
July 3rd, BREST:
"Can you imagine living somewhere called BREST?"
July 7th, TOULON:
"Most of us are on the plane flying after-show from TOULON to LISBON, except for Fletch, who flew home to be with his family on his birthday, which is tomorrow. How long do you think he has at home? “29 hours, 29 hours…”"
July 10th, OPORTO:
"Dave Bracey had to do the sound tonight (did a great job). Jon Lemon couldn’t make it. Had too much to dream last night, apparently. Must be “mixing” in the wrong company."
July 15th, MADRID:
"“One of the most incredible Depeche Mode shows ever” – JD Fanger."
July 21st, FRANKFURT:
"It was 1978, and he was a young punk who had sneaked onto the stage and was dancing around in his bondage trousers, next to Joe Strummer. As the roadies rushed to get him, he ran full speed and as he flew into the crowd, he floated for a second, half hero, half angel. When he landed he realised it wasn’t 1978, it was 1993, and he was the singer of Depeche Mode and 12,000 Germans were trying to rip his trousers off."
July 23rd, OSTEND:
"Martin Gore’s birthday today, and guess what? We had a day off in OSTEND. A day-off-in-Ostend… I once wrote a script for a soap opera set in a pub in OSTEND. It was called “OSTENDERS”. It could have worked, but Anita Dobson sounded ridiculous with a Flemish accent. A day off in Ostend should have been as bad as it sounds, but we had a hotel on the beach, and looking across the North Sea you could almost smell the fish and chips. Three months away from Blighty; and now so close to home. We’ve got a gig in ZEEBRUGGE tomorrow and then a 2000 mile journey across the whole of Europe for a show in BUDAPEST. So near and yet so far…"
July 24th, ZEEBRUGGE:
"Headlined the huge Belga Beach festival today. The festival IS actually on the beach but Belga isn’t a coastal suburb of ZEEBRUGGE, it’s actually a brand of horrible cigarettes. The band were excellent tonight, even though the man upstairs decided to turn the shower on. The crowd stayed in good spirits all the same, and to show solidarity, Dave went right to the front of the stage, and dancing in bare feet, got absolutely soaked. He seemed to have an aversion to anything metal for some reason. We had a huge power-cut backstage tonight (about the same time Dave plugged his hairdryer in…)."
July 26th, BUDAPEST:
"It was a long trek from Belgium yesterday, and we had to drive out into the Hungarian countryside today for Anton to shoot the “CONDEMNATION” video. Dave seemed to spend most of the day being dragged around by Sam and Hildia. He wasn’t complaining though. It could have been the other way round…"
July 29th, LIEVIN:
"Yet another support band today. A band called “Paralax”, whose kudos is bolstered by the fact that they were recommended by Alan Wilder (and they’re on Mute.) Most of the band entourage have gone to LONDON already to “prepare” for the Crystal Palace show. It’s amazing how calm and smooth today was…"
July 31st, LONDON:
"Crystal Palace. Finally home after 3 months. 36,000+ people at this show, 1,000 with passes, and I know all of them, so backstage was chaos. My son had a good day. He definitely preferred DUB SYNDICATE to THE SISTERS OF MERCY. I used to think that ANDREW ELDRITCH was really cool. A god-like quasi-Darth Vader figure. He’s actually like RIGSBY."
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."
September 8th, MONTREAL:
"Me, Alan and Joel (security) went to a bar to see England play Poland in a World Cup qualifier. England were superb and we easily won 3-0. Looks like we’re on our way to USA 94! We couldn’t drink too much as there’s a show tonight, but we’ll more than make up for it afterwards."
September 10th, BOSTON:
"Did a show in a strange little town called WORCESTER, then drove back to BOSTON, home town of Tom Wilson, our drum technician. He was our “guide” for the night. Why do people, when on their home turf, keep apologising, and putting their arm around you, and asking if you are having a good time?"
September 13th, WASHINGTON D.C.:
"Saw an amazing sight today. Me, Martin and Darrell Ives were in a cab on our way back to the hotel from the video shop when we were held up at a stop sign for a full five minutes as a convoy of about fifty limos, police cars, armed jeeps and other vehicles, flanked by police motorcycle out-riders, rushed by, sirens blaring. The reason? Yasser Arafat, PLO leader was in town and on his way to The White House for his historic meet’n’greet with Clinton and Rabin. We tried to get a glimpse as his car went past, but saw nothing, except a red and white tea-towel…"
September 17th, PITTSBURGH:
"Don’t like it here. Decided to liven up the club we were in by taking off my clothes and putting on a girl’s dress. Martin, not to be outdone, did the same but missed out the bit about the girl’s dress. Mr. Gahan was on hand with his camera, but the film has mysteriously disappeared. Said a prayer to God tonight: “Please don’t make me come here again.”"
September 26th, NEW YORK CITY:
"Feel a bit rough today. We’ve had a few late nights recently. I was sitting in Alan’s room earlier waiting for him to have his hair cut before we went to the cinema. A Woody Allen film, “Manhattan Murder Mystery”, funnily enough. I was staring out of the window at the “Manhattan skyline”, trying to recount how many songs had that title, when I saw another of those “amazing sights”. A motorcade of black sedans stretching the whole length of Madison Avenue. Alan thought I was exaggerating, until 15 minutes later as we tried to cross the road to enter the cinema as the motorcade drove past at high speed. A full 15 minutes we stood on the kerb-side and missed the start of the film. Who was in town? The President? Almost. Hilary was giving a lecture. (Probably on how to run the country without being president.)"
September 27th, HAMPTON:
"Left New York after 8 days. Everybody seems to love it there. Flew to a place called HAMPTON, Virginia and had to land in a hurricane. This is not something that I recommend. It is not funny. It is not big and it is not clever. Our little 16-seat airplane was tossed round like a crouton in a Caesar salad. We couldn’t land in Virginia or North Carolina because of the hurricane and we didn’t have enough fuel to get to Atlanta. Martin and I initially tried to keep spirits up by singing Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline songs, but then something scary happened – the co-pilot and the stewardess started WHISPERING. What did they know that we didn’t? The thunder and lightning intensified as the engines roared louder and the jokes stopped. Then it got really scary. All of a sudden, as we passed through a cloud, everything went QUIET. The thunder stopped, the engines purred and we just seemed to drift through the air as the clouds turned into a pink mist, and for the first time in my life I really thought I was going to perish. Then BANG! The turbulence re-started, the prayers re-started (Dave clutching a crucifix!) and our pilots somehow managed to get us down in one piece. However, after spending a night in a hotel in HAMPTON, we decided that the plane had crashed, we had all died and were now in hell."
September 28th, CHAPEL HILL:
"I keep seeing this strange name at the top of the rooming list. Grant Abramson… mmm…Grant… Abramson… No sorry, you’ve got me there."
September 30th, ATLANTA:
"Had lunch with Grant Abramson today. I was telling him how today was the anniversary of James Dean’s death and would have been Marc Bolan’s birthday had he still been alive. He then launched into this long, complex monologue about my obvious obsession with death, coupled with a fascination with calendar dates, therefore indicating a deep-rooted childhood desire to die on my birthday. I’d still like to know what he’s actually doing on this tour."
October 6th, NEW ORLEANS:
"Three weeks to go to my thirtieth birthday, I hope Grant Abramson was lying. Discovered a new drink in NEW ORLEANS tonight. It’s called a hurricane: a plastic 1 litre beaker filled with pink rocket fuel. I managed to break “the cat’s meow” house record by drinking seven, but I wasn’t capable of walking the three yards to collect my free T-shirt so I was disqualified. Fletch actually drank 8 hurricanes, but was also disqualified for doing it in less than an hour. “But I like to get home early,” he protested."
October 14th, DALLAS:
"Depeche Mode do not have a manager, therefore we have a group of people on this tour called “the Committee”, who have meetings to discuss various points of the tour. “The Committee” comprises of Kessler (the manager, if you ask me), JD, Franksy, Tour Manager Ivan Kushlick, Tour accountant Derek Rauchenberger and Myself. A committee meeting occurred today in Dallas, and guess who was there? That man, Grant Abramson! I was going to tell him that this is the city where JFK was shot, but I wasn’t in the mood for his response. (It’s my birthday in THIRTEEN days remember…)."
October 15th, AUSTIN:
"We went to a good club tonight, and I witnessed two things I never thought I’d see. A man picked a fight with Darrell Ives (ouch!), and Fletch had to be carried home. Every day my eyes are opened a little wider."
October 21st, DETROIT:
"Went to see the Detroit Red Wings beat someone else at ice hockey. A fantastic atmosphere. It’s amazing how the Americans can have a sport where the players beat the shit out of each other, and yet the crowd remain jovial and even bring their kids along. THAT’S how you maintain sell-out crowds. Premiership clubs take note."
October 23rd, DETROIT:
"A Saturday night in Detroit, just did two great shows here (Friday and Saturday) and it’s our security company’s home town so we’ve been to the best clubs and been very well looked after etc. Then during a room party afterwards, David Gahan, the most accident-prone man in the world, did something that a bizillion people do every day – he opened a bottle of beer. Except Dave somehow managed to cut his finger off as well."
October 26th, CLEVELAND:
"Good evening Cleveland! Travelled aftershow to Chicago. Travelled to the airport in Alan’s car and he gave me the ultimate gift – a Manchester United away shirt. On the plane at midnight I was given a huge cake, champagne etc. and Dave gave me a gift that matched Alan’s for ultimateness – The Barry Manilow box set collection! I’m in heaven. I got to my room and Ivan had decorated it with streamers and put in ANOTHER cake (and he put me in a huge suite – God bless him). Me, Martin and Denise (Kessler’s assistant) are now on our way out for a quiet drink, as a build up for the big day tomorrow."
October 28th, CHICAGO:
"I’m gutted. I missed my birthday. Most people get presents. I get punishment. Locked up in my room for 36 hours with only “Mad Marty” as company. As usual, I made the most of it, but by the time I surfaced, it was already the 28th, and I had missed the whole day. Never mind, at least Grant Abramson got it wrong and I didn’t die (apparently I had a good go, if Flood is to be believed). Anyway, I’ve got my surprise party tonight. (Oops!)"
October 31st, MINNEAPOLIS:
"Was that our wardrobe girls on those brooms?"
November 1st, CHICAGO:
"The band is shooting a video on location, starting promptly this morning. Or in the immortal words of JD Fanger, “You will be taken into the woods at 11:00am and shot immediately!”"
November 2nd, DENVER:
"Poor old Martin L. Gore. I’ve just seen him dragged out of his room dressed in nothing but a pair of silk boxer shorts and a pair of huge handcuffs. Two huge female police officers burst into his room and arrested him for “making too much noise”. The funny thing was, we had turned his stereo off, after a few complaints. The source of offending volume? Martin’s infamous loud voice. “Can I just say one more thing!?!…”"
November 4th, SALT LAKE CITY:
"The Osmonds’ home town. Need I say more?"
November 6th, VANCOUVER:
"Showed my diaries to leading critic (well, mine at least) Mr Andrew Fletcher. He says the diary in America has become too serious, and needs more humour, like the European one. I’d better think of some jokes."
November 7th, SEATTLE:
"There was this band from Basildon…”"
November 12th, SAN JOSE:
"THE THE have asked me to do a song on stage with them in Las Vegas. It’s my version of “Slow Emotion Replay”. A sort of Mike Reid meets Matt Johnson kind of affair. I can’t wait."
November 19th, LOS ANGELES:
"Tonight I met up with Anton Corbijn, a gentleman and a scholar. The four of us had drinks and then went out to dinner."
November 20th, LOS ANGELES:
"We start a run of five shows at The Forum tonight and everybody is excited. Alan is scratching himself at the moment. He claims he’s got an itchy kravitz."
November 21st, LOS ANGELES:
"Backstage was chaos last night. Worse than Crystal Palace. Backstage co-ordinator Carol Graham and I were pulling our hair out (as opposed to each other’s, which has happened in the past)."
November 25th, LOS ANGELES:
"We had a superb party at Trader Vic’s last night, courtesy of Bamonte / Kessler Productions. It was a bigger success than our sight-seeing tour of Lisbon (or sound-hearing tour, in Jon Lemon’s case). Experienced a true American Thanksgiving tonight, courtesy of Dave and Theresa. Loads of turkey and beer and people wishing each other well. All it needed was a Bond film and I could have believed it was Christmas."
November 26th, LOS ANGELES:
"We’ve finished our five-night run at The Forum. I’m exhausted. We should get an early-ish night tonight. Las Vegas tomorrow!"
November 27th, LAS VEGAS:
"Kessler phoned and told me the Vegas show is cancelled. Dave’s voice is shot to bits, and he’s got flu to boot. Bummer. I’ve never been there, and I was supposed to do my gig with THE THE. Life seems like one disappointment after another at the moment. Fletch just rang. He says the plane is still going to Vegas and do I want to jump in with him and Grainne. Oh superb! A night off in Vegas with a pocketful of greenbacks!"
November 28th, LOS ANGELES:
"“Oh what a night!” I forgot to go to bed last night. Las Vegas IS superb. 24 hours of sheer heaven (and I’m 400 bucks up). I’m going to buy a crucifix in Mexico with the money."
December 3rd, MEXICO CITY:
"We have just done two amazing shows here. “The crowd were amazing, up there with the best. The shows were stunning,” so says JD Fanger. It’s a shame then that Mexico City is about a thousand miles above sea level and has the worst traffic pollution in the world. I was out of breath walking across the room, Dave had to run around on stage for two hours…"
December 11th, DUBLIN:
"Four months of sheer madness touring North American and now I’m sitting in a hotel room in Dublin with my girlfriend, Alison, blowing up balloons for our son’s 1st Birthday party. She keeps asking me what planet I’m on, and I keep asking HER what planet I’m on."
December 14th, BIRMINGHAM:
"Back in England again. How strange."
December 20th, LONDON:
"Played Wembley tonight. A very good show, but you guessed it – backstage was chaos. We had a good party at The Regent afterwards. So what now – a long rest… NOT! I move house tomorrow, then it’s Christmas, then it’s time to start all over again…"
Exotic Tour diary
January 31st, CAPE TOWN:
"Monday morning, but I don’t have that Monday-morning-feeling. The sun is shining and Fletch and I have just flown down to glorious South Africa (or should I say Siff Ifrica). Franksy’s just taken Fletch off in an air-conditioned stretch limo, and left me to do the baggage. Still, it’s nice to have a soft comfortable suitcase to lie on after a GRUELLING TWELVE-HOUR FLIGHT."
February 1st, CAPE TOWN:
"A day off today, so I’ve got time to think. I went and sat on a rock at the end of The Cape Of Good Hope (appropriate for this tour), and worked out that The Falklands are over there somewhere, Antarctica’s down there and Australia’s that way. If anyone wants the feeling of being at the end of the world, they should come here. (Geographically, not spiritually…)"
February 2nd, PLUMSTEAD:
"Band rehearsals. I cannot believe that somebody would have come all this way last century, and not had the initiative to name their homeland after a nicer part of south-east London. “New Greenwich” perhaps? So what if they were from Plumstead? The Zulus wouldn’t have known any different."
February 4th, PLUMSTEAD:
"Rehearsals are going very well. “Rush” is a really powerful opener. On the way here yesterday, Alan and I saw something strange. There was this huge great stretch of motorway with no cars on it. The motorway stretches for a few miles then suddenly stops. There’s a 100 yard gap and then the motorway continues again. In the gap is a roundabout with a small pink shack on it, a roadside café. Alan and I were debating the reasons for the non-completion of a multi-million Rand motorway. I said “I bet the little man who owns the café wouldn’t give up his land.” We laughed at this preposterous idea and thought nothing more of it. On the way back to Cape Town, we decided to find out the real reason. We asked our driver what had happened and he replied: “You see that little pink shack over there…”."
February 6th, JOHANNESBURG:
"Cape Town was beautiful. Constant sunshine, pretty scenery and a high feel-good factor. Rather like Los Angeles without the earthquakes, riots, etc. Johannesburg is none of these things. It’s rather like New York without the excitement and character."
February 9th, JO’BURG:
"The first show of the “Exotic” leg of the tour tonight, and everybody’s a bit nervous. Not just because it’s the first show of a new leg, but it’s our first gig ever on the African continent, and not many have played in South Africa. (They weren’t going to play S-S-S-Sun City, Whoa No…)"
February 10th, THE BUSH, GENERAL TOWNSHIPS, LOTS OF TIME SPENT DRIVING (etc):
"Anton “I dink it’s just dree more miles” Corbijn and one of THOSE photo-shoots."
February 11th, JO’BURG:
"Alan has told me that a friend of a friend is pissed off for playing in South Africa. “Don’t they know that there’s apartheid there?”… He’s obviously done his homework then. A bachelor of political analysis from the university of life. What the stupid twat forgot to learn was that the dismantling of apartheid began in 1991, and if the people of SA are moving toward peace, staying away will not assist their cause. (I’ll come down off my soap-box now)"
February 12th, JO’BURG:
"God, I love South Africa. Saturday afternoon, and they have live Premiership football on television, something we do NOT have in Blighty."
February 14th, JO’BURG:
"I’ve got that horrible feeling that I forgot to do something today…"
February 15th, JO’BURG (still):
"Praise the Lord. I managed to get to the Interflora shop just before it closed last night."
February 17th, CAPE TOWN:
"It’s great to be back in Cape Town. Everybody has election fever here. You can feel the anticipation in the air. If the ANC get in (as they will), some of the delightful extreme right-wingers are threatening to re-locate (uninvited) to New Zealand. I bet the Maoris are pleased about that…"
February 18th, CAPE TOWN:
"I’ve just been reading “A South African Political Brief”, given to me by the record company. Under the heading of “Major Social Problems” they list “extremely high levels of crime and violence, illiteracy and a high divorce rate”. Coming from Basildon, I hardly thought them worth mentioning…"
February 20th, CAPE TOWN:
"Oh dear, oh dear. Maybe this tour is jinxed. Alan, myself and Jerry Meltzer (security) went for a nice Italian dinner tonight. We had to leave the restaurant early as Alan was complaining of abdominal pains. Back at the hotel, he went to his room but refused to see a doctor as it was “only overeating”. I went to my room to get him some Alka-Seltzer and on exiting the lift on the way back, I could hear a screaming, coming from Alan’s room 30 yards away, that sounded like a dog being neutered, without anaesthetic. I dragged him out of his room and into a waiting car and by the time we reached the hospital he was foaming at the mouth and screaming phrases that sounded like out-takes from “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The doctors have examined him and confirmed that he has a kidney stone, definitely not caused by “overeating”. Alan insists that he can pass the stone naturally, through his water, (like passing a hedgehog according to Kessler) but unfortunately the doctors have insisted on inserting a laser down the eye of his manhood… (ouch!)"
February 22nd, DURBAN:
"The operation went well yesterday, but as heroic as Alan tried to be, there was no way that he was going to do a show tonight. The first show here is cancelled, not a very common thing for DM. I wish I could have got to Durban earlier. Dave and Martin spent the day swimming with dolphins, which sounds very groovy. Kessler’s gone back to America for a couple of weeks."
February 25th, JO’BURG (again):
"Dave and I have just worked out that we’ve now been in South Africa for more days than we’ve been in England since May 13th last year. It’s starting to feel like we live here."
February 27th, TRAVEL:
"We finally bid farewell to South Africa. It was an enjoyable stay, but after four weeks of hard work, we’re looking forward to an interesting visit to the Far East."
February 28th, SINGAPORE:
"I don’t know if anybody’s listening, but it’s actually physically impossible for one man to move 7 baggage trolleys, full of bags, from one place to another, all at once. Especially when it’s 7am, he’s just flown for 11 hours and feels like he’s wrapped in hot cling-film. Thank the Lord for those self-less troupers otherwise known as “The Crew”. (Especially Jeremy Scott Webb)"
March 2nd, SINGAPORE:
"We’ve been here for three days now. It’s nice to feel safe when walking the streets, but when you gain safety you lose a certain buzz. It was quite a bizarre sight to see Martin Gore DJ’ing in a reggae bar tonight, an event that was both “safe” and “buzzin’”."
March 5th, PERTH:
"There is something strange going on. People are starting to act weird. Too much time spent at the airports, I reckon."
March 8th, MELBOURNE:
"I managed to blag a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, two T-shirts and a pair of sunglasses from Stussy and Massimo today, thus doubling the size of my wardrobe in an instant. The gig tonight is in “Batman Avenue”. Nice to see the Aussies have a sense of humour."
March 13th, SYDNEY:
"I had lunch with my aunt Terri today, and she said I look just like my dad did when she left England to emigrate. Now, I don’t know what my dad got up to in Dagenham in the Fifties, but he would have to go some way to look like THIS…"
March 16th, HONG KONG:
"Read all about it! Martin Gore drinks too much peach schnapps and has conversation with broom! I swear it happened. Just ask Alan."
March 18th, MANILA:
"The traffic here is worse than Mexico City and the Blackwall Tunnel put together. On the way to the show, Fletch, Martin and I were told that we had a police motorcycle escort, but I don’t think that anybody actually told him that he was a police motorcycle escort, and he promptly disappeared into the night. I finally had to resort to lying down in front of an Austin Seven, so its driver would stop and let us drive on the pavement. Still, we got to the gig just in time to see Kessler chasing the promoter out of the building, clutching a pair of scissors. The promoter’s crime? He put up posters around the gig advertising “Smoky Joes Crisps”, against our wishes. The scissors? To cut down the posters of course!"
March 19th, MANILA:
"Just when I thought that things could not get any weirder, that we were at a point when nothing would seem odd, then this. Fletcher will not be completing the tour after Hawaii, and the other three want me to stand in for him (?!?). Time for a stiff drink, methinks."
March 20th, MANILA:
"I had lunch with Fletch today and I feel much better. Reality has sunk in a bit, and Fletch has told me he’s glad it’s me and not “any old session guy”. Phew! That’s the hard part out of the way, I’ve just got to learn to play keyboards now…"
March 21st, TRAVEL:
"Bangkok was cancelled, so we fly to Hawaii early. We leave the Philippines, fly overnight and arrive in Hawaii before we took off. Probably."
March 21st, HONOLULU:
"Finally get to Hawaii after a lifetime of trying. Alison arrives soon and there’s a couple of things I have to remember… It’s her birthday on Friday so get her a present… and… Oh yeh, learn to play keyboards."
March 22nd, HONOLULU:
"Wob and Tom (super-techs) drop off the equipment to my room, and now it’s starting to feel real. Me and Alan sort of did a run through."
March 23rd, HONOLULU:
"Everyone’s gone to the beach today. I can’t go, I’ve got to rehearse, I’m pretending to smile, but I really don’t want to."
March 24th, HONOLULU:
"Apparently, I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night and viciously assaulted a pile of clothes. Oh dear…"
March 25th, HONOLULU:
"Apparently, I did a complete run-through of the set in my sleep last night. I gave Alison her watch and sang “Happy Birthday”, so I was able to forget about “it” for a full fifteen seconds. Tried to go down to the beach with the others but couldn’t stand the jovial moods they were all in. You know, being on a beach in Hawaii. The Band are doing a show tonight, so I’ll be playing along with them, behind the curtain, to get the “feel”. The audience won’t hear it, thank God."
March 26th, HONOLULU:
"It went okay last night, but the strain is killing me. After pulling my hair out all week, I’ve now started punching myself in the head. Stress presents itself in funny ways."
March 27th, HONOLULU:
"The backstage run-through was better last night. The crew are being very encouraging. Anzac (Monitor Engineer) has told me that I CAN do it, so maybe I just might be able to pull this thing off."
March 30th, HONOLULU:
"Alan and I have finished rehearsals and things have worked out okay, apart from the fact that I have no hair left and a very sore head."
March 31st, LOS ANGELES:
"We flew in from Hawaii today, had a Japanese meal and then decided to go to Martin’s room for a drink. As we got out of the lift, Martin invited a stranger and his girlfriend to the room. “Hi,” I said, “What’s your name?” “Nile,” was his reply. “Oh yeh? Like Nile Rodgers?” we all said in unison. “Yeh, that’s me,” and he promptly pulled out his gold Amex card to prove it! We were jammin’ those Chic songs all night!"
April 1st, LOS ANGELES:
"Alan and I went out shopping and bought some stage clothes. We’re just boarding the plane to Brazil. Now the fun’s going to start."
April 3rd, SAO PAULO:
"We just did our first run through as a “band”, which I thought went very well but in the “only perfection will do” world of these fascists, it obviously never. Just because I took too long fading the bass out on “Stripped” – Martin’s looking at me as if it’s all been a big mistake but fortunately Dave laughed and Alan remained quietly confident."
April 4th, SAO PAULO:
"This is just SO not funny. There’s loads of people screaming and they’re all going to be looking at me, waiting for a mistake so they can laugh and cheer and point and hold up banners saying “Bamonte’s a Wanker” in Portugese but I’ll understand it anyway… I wish I’d never agreed to this and I wish I could stand still."
April 5th, SAO PAULO:
"So what’s up people? Call me Ricco Suave. Hip keyboard session man. Yeh, sure, we did a show last night. It was great… The best bit was walking off after “Personal Jesus” and waiting to do the encores and Martin shouting at me “You did it, you pulled it off, it doesn’t matter about the encores ’cause you did it!” So you think I’d be more relaxed tonight, right? Wrong. Alan the Bastard has decided to change the set tonight and throw in three different songs. At least Dave and Martin look as worried as I do…"
April 8th, BUENOS AIRES:
"I think we’re witnessing “Beatlemania” down here. These people are crazy about DM and crazy in general. They are all such nice people though. “Kill an Argie, win a Metro” seems like a lifetime away now… Somebody decided to mention something in passing today. There’s going to be 40,000 in there tonight. Thanks for dropping that into the conversation…"
April 10th, SANTIAGO:
"I had visions of Argentina and Chile being full of fascist juntas and military coups and dissidents with false looking moustaches having electrodes attached to their testicles. Well, they’re not. People don’t go missing in the middle of the night and they don’t hate us Angleterras. Anyway, I’ve done four shows now and I think I’ve got a bit of a routine going."
April 12th, SANTIAGO:
"I cannot believe it. We’ve cancelled Columbia. (I mean we’ve cancelled the show.) I really wanted to go there. Great coffee, apparently. It’s probably fortunate that the two places we cancelled were Bogota and Bangkok…"
April 14th, SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA:
"Help me God… This place is freaking me, and everybody else, out. Alan says he’s never seen me look so freaked out as when we were walking onstage. (And the tap didn’t work in the dressing room…)."
April 16th, MONTERREY:
"Well, that’s South America out of the way. Six shows under my belt and confidence has crept up. I’ll just pop home for a week to see the nipper and then face the next big test – USA ’94!"
May 11th, SACRAMENTO:
"We did a good run-through today. Outdoor venue, sun was shining and everyone in shorts and shades. Life is good."
May 12th, SACRAMENTO:
"I felt a bit nervous tonight. It’s worse when there’s people you know watching. There seemed to be a lot of our ex-crew members lurking round, waiting to witness this “novelty”. After the show, Theresa’s grandmother gave me a kiss, took my hand and said: “You did a very good show”, which made a refreshing change from some industry wanker saying to me: “Uhh, great show Fletch!”, when you know they spent the entire show in the dressing room because they’re drunk and they have guacamole all down the front of their shirt…"
May 13th, SAN FRANCISCO:
"We left England to begin this tour exactly 1 year ago today, May 13th 1993. I actually feel about 11 years older. Only 20,000 people tomorrow night. A mere club gig compared to Argentina…"
May 17th, LAS VEGAS:
"I love this place. Gambled and drank and gambled all night. Good show tonight. I think I almost got on nodding terms with one of Primal Scream tonight, unless he was just twitching…"
May 20th, IRVINE MEADOWS:
"I have a special affection for this gig. I remember Dave coming round my council flat in Basildon in early 1985 and being very excited because The Hollywood Palladium had sold out in minutes and the promoter had added another show – “Somewhere near Orange County, holds over 12,000 people!” and that’s when it started getting mental. We celebrated with four cans of Fosters and sat down to enjoy another gripping episode of “The Bill” – Ahh, the good old days…"
May 21st, SAN BERNARDINO:
"We had to stop the car on the way back to San Fran. because MLG wanted to pee. He walked towards the grass as me and John Sampson (security) formed a human shield and as we looked back we were greeted with the sight of just a pair of creepers pointing skywards and strange whimpering. “Shomeone should have shaid shomething” he cried as we pulled him out of the hole…"
May 26th, PARK CITY:
"Kessler just phoned. The show in Denver is cancelled. That’s a shame. I really like Denver. Myself and another crew member (Andrew “Nobby” Marr) formed a band on the Black Celebration tour called “The Blah Brothers” and we played support to DM here at Park City and also at the famous Red Rocks in Denver. There was no blood red sky though, just a barrage of beer cans…"
May 31st, SAN ANTONIO:
"Getting to know the Primals a bit more now. They’re a good bunch. Six of them were arrested last night for swimming in a river. Charges of disturbing the peace were dropped but the D.A. is pushing a charge of “polluting a public waterway”…"
June 1st, HOUSTON:
"A security man walked onstage just before the encores with the biggest birthday cake I’ve ever seen. Of course, as I said in Rotterdam, Alan would have another birthday before this tour was out. A monster of confectionery and they STILL had trouble fitting all those candles on… (This year’s party was a little better though…)."
June 4th, DALLAS:
"I like having Saturday off. I like all day off, actually. This pop-star lark is much better than working. I hate work. As I’ve always said: “Work is the scourge of the drinking classes…”"
June 6th, NEW ORLEANS:
"Duffy from Primal Scream drinks a lot and managed to upset Dave somehow. Did The Scream and The Mode square up to each other? No way. The Primals meted out their own form of justice – they dragged Duffy off and kicked the shit out of him…"
June 9th, ATLANTA:
"What an excellent show tonight. It was boiling hot on stage and during the encores I almost broke into a sweat. Me and Alan have developed a bit of a rock’n’roll ending to “Stripped” which is good but I wish they would all stop laughing during “Enjoy The Silence” when I play “Move it”…"
June 12th, CLEVELAND:
"I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist “tapping” a pair of Alan’s drumsticks on an air conditioning pipe on the way to the stage before pretending to get lost, and when Dave grabbed the mike and screamed “Good evening, Cleveland!”, you couldn’t do a thing with me. We really are Primal Tap, sorry, I mean Spinal Tap…"
June 14th, COLUMBIA:
"The Primals’ camp is a bit tense tonight. I think the tour manager’s upset Throb, and he’s refusing to go on. I reasoned with him that if they went on late, then we would go on late and we would run over time and the union would pull the plug on us. Lo and behold, he got up and went on stage. It shows what a bit of gentle coaxing can do (and a case of red wine…)"
June 17th, NEW YORK CITY:
"Another night at Jones Beach tonight. Looking out of the dressing room door I’m sure that I recognise those haircuts being mobbed by Stabbing Westward – Sure enough, my brother and Robert Smith decided to “hop over” on Concorde and surprise / heckle / applaud me. In fact, I think they only came because we’ve got a private box at Giants Stadium tomorrow for the Italy / Ireland game…"
June 18th, NEW YORK CITY:
"A short trip down to New Jersey to Giants Stadium, sporting the T-shirt that Perry had made with a bedsheet and some vegetable dye. In our private box, there are 30 people – 27 supporting Ireland and 3 supporting Italy: the two Bamontes (obviously) and Mr. Smith… Italy’s flag is Red, White & Green and Ireland’s flag is Orange, White & Green, and if you look into the crowd they all look the same. I suspect that our merchandisers have printed up some flags that were Deep Tangerine, White & Green and sold them to both sets of punters: Yeh yeh, Paolo, the red’s faded a bit, Nah nah Paddy, orange always prints dark…"
June 19th, NEW YORK CITY:
"We went to an excellent restaurant last night, Café Tabak. We were given a table in the exclusive upstairs area, and looking around at all the beautiful people, I thought, “Yes, I’m playing in the world’s greatest band, I’m in Manhattan in a noted restaurant and I’m sure that Naomi Campbell is looking across from the next table and thinking ‘Wow, look at that cool rock-star, at the zenith of his career, the way he conducts himself…’ – at which point Robert announces that he’s fed up with that skinny woman staring at HIM…"
June 21st, MONTREAL:
"The inevitable finally happened tonight. I played a bum note in the intro to “Behind The Wheel”. I’m sure that everybody WAS laughing and pointing but the “Wanker” banners were in French, not Portuguese. I was devastated. And the “only perfection will do” fascists? Dave told me to “stop being so f***ing precious” (!)"
June 23rd, BOSTON:
"Throb from Primal Scream missed their gig tonight. He claims that it was due to bad traffic. I think it was probably because he was too busy watching the Italy / Norway game. The funny thing was that the Scream didn’t sound any different. I wonder… Brazil are playing tomorrow… taxi… wrong turning… bad traffic… lost me pass… lost me watch… etc."
June 26th, NEW YORK CITY:
"I think I’ve got to slow down a bit. I was in a club with Martin last night and felt unwell so I decided to leave. As I walked across the dance floor people were looking at me and going “Whooh!” and I realised that my body was shaking so much that they thought I was DANCING…"
June 28th, PHILADELPHIA:
"Dave’s just come back from a club looking a little shaken. Apparently the doormen wouldn’t let some guy in so he went to his jeep, took out a machine gun and shot the place up. I should have done that to Racquels a few times in the Eighties…"
June 30th, PITTSBURGH:
"Martin and I went for a walk and went into a burger bar. I was feeling a bit mad anyway, but suddenly I felt like I’d walked onto the set of the snuff version of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”… I said last September that I didn’t want to come here again…"
July 3rd, DETROIT:
"Tried to have an early night last night. It was 3AM and I’d just pulled the covers back when the phone rang. “Just another hour, c’mon”... Okay, Martin wants a drink. I got some cold beers ready, some cigarettes and, to hell with it, I’d push the boat out, I even laid some biscuits out to make it a “real” party. Martin turned up in just his pants, and three fans in tow – “I told them if they had a light, they could come to a party” he explained, puffing away. There goes my early night…"
July 4th, DETROIT:
"The three fans, Stymie, his girlfriend and their best friend Jesus thought it would be fun to stand in the front row last night and hold up red cards (they’ve just discovered football over here). Found out that Jesus’ real name was Dave, which seemed like a funny name for The Messiah – until I REALLY thought about it… We had our end-of-tour party last night. Andy Franks spent an hour chatting up a gorgeous blonde called Brandy. No-one had the heart to tell him it was Martin in drag. The highlight of the night was “Torture Man”, who, well, tortures himself…"
July 5th, DETROIT:
"I was so tired last night that I had to sit down onstage, and when I looked round I noticed that the others were doing the same, even Alan. (He was playing the drums though…)."
July 8th, CHICAGO:
"Well, that’s it then. 14 months, or 612,000 minutes, of our lives completely absorbed with a tour and now it’s over. We played a show in Indianapolis tonight which was apparently good fun, but I don’t remember a thing. I missed Jez climbing out of the piano, Franksy and Primal Scream doing backing vocals, Dave diving in the audience. I do remember one thing though – it was the last night of a gruelling world tour and some clever bastards from the crew replaced my “Personal Jesus” samples with the appropriate message “You love it and you know it…”.
Until the next time…