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Tour Of The Universe blog
In 2009, a few people who were close to the "Depeche Mode camp" were asked to keep a blog of Depeche's Tour Of The Universe. These people were: May a.k.a. "MM", Peter a.k.a. "PeterToo", Peter Harper a.k.a. "Big Pete", and Daniel Barassi (the webmaster of depechemode.com). The blog was updated as the tour went on, put onto Depechemode.com, and can still be found here.
Blog 1: author: peter | posted: May 5th, 2009 | Somewhere over Germany
"Hello there! My name is Peter, and I will be one of the guest tour bloggers here on DepecheMode.com. I'll be out on the road, shooting a bunch of 'behind the scenes' stuff for you guys to enjoy. The tour started for me about 45 minutes ago, as my plane took off, heading to Luxembourg, where Depeche Mode will be kicking off "Tour Of The Universe" with a warm-up show in the Rockhal tomorrow night. I really have no idea what to expect, but I'm sure there will be some music involved."
Blog 2: author: peter | posted: May 5th, 2009 | Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
"Arrived safely, checked in, ate lunch. Can't wait to get started, which due to camera restrictions for the Warm Up show, will have to wait a while. Walking around the area surrounding the Rockhal - it's a fascinating place. The venue is situated just across the road from what must be the biggest demolition site I've ever seen. I'll post some pictures. Perfect setting for a Depeche Mode gig really. They should be doing the whole of "Construction Time Again" as a tribute to this place... or not. The band are doing a final run through of the show at the moment. Can't actually see the show from here, but they are sounding fantastic!"
Blog 3: author: peter | posted: May 7th, 2009 | Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
"Last nights show was so hot and so humid it actually started raining inside towards the end. Or maybe the venue's piping needs checking.
I'm sure there must have been some first night jitters doing the rounds, but they weren't showing. Everything went off seemingly without a hitch. The band were fantastic. The set list was extremely well paced, with lots of nice surprises thrown in, including a new version of "Personal Jesus", which will surprise if not everyone, then at least those who didn't catch the band's recent US and UK TV appearances.
Visually the show looked gorgeous. This tour might just be one of the best looking tours I've ever seen. All in all, I was very impressed. Judging from the crowd, I wasn't the only one. Watching the "Never Let Me Down Again" wave from the back, it really didn't seem to matter whether there was six or sixty thousand fans - it was simply stunning!
Motor, who'd done a real good job opening the show earlier, closed it as well with a performance at the "Start Of Tour/After Show" party in another part of Rockhal. As I left for my hotel to catch some Z's, I stopped by to see how the load-out was going. You will never fully grasp the logistics of a show like this until you watch them take everything down and load it onto the trucks. It's a basically a million piece jigsaw puzzle weighing god-knows how many tons that have to be put together, taken apart and boxed up - all on a daily basis. Fascinating."
Blog 4: author: mm | posted: May 7th, 2009 | Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
"Luxembourg marked the first show of the European leg of Depeche Mode's Tour of the Universe. It was also the fastest-selling show in Luxembourg history. Not bad for such a tiny place!
Despite the weather, 5,400 fans from all across Europe made the trek to the Rockhal Venue in Luxembourg city. We organized a quick meet and greet for a few lucky winners who got to take a memorable group photo with the guys before the show.
I managed to get myself situated between the stage and the barricade, sharing space with the legendary Anton Corbijn, and took some shots of the live set. I hope my amateurish photographic attempts will give you a glimpse into Depeche Mode's 2009 live experience.
It was an emotional moment for many of us, including the band. After 6 weeks of bi-coastal and transatlantic rehearsals, Depeche Mode was finally able to unleash their musical fury to Europe.
For those of you who bought tickets to one of our upcoming shows: you're in for a real treat. 20-foot tall Dave, Spaceman Andy and Head-Banging Martin. I won't divulge too much. You have to be there.
After an amazing warm-up show, we celebrated with friends and family and boarded our flights to Tel Aviv!
The guys are in the middle of a press conference at the moment at the Hilton Tel Aviv. It's the first time for many of us to come to Israel so we're taking in the sights. We're off to Jerusalem to absorb the local culture after this!
Until next time, Shalom to you all!"
Blog 5: author: peter | posted: June 7th, 2009 | Zentralstadion, Leipzig
"Sitting in Leipzig's Zentralstadion, enjoying the few rays of sun that's finally breaking through. It's been raining pretty much non-stop since we arrived yesterday. Hopefully the weather will clear up nicely before tomorrow's show.
We arrived almost exactly 24 hours ago, to find the basic stage almost finished. As I said in an earlier posting it's an impressive bit of engineering - a gigantic puzzle. It takes a team of 30 people almost 3 days to build the thing - and that's just the basic stage. The lighting, PA, video and everything else comes after that. There's so much stuff happening at any one time it's hard to really keep up.
Spent most of the day yesterday and this morning doing photos and video of the construction, which I'll send over shortly - with a little luck they'll be appearing alongside this very blog entry.
Random observation: the stage-left speaker stack went up as I was writing this and the stage-right video screen, is going up as I type. Will jot down some more random thoughts and observations later."
Blog 6: author: peter | posted: June 9th, 2009 | Zentralstadion, Leipzig
"It was great seeing the band back on stage yesterday in Leipzig. Everyone was in high spirits during soundcheck, joking around, laughing and sounding great.
The show was simply put fantastic. The crowd response was phenomenal, and the band in top form. Attached a few snaps here. "Policy Of Truth" made it's first appearance this tour, in place of "In Sympathy".
The band left for Berlin straight after the show, and after a quick load out, the crew followed suit."
Blog 7: author: peter | posted: June 10th, 2009 | Olympiastadion, Berlin
"Went to see Nitzer Ebb last night. Some of the Mode lads made it down too. Went for a walk around the Olympiastadion this morning, and took a few pictures of the scenery that are attached here. Random observation: The weather forecast said it was gonna rain... at the risk of jinxing it, that isn't exactly looking likely at the moment. More later..."
Blog 8: author: peter | posted: June 11th, 2009 | Somewhere in Germany...
"On my way home for a bit of R&R. Two shows in and I am already aching all over. Anyway... Depeche played to a packed Olympiastadion in Berlin last night. The renovated site of the 1936 Olympics (where Jesse Owens made history) proved a great setting for a great gig. Despite the best efforst of M83 and Polarkreis 18 to get everyone pumped up and ready, it did take the audience a bit of time to warm up. But dammit did they make up for it in the last two thirds of the show. Every song was greeted with a roar, and the energy in the place was simply amazing.
Former label mates and old time friends of Depeche, Nitzer Ebb was in the house, which spawned an impromptu addition of a few lines from "Lightning Man" being added to the lyrics of "Enjoy The Silence", making the LiveHereNow recording from this show an instant must-have! Dave also dedicated "Never Let Me Down Again" to Doug and Bon.
The after show party was a good bit of fun. In addition to the usual suspects, I'm sure I spotted Richie Hawtin, Dave Gooday and the members of A-Ha there."
Blog 9: author: peter | posted: June 11th, 2009 | Somewhere in Germany (2)...
"I finally found the cable I needed to unload my other camera. So without further ado, here's a few more snaps from our stop in Berlin."
Blog 10: author: peter | posted: June 22nd, 2009 | Bratislava
"I wanted to share some great photos with you. On our stop in Bratislava, good friend and local photographer Ivana Dvorska took some great shots of the band, which I've attached here for you to enjoy!"
Blog 11: author: peter | posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Budapest
"What a difference a day makes! Yesterday in Bratislava was a bit of a nightmare to be honest. The venue was awful, the weather was awful, and the local stage hadn't been built to the band's specifications resulting in a stressed out atmosphere the whole day and all sorts of technical problems.
A leaky "roof" on the side of the stage gave way to the massive amounts of water, and soaked a mixer, killed about 10 channels of audio, and left show opener MOTOR on stage playing with no audio on or off stage for a bit. Depeche Mode had to ditch the video sphere because the stage that had been provided wouldn't hold the weight of the entire rig.
But it was a good show - the crowd was on fire despite being soaked!! Absolutely mental.
Today, in Budapest was much nicer weather (during the day), a lovely venue and much better facilities. The stage was as it should be, which really did make a lot of difference.
The show itself was yet again fantastic. "Jezebel" was back on the set list and a "special" version of "Master & Servant" showed it's face - Dave fumbled the lyrics, and left the singing to the crowd for almost the entire song (he did thank them for their valiant efforts). Anton Corbijn was out taking pictures today, so looking forward to seeing the fruits of his labor. Till then you'll have to settle for mine."
Blog 12: author: peter | posted: June 26th, 2009 | Leaving Prague...
"After a day off in Prague, the band took the stage last night at Eden Stadium (or Slavia Stadium or Tippentot-something Arena, depending on who you ask), for a thoroughly enjoyable gig. The venue was a fairly new, relatively intimate stadium. Felt more like an indoor arena, except without a roof. A roof would have been nice from time to time though, as sun and blue sky gave way to rain and thunder at regular intervals during the day. It wasn't too bad during the show though.
The venue was in a residential area, so it was an early show night. There's something slightly odd about seeing the show in daylight. Not that it seemed to lessen the experience for anyone - the band was on fire and into it, and the crowd was great.
Next stop Paris... for the tour at least. Everyone seems dead excited to go there, as it's gonna be the world tour equivalent of "bring your kids to work day". Not for me though... I'm heading home for a few days, before the tour hits Copenhagen."
Blog 13: author: peter | posted: June 30th, 2009 | Copenhagen
"There was a red devil running around catering today. Not quite sure what that was all about... perhaps the food was devilishly good today? Motor went down a storm, and was completely over the moon after their set. Great to see the Depeche crowd embracing them. Seems Depeche made the right choice in inviting them along.
I had my family come down for the show, so we were all sat together. First time I watched the show from a seated position - seeing the floor turn into this massive moving thing during stompers like "A Question Of Time" and "Enjoy The Silence" was simply awesome. Weird how a different position in the venue makes one notice and appreciate different things.
Local heros, and 'special guests' during Touring The Angel, The Raveonettes, came back after the show to say hi. Lovely!"
Blog 14: author: peter | posted: July 1st, 2009 | Hamburg
"An almost unbearable heat meant a lot of walks out back to grab bottles of cold water - a trip that was made increasingly dangerous, as Dave took to racing golf carts around the the place. A regular Dennis the Menace that guy - damn near ran me over... twice!!
Tonights show was nothing short of amazing. Best one yet, by my count. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what made this show stand out - everything just kind of came together perfectly. The crowd was on fire from start to finish, the band were in high spirits and rocking, Dave was all smiles throughout and the sound was simply spot.
Not even a mystery-technical glitch, that temporarily shut down the PA for about 10 seconds during the epic part of "Never Let Me Down Again" could detract from the experience. If anything, it just added to it.
What a night!"
Blog 15: author: mm | posted: July 8th, 2009 | Carcassonne
""Look, there's the castle."
Castle? As we were on the plane to Carcassonne from Barcelona, while gearing up to land, we noticed what looked like a castle that only an imagination can conjure - well, my imagination, at least. But it was indeed real. The "castle" is in actuality the fortified city of Carcassonne and tonight, we played the Espalanade Gambetta, a town square. It was a unique venue and refreshing from the usual stadium fare. Needles to say, we were all pretty excited to be a part of such a seemingly magical place.
We had a late time slot - 9:30pm stage - so to kill time, a few of us became embroiled in a vicious game of.....foosball. Bodyguards vs. Band. Who won? Just look at Martin's expression and I think you'll be able to figure it out.
See you in Valladolid!"
Blog 16: author: mm | posted: July 30th, 2009 | Toronto
The North American tour has begun. After a short break, and an unfortunate calf muscle tear, Dave has returned to full form and the band is ready to take on a new continent!
We played the Toronto Molson Amphitheatre and the Montreal Bell Centre. Despite the difference in language, the thousands of Canadian fans in attendance at both gigs had one thing in common: they rock and they love the Mode!
The new leg brought some exciting changes to the set list and judging from the crowd's reactions, it was well received.
Check out the new photos and live vicariously through our North American travels.
We're currently in D.C, the capital of the US, getting ready to play our first US gig tomorrow at the Nissan Pavilion. I wonder if Obama needs tickets?
See you in America!"
Blog 17: author: mm | posted: July 31st, 2009 | Boston
"A thunderous east coast storm challenged us until show time. We seem to bring the gloomiest of climates everywhere we travel! As Fletch often says, "It wouldn't be a proper Depeche Mode gig without a little bit of rain."
After a bumpy ride to Providence, Rhode Island, we drove through the lush bay town and made our way into Mansfield, Massachusetts. Interesting fact: Mansfield's twin city is Nottinghamshire, England. The more you know.
Despite the weather and travel delay, we arrived in time for another great meet and greet with some lucky competition winners. With less that 1 hour and a half until stage time, we had to get ready pretty quickly - sadly, no usual game of foosball or cards before the gig.
The Boston crowd seemed in high spirits as well! Check out some photos from another excellent show at the Comcast Center.
See you in Atlantic City, New Jersey!"
Blog 18: author: peter | posted: August 3rd, 2009 | Atlantic City
"The tour touched down for a night at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey last night. Having not been out to see any of the gigs since the stadiums around Europe, I was curious to see how the show would translate to what was ostensibly a large club setting, with about 2500 people. Turning around during Never Let Me Down Again, expecting to see tier upon tier of hands in the air, only to see the ceiling of Borgata's Event Center gave me a good laugh.
This was probably one of the weirdest places I've ever seen any show, really. Walking around the casino floor, you wouldn't have known Depeche Mode were about to take the stage just upstairs. Very surreal. But that's casinos for you, I suppose.
The gig was great - the show looked excellent, and the sound was fantastic. The crowd was into it, and the band seemed to be having a great time on stage.
Next up is New York City..."
Blog 19: author: peter | posted: August 4th, 2009 | New York City (1)
"Due to local rules and regulations we were unable to shoot anything for the video blog tonight, which wasn't all bad, as it gave me a chance to focus more on getting some good pictures. They say a picture's worth a thousand words, so I'll try and be 'textually' brief. Tonights show was loud - the crowd especially. This was my first "full sized" in door gig since Luxembourg, and I'd forgotten just how good the show looks in this kind of setting."
author: peter | posted: August 10th, 2009 | New York City (2)
"Slowly recovering from two nights at Madison Square Garden. A couple of really great days was had in the city that never sleeps (it just gets kinda moody and quiet for a couple of hours).
So different being here compared to Europe. Being a union hall, there are very strict rules about who can do what when at MSG, which had some - for me - rather unexpected consequences. On the day of the first show, stage construction came to a grinding halt for exactly one hour at 1pm, which is normally crunch time. No one was allowed to do anything. This phenomena, lovingly called "dark stage" on the schedule, was repeated between 7 and 8pm, which left support band Peter, Bjorn & John with all of 25 minutes to play. Just one of those things, I suppose.
The band did a nice long soundcheck on Monday, rehearsing "In Sympathy" and "Miles Away", along with a few show regulars, such as "Walking In My Shoes". Still weirds me out seeing the band play to a crowd of maybe 10 people. Very nice. "Miles Away" of course ended up being added to the set for the Tuesday show, while "In Sympathy" is apparently being held back for now. Both tracks sounded great.
The atmosphere on the tour is simply fantastic at the moment. The band all had various family members come out to New York, and Jonathan Kessler celebrated his birthday while here, complete with a great big birthday cake and all.
There were so many people at the after show party, that I almost certainly missed a whole bunch of people, but I did spot Kap10kurt (who you will know from the "Sounds Of The Universe" live session that's on the box set DVD), Sune Wagner of The Raveonettes (new album dropping soon - "In And Out Of Control"), the guys from La Roux, Graham Finn (from Dave's Hourglass band) and a whole bunch of other people. Oh, and we mustn't forget the living Mode legends Ginger and Franksy.
The shows were amazing. The roughly 18.000 audience members got so loud it easily rivaled some of 40k+ shows in Europe. Sure being in-doors helps, but still, I was incredibly impressed. And maybe it was just me, but I do think being back in his adopted home town made Dave go for it a bit more. Made for some very entertaining shows.
It's a shame we weren't able to film any of it (one of those union regulations things), but hopefully some more photos kind of makes up for it.
After a couple of days off in New York, the band are moving on to Chicago to play Lollapalooza, and then it's on to the west coast!
Blog 21: author: mm | posted: August 11th, 2009 | Seattle
"Rain, rain, go away... It's only fitting that Seattle's gorgeous summer weather turn frightful on a Mode night.
We played the Key Arena in downtown Seattle to an energetic crowd. Lucky for all of us, it's an indoor venue so the weather was no threat to another amazing performance by our boys.
Seattle is surprisingly beautiful. I'm not implying that I've heard nothing but wretched things about it but I expected a little gloom to come from the city that birthed teen angst and grunge rock. Aside from the unpredictable climate (actually - it's predictably muggy), it's a lovely city and the band was thrilled to come back and visit their old city haunts.
Check out some photos from tonight's gig and some backstage shots. Yes - we have offices. It takes a lot of work to put on a great show but we would not have a great show if it weren't for the heart and soul of Depeche Mode."
Blog 22: author: brat | posted: August 25th, 2009 | "The Socal Shows" - August 16th through August 20th
Your friendly webmaster here, with a report of the Southern California shows. As we were not allowed to shoot any shows except for Anaheim (union rules), the images with this blog entry will solely be from Anaheim. On with the shows...
Hollywood Bowl (night one)
If there was any concern over Dave's health, it was gone as soon as soundcheck started. Loud, deep, and clear. Highlights of the soundcheck included Mr Gordeno playing a bit of Hava Nagila for Mr Kessler (to the beat of Behind The Wheel, no less), and then Dave getting on the drums, and having a go...as a joke. Quite funny. As for the actual show, a solid set from the boys.
Hollywood Bowl (night two)
Song changes. As with any "second night" show, the boys changed it up a bit. During the first encore, Martin sang Shake The Disease (to deafening screams from the crowd), and then after Stripped, the band surprised the crowd with Behind The Wheel. Again, a great show, in a legendary venue.
My first night in a few years as a tour/web photographer. I was a bit rusty, but as you will see, there are some good shots in the bunch. The only unusual thing of the night was that the band did not use the provided catwalk for Waiting For The Night. It was used to great effect by both Martin and Dave during other songs, though.
Santa Barbara Bowl
Again, another show that we could not record (audio, video, not even pictures - sorry). The band went on a bit earlier than usual, due to curfews at the venue, but still put on a great show...for a few minutes. About two minutes into Walking In My Shoes, the sound went something like this: "Morality would frown upon, decent CLICK". The power to the screens and to the sound blew. While we can not even link to video from the event, I can suggest that a bit of searching around on the web will yield you some video of the power outage. The joke always used to be "What would Depeche Mode sound like, unplugged?", with the answer being "painted fingernails clicking on a keyboard". This time, though, though the power cut, Christian kept drumming. Dave started pointing to Christian, then clapping. All in all, the power was out for a little under 15 minutes. When the band came back, they restarted Walking In My Shoes, and continued the show. The only thing was that the screens didn't come back until close to the end of the night. For those in the pit, it made for a nice, intimate show. The people in the back were probably not too pleased, though.
Another highlight was the guy who managed to run onto the stage from stage right. He just ran up there, behind Martin and Dave, and was starting to linger, when security yanked him off the stage. Dave had a few words for the mystery man, and the show continued, albeit slightly shorter. Due to curfews, and the power outage, a few songs got trimmed from the set. Overall, though, a great show as always.
Next stop...Vegas, baby!"
Blog 23: author: brat | posted: August 27th, 2009 | Las Vegas - August 22nd
As one of the smallest venues on the Tour Of The Universe, the Vegas show was also one of the more eagerly anticipated shows by the fans, myself included. The boys did not disappoint.
From the moment the fans rushed onto the floor, to the end of the show where Dave - already leaving the stage - walked back to the microphone to say the infamous "see you next time", the Vegas show was filled with non-stop energy, sweat and screams.
Be sure to check out the pictures!"
Blog 24: author: mm | posted: August 27th, 2009 | Phoenix - August 23rd
"Oh, Phoenix. Just when we thought we escaped the Vegas heat. More interesting desert weather to come.
We played the US Airways Center In Phoenix, Arizona, home to the Phoenix Suns. Naturally, the majority of car conversation revolved around sports; Football versus American football; American baseball versus Cricket. I chimed in with a bit of my limited sports knowledge (I played dodge ball in elementary school, if that counts for anything) but fell short of getting into a serious debate on Chelsea versus InterMilan and the intricacies of the American sports draft system. All I could think about was playing Phoenix that night, another place I had never visited!
The gig was great and the crowd was truly energetic. Check out some photos!"
Blog 25: author: mm | posted: August 27th, 2009 | Salt Lake City - August 25th
"It's illegal to carry an unwrapped ukulele in public in Salt Lake City. Thankfully, I keep my ukulele wrapped in cloth at all times so I'm safe. Another great night and show in the US; we played the E Center in Salt Lake City, the picturesque and most populous city of Utah. It seemed as though most of the city's population of 180-plus thousand were rocking out to Depeche Mode tonight. High energy and hungry crowd!! Check out some photos while I plan a trip to Park City."
Blog 26: author: mm | posted: August 28th, 2009 Denver - August 27th
"Denver. Green, lush, liberal and clean. I think I may move here.
As I type, Depeche Mode are on stage at the wondrous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado. This was my first trip to the venue so I was not prepared for the picturesque and literal setting; a hidden venue nestled in in Denver's mountain side, tucked between Stage Rock, Creation Rock and Ship Rock - 3 large "red rocks" protruding from Denver's mountainside.
This was one of the most high-energy crowds I've ever seen. Every element was perfectly in place. Sound. Lighting. Enthusiastic audience. Weather. Setting. The night ended up being one of our most memorable performances.
Check out the photos to catch a glimpse of the spectacular scene and the underground backstage setting.
See you in Dallas!"
Blog 27: author: mm | posted: September 2nd, 2009 | Texas - August 29th & 30th
"The Lone Star State has been good to us. Strip steak. Barbeque. Great crowds. An unexpected lack of desert terrain (surprisingly, less than 10% of the state is desert). I suppose I fell victim to a romanticized idea of the second largest state in the U.S - but I was charmed, nonetheless.
The crowds in both Dallas and Houston were a boisterous bunch; an enthused audience of some of the most devoted Mode fans. Every lyric hung on the lips of almost every single person in each crowd. A strong sense of thrill permeated the audience at both venues (Superpages in Dallas and Woodlands Pavilion in Houston). It could have been the beating heat and humidity but I'm almost certain it was because they were watching anther jaw-dropping performance by our favorite boys.
Take a look at the photos for some backstage action and concert shots.
See you in Atlanta!"
Blog 28: author: mm | posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Atlanta - September 1st
"As we were touching ground in Atlanta, Georgia, gearing up for another spectacular stop on our US leg, all I could think was, "How far are the Coca Cola headquarters from the venue?" Dreams of a life-time supply of Diet Coke took over my imagination.
We played Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, to a crowd of nearly 10,000 - intimate by this tour's standards, which is why it was one of the more memorable gigs I've seen. I can't even begin to describe the exuberant Southern crowd that fervently welcomed the Mode last night; I think the intimacy of the show was more influenced by the intimacy of the people. Southern hospitality and charm, turns out, is not a myth. A lot of bright smiles and enthusiastic cheers characterized the audience, making for one very endearing evening.
Charming? Endearing? Not exactly the sort of words to describe a rock show but what can I say? This SoCal girl was utterly enamored.
Check out some photos from the gig until we see you in Tampa!"
Blog 29: author: mm | posted: September 11th, 2009 | Florida - September 4th & 5th
"Our last 2 shows came and went quickly. Maybe it was a result of having been on the road for weeks at a time, getting close to the end, and dreaming of how it will feel to sleep in your own bed again. Another reason may be due to the fact the the gigs in Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale were 2 of the best; despite the tumultuous weather, the unforgiving thunder, and plane difficulties that resulted in arriving (very) late to the venue in Ft. Lauderdale, the US leg could not have ended on a higher note!
The Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa and the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale were filled to the brim with enthusiastic crowds, anxious to catch one of the last couple of gigs on the Mode's US leg of the tour. And what better way to end a leg than in sunny Florida?
Check out some photos of our Floridian trip!
See you in....Mexico!"
Blog 30: author: mm | posted: October 2nd, 2009 | Guadalajara - October 1st
"After a much-need 3-week break, we all met up once again in Guadalajara, Mexico. The night before our gig at the Arena V.F.G., we took in some sights and grabbed dinner at a lovely local restaurant in the city. After stuffing ourselves with tostadas, enchiladas, guacamole and quesadillas, we agreed that there wasn't a better way to kick of our Latin American tour!
The experience in Mexico has been warm and inviting; a culture comprised of hospitable and friendly people and some die-hard Mode fans - and 14,000 of them showed up tonight to see DM take the stage for the first time in Guadalajara. SOLD OUT.
Check out the photos for some behind-the-scenes captures and live shots.
See you in Mexico City!
Blog 31: author: mm | posted: October 5th, 2009 | Mexico City - October 4th
"A sea of fireflies in the night, it seems. Thousands of devotees holding up cell phones and video cameras to catch every spectacular moment on tape. This was the 2-night, sold-out concert at the Foro Sol in Mexico City. For the memory vaults.
The weather here has been incredibly kind to us. I guess the powers above didn't get the memo that the Mode was in town because there hasn't been a dark cloud in sight. Despite the high altitude, our boys put on 2 spectacular shows to 2 equally lively local crowds. Check out the photos for some great live shots!
See you in Monterrey!
Special Guest Photograhper: James Heath"
Blog 32: author: mm | posted: October 8th, 2009 | Monterrey - October 7th
"Adios, Mexico! You treated us well. Your crowds packed and rocked the house. Your weather was terribly kind. And your food? Delicious!
Tonight marked our last night in Mexico. Thousands of eager fans filled the Arena Monterrey. The venue endured a number of economic hardships over the years, pushing it's projected completion date up by 10 years! After a decade of struggle, the in-door arena has become a city hub for basketball, football (soccer) and concerts. This was the Mode's second visit to the venue after having played a sold-out gig for 2005's Playing the Angel.
Check out the photos and until next time...
See you in Costa Rica!
Blog 33: author: mm | posted: October 13th, 2009 | Bogota - October 10th
"Colombia's Passion. When I first heard that term, I thought it was a reference to the seemingly enthusiastic hearts of the country's people. Turns out, the government of Colombia has recently adopted a planned strategy to revitalize its image abroad and to help bring tourism to its historic land and foreign investment to its growing infrastructure. As such, a plethora of major music artists have chosen Colombia as a stop on their touring routes, including Depeche Mode.
Our gig at the Parque Simon Bolivar in mid-town Bogota was one of our strongest and most vivacious yet! The crowd had been faithfully anticipating the Mode's arrival to Colombia for years and for that night, everyone finally let out a collective breath. With the crowd chanting, "Fletcher, Martin, David," the pulsating tone was set for the rest of the magical night.
Check out the photos for some pre-gig glimpses and stage shots.
See you in Lima!
Blog 34: Past Tours | Tour Of The Universe | Tour Blogs author: mm | posted: October 14th, 2009 | Lima - October 13th
Unfortunately, there won't be a blog for Lima tonight because I'm out of commission - caught something dastardly so taking some much-needed bed rest. As you can see, I'm currently nestled to the 4 things that have grown quite dear to me while on bed rest: Blackberry, nasal drip, Halls and Emergen-C.
See you in Santiago (hopefully in better health)!
Blog 35: author: mm | posted: October 22nd, 2009 | Santiago - October 15th
"The Club Hipico in Santiago, Chile could not have been a more perfect venue. Over 30,000 fans packed the house to greet the Mode with an energetic welcome. Check out the photos for a better peek - they speak for themselves. All photos: Sebastian Wilson Leon"
Blog 36: author: mm | posted: November 2nd, 2009 | Buenos Aires - October 17th
"Our last gig of the Latin American tour. I had been waiting anxiously to get to Buenos Aires. Well, I should point out that many of our Latin American stops were foreign and new to a number of people on the tour - including myself. San Diego is about as far south of Los Angeles (my hometown) as I've been. Making Mexico a Spring Break destination when in college was never a big interest of mine. I'm glad that I waited patiently because my experiences in Mexico with Depeche Mode - as well as Central and South America - have made for some incredibly fond memories.
With that said, however, Buenos Aires was a home away from home. I felt familiar with the city despite never having been. And the crowd at Club Ciudad? 32,000 devotees showed us some real Latin love - no better way to end another successful leg.
Check out the photos and live vicariously...
See you in Europe!
UPDATE (November 7th): As some of you have noticed, the images for this blog entry are not from the Buenos Aires show. Due to an error with the memory card of the digital camera being used, the wrong images were uploaded. Additionally, the proper images for this show were permanently lost. We would like to apologize for this error, and hope that you still enjoy the pictures for this blog entry."
Blog 37: author: peter | posted: November 4th, 2009 | Oberhausen - October 31st
"Back in Europe for the opening night of the final leg. Lots of jet-lagged and/or sleepy faces round here tonight. During soundcheck Martin and Peter spent the better part of an hour rehearsing a song that we've yet to hear on this tour. Hopefully the video of that will be up soon, when it's less spoilerific.
Dan The Man and his catering team cooked up an amazing chicken curry tonight, that literally brought tears to my eyes. Had a bit of a run in with a chili that just pushed me over the edge. Nothing quite like weeping like a little girl over food. Curry 1 - Blogger 0. Lovely. I did kick the cheese cakes' ass though, so I feel vindicated.
Before the show Mute and EMI Germany presented the band, JK and Marek with platinum awards for sales of "Sounds Of The Universe". There's a snap or two from that occasion attached.
The completely sold out show was really good, and everyone seemed to be having a good time - on and off stage. "Freelove" was played for the first time this tour, and "Somebody" and "Behind The Wheel" were performed for the first time in Europe this tour.
Another first... Martin rocking a feathery halo backstage after the show. Halloween a la Mode."
Blog 38: author: peter | posted: November 4th, 2009 | Bremen - November 1st
"Another German city. Another sold out show. Another great night. Martin threw everyone yet another curve ball tonight, with an unexpected and absolutely gorgeous rendition of "Clean", asking the audience to help by singing along. A fantastic moment.
After the gig, Marek Lieberberg hosted a private get-together for the band. Another fun evening.
Took a boatload of pictures during the show, a selection of which is attached here."
Blog 39: author: mm | Hannover - November 3rd
"After completing the first European leg, I thought I had seen the best of Depeche Mode crowds. The energy, enthusiasm and thirst of the European gigs have been incomparable. Memorable. And then there was Hannover.
The vigor of the audience was palpable. During "Dressed in Black," I had to leave the office and watch as seemingly every concertgoer sang along, excited to hear an old - yet refreshing - favorite.
Tonight the boys rehearsed at a local club here in Frankfurt. It was great to see the brainstorming that goes behind each carefully-selected set list. Kerry, our illustrious programmer, is our maestro but he's camera-shy so you won't see much of him on this blog.
Take a look at some behind-the-scenes rehearsal shots! Also check out the photos to catch a glimpse of another great night on this Tour of the Universe.
See you in Mannheim!"
Blog 40: author: mm | posted: November 9th, 2009 | Mannheim - November 7th
"The SAP Arena is initially remarkable due to it's oddly-shaped roof, reminiscent of an intergalactic spaceship......if such a thing were to exist, of course.
The interior, however, was an entirely different concept. Built in 2005, it has become one of the largest venues in Europe - host to concerts as well as congressional events, hockey and handball games. Yes - handball! That excited me very much.
Backstage, we anxiously watched - by we, I mean Martin - the Arsenal match on television. Luckily, they brought in another victory so spirits were high!
Photos to the right. Enjoy!
See you in Stuttgart."
Blog 41: author: mm | posted: November 11th, 2009 | Stuttgart - November 8th
"Another great night in Germany and, sadly, our last until Erfurt on November 28th. Our gigs in Germany have always been extraordinary. After spending much time, a sense of familiarity has developed; it's become a second home!
In the spirit of the season, the boys eagerly watched another football game - only this time it was Andy rooting for his beloved Chelsea. All work stopped (well, not entirely) and all eyes were glued to the television set in the chill out room. There were moments of silence and moments of outright enthusiasm, especially when Chelsea clinched a 1 - 0 win against Manchester United.
Fun random fact: Brazilian soccer legend Pele's real name is Edison Arantes do Nascimento. You can thank our guitar tech extraordinaire, Jez Webb, for that tidbit of information.
Check out the photos of the Mode's gig at Stuttgrat's Schleyerhalle and some behind-the-scenes football-watching down time.
See you in Geneva!"
Blog 42: author: big_pete | posted: November 12th, 2009 | Geneva - November 10th
"When landing at Geneva airport the first thing you see is the Palexpo - very visible from the air, and situated right next to the airport.
The Depeche Mode show took place in Halle 6 (1 - 5 being slightly smaller). Halle 6 was on first impression a huge cold aircraft hangar - or as guitar tech Jez Webb called it "a bit of an old barn" - and hardly seemed the right setting for a Depeche Mode show.
Once the DM trucks hit the venue the transformation began, and fortunately someone turned the heating on.
The original plan was for a catwalk - and this was indeed ready - but the height of the catwalk would have restricted the view of the fans at the front by too much - so it was all packed away.
After a few last minute tweaks - including hanging a special speaker just for the VIP section, and some black curtains here and there things were looking perfect !!
6pm and the doors opened - and the several hundred fans that had been waiting outside began to feel their fingers and ears again - as it was particularly chilly outside.
Within about an hour the place was impressively filled, and the total attendance was somewhere in the region of 18000.
The show was very good, the newly added "World In My Eyes" sounded excellent, and "Sister Of Night" was also a fantastic addition.
The fans were a little late with their "Home" chant - but they got there in the end, and Dave congratulated them for their "valid attempt" (Dave's words, not mine).
At the mixing desk I was introduced to the lovely Mike and Sandy - two American fans who have travelled across Europe seeing the band. Geneva was their 16th show , and by all accounts not the last.
The band are in Valencia next, and a hotter climate!!"
Blog 43: author: mm | posted: November 14th, 2009 | Valencia - November 12th
"Viva Espana! It's great to be back here. Wonderful weather and exquisite food. It was nice to be bale to pack the heavy winter coat for a while.
The venue - Recintal de Ferial - was modern in it's architecture. A multi-level structure, its roof was covered in a glass casing. The surroundings were lined with beautiful fountains that lit up at night. It was as glorious inside as it was outside and the crowd was exuberant to match.
Check out the concert photos for your viewing pleasure!
Photo Credit: James Heath"
Blog 44: author: mm | posted: November 19th, 2009 | Lisbon - November 14th
"Oh, Lisbon. How happy I am that your show fell on my birthday. 24 years on this earth and I never imagined I would be celebrating it with the Mode. The team surprised me with a delicious chocolate cake backstage and a bit of a fun party after the gig.
17,000 people couldn't be wrong, can they? They partied like it was their birthday as well. It was a long overdue show after our unfortunate cancellation in June but it's safe to say that the wait was worth it. Dave and the band are in top form, getting stronger and more vivacious with each gig - even after 5 legs in on this Tour of the Universe!
Check out some backstage and live shots of the sold-out concert at the Pavilhao Atlantico.
See you in Madrid!"
Blog 45: author: mm | posted: November 21st, 2009 | Madrid - November 17th
"Madrid. My favorite city in Spain. It's often overshadowed by Barcelona's aesthetic beauty but Madrid has a remarkable charm; great nightlife, great food and - as I learned on Monday and Tuesday - great venues and crowds!!
The boys had a great time during their 2 consecutive shows in Madrid at the Palacio de Deportes de la Communidad de Madrid (The Sports Palace of the Communit of Madrid). A sports palace. It was a particularly sentimental 2-gig event considering that the venue was burned down in a 2001 fire. The fervor remained and the arena was built - better than before - between 2003 and 2005.
15,000 Madrilenos packed the new arena with sheer anticipation of the Mode's first visit to the city since the last tour. Check out the photos for some (dimly-lit) backstage images and concert shots.
See you in Barthelona!
Blog 46: author: big_pete | posted: November 23rd, 2009 | Barcelona (1) - November 20th
"Arrived in Barcelona day before the show and dropped by the venue, things were happening, food was arriving, a few fans were milling about, and a few familiar faces from the DM crew walking around the venue.
The Venue is a huge place, and set in Beautiful surroundings, the fans waiting outside had some fantastic views of Barcelona from way up high at the Palau St Jordi, which is absolutely massive for an in-door venue. The DM tour machine kicked into life at around 8am, and by early afternoon the stage was all set up, and looking amazing, there's something very beautiful when you see the lights and projections in full effect, but without any crowd.
The soundcheck yielded a few suprises, A dave-less band ran through a few dm classics, and a fantastic version of "one caress" - which was just pure perfection, Martins Blue and white stripey mohair jumper and big wooly white hat kept him warm in the cold empty arena.
After the soundcheck PeterToo kept us all much amused by falling down stairs, twisting ankles and spraining wrists. He spent half the afternoon packing his ankle with ice, only to complain the ice was giving him frostbite, but at least the swelling had now gone down.
Anyway, several cameras were spotted around the venue, so the location of the Tour Of The Universe DVD became known to the fans today, to say that the show was being filmed it didn't appear too different from the other shows, apparently they are using different camera set ups for each day - so tomorrow night the cameras might be more noticeable. The main noticeable difference today was a lighting rig towards the back of the venue, to light up the fans - it made the waving hands on never let me down again look very impressive.
The show was great, the crowd took a few songs to really get going - but when they did it was amazing, it was pure DM magic - the show was well worthy of being used for the Tour DVD.
The after show was rammed with friends and family, a real celebratory atmosphere - the after show music was provided by the Legendary Daryl Bamonte - and his trusted Ipod, it was all fine until Daryl's Ipod randomly picked and old a-ha track, and it was quickly changed to some more suitable dance music, at which point my good lady taught Daryl the "hand in pocket" dance.
I took some great pictures of the show, some of which were from the rear of the stage, looking down - the view was quite stunning.
I am exhausted, but am more than a little excited at tomorrow's show, and am sure I am not the only one ......"
Blog 47: author: peter | posted: November 24th, 2009 | Barcelona (2) - November 21st
"After last nights twitterfest (and amazing show) I enjoyed a relatively quiet day in wonderful Barcelona. Slept in, late breakfast, a stroll on the beach with mr. and mrs. Big Pete, bit of lunch, some shopping, then back to the venue.
For some reason something's just always got in the way of me watching all of Soulsavers' set, but tonight I finally got to. Really really good, and extremely well received by the spanish audience. I loved it. A couple of photos attached here.
Depeche Mode's show was a cracker - from start to finish the band rocked very hard. Dave was on fire, like I have never seen him - his trips down the catwalk made the place explode - the audience were feeding off him and vice versa. Martin sang his socks off (not literally - both socks and shoes stayed on throughout the show), and Fletch was busy twiddling knobs and getting the crowd going.
The "I Feel You" head banging session was a highlight for me, but then again I am a sucker for those heavy beats. "Policy Of Truth" got a bit of a re-vamping with Christian playing it differently than normal - it was a subtle change, but it really beefed up the track, making it another highlight for me. The "Home" chant ended up being conducted by Dave with his pretend baton, and he really got the crowd going. It kept getting faster and faster until he was just stood there laughing and the crowd had to give up trying to keep the pace. Very funny!
In general, they gave the setlist a bit of a shuffle tonight, leaving "World In My Eyes" out, moving "It's No Good" to a different spot, including "Sister Of Night", doing "Dressed In Black" instead of "One Caress", and "Come Back" instead of "Miles Away" and bringing back "Waiting For The Night" for one night only. Quite interesting seeing two such different setlists back to back.
During "Fly..." I snuck out to the mobile recording studio and had a sneak peak at what was being recorded - it looked and sounded stunning already, and that was "just" the live mix. It was good seeing some of the familiar faces from LiveHereNow again - I've missed them being at the recent shows. They'd brought with them quite a different setup to I've seen before. I'll put up a picture or two from the mobile studio with this blog entry.
After the show we headed up to the backstage hospitality area for a night cap. When Fletch walked in to the room he received a round of applause, something I have never seen before. It was quite clear tonights show had been extraordinary, and thankfully there was a camera crew there to capture it. At the aftershow iPod battle, Bamonte was once more the fastest man on the proverbial trigger, hooking up his Apple gadget to the stereo, kicking things off with another set filled to the rim with electro beats. His efforts, however, were thwarted by one mr. Gore, who's iPod proved to contain more reggae music than even the most hardcore rastafari would ever dare shake a stick at.
Till next time!"
Blog 48: author: mm | posted: November 27th, 2009 | Lyon - November 23rd
"Lyon - known to many as the culinary capital of France - is by far one of the most charming places I've ever visited. Interesting and mysterious alley ways. Surprising boutiques. Unique cultural history. Wonderfully entertaining people.
We played the Halle Tony Garnier, the 2nd biggest venue in France next to the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, to a sold-out crowd of 16,500 Lyonnaise! This lovely region in the Rhone-Alpes welcome the Mode with open arms.
Check out the concert images and try to imagine a perfect concert in a more perfect location.
See you in Bologna!
Blog 49: author: mm | posted: December 1st, 2009 | Italy - November 25th and 26th
"Happy Thanksgiving to you American fans from this lovely country they call Italy south of the Olive line!
It's always a pleasure to come back here, especially in anticipation of 2 successfully sold-out gigs in Bologna and Torino. 13,000 and 11,500 people welcomed the Mode back to Italy for their 4th and 5th stop in the region of the Tour of the Universe. I'm sure the great food (white truffles, anyone) had little to do with the repeat visits...
The Futurestation Arena (Bologna) and the Palaolympico (Torino) were perfect environments for the boys' return. By the end of the first night, it was clear from the expressions on their faces that they had a successful run and were looking forward to another one in Torino. And they were right. Tonight was spectacular and the crowd even more-so.
Check out the images for some behind-the-scenes shots and concert images.
Until next time. See you in Erfurt! Back to Germany we go!
Blog 50: author: mm | Erfurt
"As the running joke in our camp goes, "we are back in the Fatherland."
The Messehalle was a great, compact venue that produced some of the best sounds I've ever heard. I managed to get on the mixing desk to take some great shots of our boys from a different perspective. At some point, our illustrious Head of Security brought out a young boy from the audience to join us on the side of the stage. Needless to say, he was thrilled!
Check out some new live shots of the Mode back in Germany, playing to some of their most devoted fans. It's a celebration..
See you in Nuremberg!"
Blog 51: author: big_pete
"Rotterdam - November 30th
I arrived in Rotterdam around midday, and the stage was already up and almost finished.
There's an imminent skiing holiday arranged for the crew - just before the Zurich shows, and most people were getting excited about that, so there was a little bit of a "groundhog day" feel to the crews daily tasks today.
The last shows I saw were in Barcelona, and they are for now staying unbeaten, Rotterdam was a very solid performance, and the little tweaks being added here and there are making the performances really special.
Christian is having fun with Policy Of Truth, and tonight Dave asked Martin "do you really want to ?" - then DM did Reggae, it was just for a few seconds, but it was hilarious.
The crowd weren't the most enthusiastic I have seen, but most in the standing section were dancing - some of the seated sections took a while to find their feet - but they got there in the end.
The band are on a roll now, the performance was faultless, the chemistry between them is creating some fantastic shows.
I got to see "Insight" tonight, fantastic piano, and beautiful backing vocals from Mr Gordeno, and Martin Vocals just breathtaking, sadly "Fly on the Windscreen" is being "rested" - I hope it comes back in the future it was a highlight for me.
In the attached photos you will see Video Chief Rob Wick aka "Wicksy" who felt his appearance would lighten up dull pictures of the Stage and Cameras being set up ready for the show, so he's appearing in 3 of the pictures today !!
The next time I see the band will be in Dublin - which by all accounts should be a belter of a show !!"
Blog 52: author: mm Nuremberg - December 1st
"Nuremberg is in the German state of Bavaria, known to we Americans as that rockin' place with great beer. The truth is while that food and drink are important to the cultural fabrics of Bavarians, the city of Nuremberg stands on it's own history and legacy. As a political science buff, it's important to note that in 1945 and '46, German officials from the Nazi regime were tried in in Nuremberg, and that these trials had a significant influence on International Criminal Law. I could go on, but I know what you guys are here for...
Depeche Mode. Take a look at some concert shots and rock on (in social conscious, of course).
See you in Rotterdam!
Blog 53: author: mm | posted: December 8th, 2009 | Vienna - December 3rd
"One word: TAFELSPITZ! If I were still a vegetarian, I would have converted to a carnivorous diet right after tasting this traditional Viennese dish for the fist time. Delicious beef boiled in broth and served with all sorts of yummy garnishes and side dishes - apple horseradish and dumplings were my favorite. It was a wonderful way to kick off our first night in town and to prepare for the Mode's sold-out gig at the Stadhalle!
The concert in Vienna was more than another successful show - it was a hometown performance for our beloved Christian Eigner! With the support of fans, family and friends, he put on an incredible performance with our boys and the Viennese crowd welcome them with open arms.
Check out the photos for some backstage action and stage shots!
See YOU in Zurich.
Blog 54: author: mm | posted: December 11th, 2009 | Zurich - December 6th & 7th
"I may have found heaven on earth. Such a picturesque city. Beautiful mountainside. Fresh snow. Lovely brisk cold air.
Depeche Mode rocked 2 consecutive gigs at the Hallenstadion to sold-out crowds of 14,000 people a night! The venue is actually an older one - opened in 1939 - but was redesigned in 2005. A host of legendary musicians and bands have played here, including Jimi Hendrix, Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones and - one of my personal favorites - The Who.
I was hoping that we could do something different for this blog entry and, if everyone enjoys it, we can try it again for future shows. There were a number of fans in the crowd, from first row to back, who tirelessly took photos of both the Zurich gigs. Our main man Barassi asked all of you through Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to help add concert images to tonight's entry and many of you responded with some incredible pictures. Let's check out the shots that have made the cut!
Thanks for your participation and see you soon in Dublin!
webmaster update: Click each thumbnail to see a photo credit. Thanks to all who participated. Daniel/BRAT, webmaster"
Blog 55: author: big_pete | posted: December 16th, 2009 | Dublin - December 10th
"I decided to bring the family to Dublin, as it was a very quick flight and relatively close to home. We arrived in Dublin at 8am and grabbed a bite to eat, had a walk around and then got a water taxi to the venue, which is the other side of a currently bridgeless section of the River. Everything was going well, it was all starting to take shape. We bidded our farewells to the crew and headed off, checked into our Apartment and grabbed a few hours sleep, as it was going to be a late night.
We arrived back at the venue at around 5pm and the stage looked beautiful in the purple glow, the venue has recently been transformed and although I can't compare from before I think it's simply stunning now, quite possibly the nicest arena I have been to so far. There were already several hundred fans waiting in line.
One thing that struck me about the Irish is how friendly they are, and the security staff at the show were no exception, they simply couldn't do enough for you, and the whole evening had a very friendly atmosphere.
The show was amazing from start to finish, the place exploded when the band walked on, and the atmosphere was incredible until the last note was played. Dave and Martin kept grinning at each other and Fletch clearly loved the show. During the now customary 'Home' jam Dave said 'you are the best yet' and I think he was right.
During the show I took a peek behind the screens just below Christian, and I was blown away - you could barely hear the music, just the beat of the drums - the power was amazing, and it makes you realise how much Christian gives with each performance.
The after show was a family affair, there were lots of kids there. Martin was having a few pictures taken at the end of the party, and my 2 kids grabbed their opportunity and the result is included.
If Depeche Mode ever played in Dublin again I would definitely head over there - it was one hell of a show.
Next stop for me is Birmingham, the closest to my home.
Blog 56: author: mm | posted: December 16th, 2009 | Glasgow - December 12th
"First UK gig of the tour, and what a gig it was. After 23 years, Depeche Mode made a triumphant return to Glasgow, playing their first gig at the SECC since the Black Celebration Tour. The scottish crowd was obviously thrilled to have the band back. Quite a lively lot!! Very special evening. Enjoy the pictures, courtesy of Ken McKay."
Blog 57: author: big_pete | posted: December 16th, 2009 | Birmingham - December 13th
"I have seen Depeche Mode at this venue a lot of times through the years, I was curious to see how they had done up the venue since it was rebranded as the LG Arena.
The old system used to mean you had to wait inside what was essentially a huge warehouse - to then be let in the arena once they had checked your tickets - the new way is to relax in the elaborate hall, complete with bars, food counters, large TV's on the walls, and 2 tunnels leading to the Arena? I guess someone thought that having 15,000 people standing around brings in no money? 15,000 people standing near Food and Drink stalls might just bring in a bit of money, and I guess it did, as the place was rammed with people taking advantage of the facilities.
The Arena has been jazzed up a little, the seats are now all black, as is most of the interior, a few little VIP sections have been added, overall it's a great venue.
The Mexican waves started around 8.45pm, and the band hit the stage at around 9.10pm - and the place erupted. The performance from the band was faultless, but I must say the Birmingham Crowd were a quiet bunch for alot of the show. Even Mr Gahan told them to "put down what you are smoking" as they were a little too relaxed - but the band won through and the last third of the show got a great reception.
I remember on the last tour thinking the Manchester Audience were alot better - so fingers crossed for Friday!!
Next stop is London for me, and the welcome return of Fellow Tour Blogger Peter!!
Blog 58: author: peter | posted: December 16th, 2009 | London - December 15th
"First things first - this is London after all, so it's tradition to complain about the weather. It's cold. Very cold. The sun is out, but really could put in more of an effort, if you ask me. There, all done.
This was my first time at the O2 Arena, and was quite taken aback by it. The venue itself is enormous. Easily one of the biggest arenas I've seen. But what really struck me was the bit between the out-door bit and the venue bit. There's this bit that's basically a permanent fun fair with rides of all sorts, and bars and restaurants and a Starbucks. Had this been in the centre of London, all this would have seemed perfectly sane. But it's decidedly neither.
If New York was a busy night, then last night in London was at least double or triple that. With nearly 400 guests coming down for the band's first hometown gig of the tour, backstage was mental. A delightful mishmash of families, friends, business associates, journos, celebs and what-not made for a very colorful after show party.
The show was really good. The band were giving it their all, and with little effort got the London crowd rocking. As one on-looker commented, this was the best London gig in decades, which is at least partially down to a change in scenery. The O2 arena really a massive step up from the dreary warehouse feel of the old Wembley arena."
Blog 59: author: peter | posted: December 24th, 2009 | London - December 16th
"Stopped by Mute today to meet up with a few people there, then went for lunch. The snow started coming down hard and heavy. I'm a sucker for snow, so all that set me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
After a quick shower back at the hotel, it was off to the venue for the second night at London's massive O2 Arena. No photographers in the pit tonight, so Big Pete had it virtually to himself. Made for some good snaps that did.
Lastly and most importantly a big hello to Simon and his lovely wife Ali - always nice seeing you guys... bring Mark next time as well! And Mike - always a pleasure!!
That's it for me this year, looking forward to next year!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!!"
Blog 60: author: big_pete | posted: December 24th, 2009 | Manchester - December 18th
"At the recent O2 gigs in London the guest list was a beast - and the passes ran out - which lead to a huge tightening up operation in Manchester.
Certain coloured passes were withdrawn and the Security staff seemed a little confused as to who should be going where and doing what.
I brought the family (again) to this show, and their expectations were high as I had told them Manchester was always a great crowd, I hoped I was going to be right. The catering crew cooked up a fantastic Xmas dinner, and Xmas gifts were being exchanged - the atmosphere was great within the DM Camp, just one more show ......
Fortunately I was more than right about Manchester - the crowd were amazing, and Dave's "glad we are out of London" comment was definatly right - they were the perfect audience.
As the show progressed it became clear that this was getting better and better, I haven't seen so many coloured balloons floating around during Policy Of Truth, and the "Home" chant was the best I can recall.
You guys need to get some balloons for the 2010 shows and get them floating around for "Policy Of Truth" - a bit of audience participation is always fun !!
The after show was a particular highlight for me, I have seen many of these over the years and always enjoyed them, but tonight's was special - a rather intimate affair hosted in the bands "chill out room" with my 2 kids playing Table football with Junior Gore and Junior Fletcher - nobody knew the score, as the rules kept changing - but it was fun to watch the events unfolding with Martin. Everyone was in high spirits - despite the freezing temperatures outside. After wishing everyone a Happy Xmas we left and I felt very glad to have gone to Manchester.
This show was the last on the tour for The Soulsavers, and I hope you will agree they have done a great job, and have gone down really well with the crowds. I think everyone deserves a break and all involved have worked so hard to bring the Tour to you - let's hope the 2010 shows are a half as good as the 2009 shows have been.
MM, Petertoo, Daniel and Big Pete wish you all a happy Xmas and fantastic New Year and look forward to bringing you the Tourblog in 2010.
Happy Christmas !!
Blog 61: author: peter | posted: January 13th, 2010 | Berlin - January 9th
"Mexican waves were waved, chants were chanted and the enthusiasm on display was thoroughly enthusiastic. And that was before the band were even on stage. From the minute the doors opened it was quite clear that the atmosphere at Depeche Mode's show at O2 World in Berlin was gonna be quite special.
Nitzer Ebb put on a really good show, even if they faced a couple of first-night technical issues. Dave and Martin were spotted on the side of the stage watching their old friends and label mates support them again, more than two decades after Ebb joined them the first time. To call it a historic night might be stretching the term a bit, but it was certainly nice to see those two bands on the same stage once again.
Depeche rocked it as usual. They seemed to have a lot of fun on stage, and the crowd was one of the best I've seen this tour.
A couple of celebrity sightings... Ron Mael of Sparks was watching the gig from the side of the stage (looking stern, but approving), Gareth Jones was spotted taking loads of pictures, and some of the Rammstein guys were backstage after the gig.
Special thanks to Lee Roe for supplying some of the pictures from tonights gig."
Blog 62: author: mm | posted: January 18th, 2010 | Budapest - January 11th
"Here we are, our second gig of the tour and it feels like we've never left Budapest. The ambiance and crowd was familiar; energy, enthusiasm and excitement filled the air. Close to 15,000 people helped the Mode ring in the last leg of the Tour of the Universe at the Sports Arena and our boys could not have been more happy.
The ride to the airport in Budapest was particularly memorable; I don't know how it happened, but a small guitar ended up in Martin's hands and we found ourselves singing along to a few of our favorite tunes. I wish all airport rides were that fun!
Hope you enjoy the backstage and stage shots. Until next time....
See you in Prague!"
Blog 63: author: mm | posted: January 20th, 2010 | Prague - January 14th
"Prague is one of my favorite cities. The last time we were here in June 2009, we played the Slavia Stadium. On Thursday, we returned to this beautiful city and 17,000 people came to the 02 Arena to welcome Depeche Mode back to the Czech Republic.
The city possesses the same beauty I remember, only this time it's landscape is covered in thick snow and everyone is bundled up in layers of clothing, trying to retain as much warmth as possible while walking the streets of Old Town. The Mode brought the heat, however, to the 02 Arena and I hope you feel it emanating through these backstage and live shots!
See you in Lievin!"
Blog 64: author: mm | posted: January 25th, 2010 Lieven - January 17th
"The guys were enormously happy with their gig in Lieven, an old mining city in northern France. To the Mode's surprise, the city offered 12,000 people who were prepared to rock out at the Stade Couvert venue in the city center. Slowly but surely, as Martin, Peter, Andy and Christian were embroiled in a bitter and, ultimately, devastating, game of foosball, thousands of supporters trickled in through the entrance of the venue, which is one of largest in France.
By 9pm, the our boys were performing the usual pre-stage round-up and hand-slap with everyone around them. I've been known to give a fist bump or two....for good luck.
The Mode were an even happier bunch post-show than they were were pre-show. As Andy and Christian explained to me in the van on the way back to our hotel, "They were just a damn good crowd!"
Check out the images to the right for some stage shots - black and white.
See you in Antwerp!
Blog 65: author: big_pete | posted: January 26th, 2010 | Paris - January 19th
"The Bercy in Paris has seen a lot of Depeche Mode over the years - the 2001 Tour DVD was filmed there, and the audience has always been considered as one of the best.
I arrived at 1pm, and there were already a lot of Depeche Mode fans around - some of them taking shelter in a tent, it really was cold - however it was a lot warmer than my last show in Berlin.
Inside things weren't going too well - there were problems with cables and chains and general riggings issues, and things were some 2 hours behind schedule, but it was all done in the end.
The doors opened shortly after 6pm and the fans ran into the hall and as close to the stage as possible. Just as the background music started building up the "in house" music kicked in to offer a few advertisements - which was funny as you could hear Hawaiian music over the electronic set that is normally played - this caused a few eyebrows to be raised in the mixing desk, as they struggled to find out how to stop it happening again. It all got sorted out and Nitzer Ebb got things started nicely - they seem to be going down a storm.
At 9pm Depeche Mode took to the stage. I watched the show totally from the side tonight, and I enjoyed it more than any other show so far - to watch Christian drumming is breathtaking, I watched him for the duration of "Stripped" and it blew me away - he gives so much with each performance, and the energy from Dave was amazing, he really is on fire, he simply couldn't have given anymore tonight, he was clearly loving it - I hope the pictures capture some of the shows magic.
The crowd lived up to expectations, they were awesome - and the "Home" jam was a classic. Martin even played the riff from "Just can't get enough" on his guitar tonight as the crowd were yelling for it during the encores.
It's a shame that we are on the last leg of the tour now, because the band's performance is getting better each night, and I am again having to change my favourite shows list around again to slot a Paris show in there - tonight really was that good!
All in all it would be hard to top this show - it was pure perfection.
Blog 66: author: big_pete | posted: February 17th, 2010 | Paris - January 20th
"Last night's show was fantastic - so I was very excited about another night in Paris.
The crew are able to relax a bit when there are 2 nights in a venue - so the atmosphere was great during the day. The sound guys were working on the audio for the forthcoming DVD, so I guess they were pretty busy with that - but the rest were taking it easy.
I managed some sightseeing today and squeezed a lot in to be honest - then headed off to the Venue late afternoon.
The fans were gathering outside again to run in when the doors opened and get the front row spot - once the doors are opened the Venue security always try in vain to stop people running, but there are always a few that run too fast to get stopped, and there are the fast walkers - who insist they aren't running - but they aren't walking either, Either way the front rows get filled up within seconds.
The show was again excellent, the band on top form, and the crowd just perfect. With it being the Second night the setlist changed slightly, we got "Comeback" and "Freelove" tonight.
Dave was again on fire, and the audience were loving it - During the "Never let me down again" hands in the air moment I couldn't see anyone sitting it out - everyone was up and it proved to me why the Bercy had been used on the 2001 Tour DVD.
I have loved the shows in Paris - the audience are fantastic, and the shows are amongst my favourites of the tour.
Blog 67: author: mm | posted: January 26th, 2010 | Antwerp - January 23rd
"Another exciting stop on Depeche Mode's Tour of the Universe. Aside from the fact that it is the diamond capital of Europe and that very much appeals all of us, Antwerp's 17,000-strong crowd was incredible!
The Sportspaleis was voted by Billboard magazine as one of the top 10 best venues in the world in 2007. Considering how exciting the show was, I don't think much has happened to challenge that standing.
Enjoy the shots!
Blog 68: author: peter | posted: January 31st, 2010 | Malmo - January 25th
"This was Depeche Mode's first ever show in Malmö, and their first in the southern part of Sweden in well over 20 years. Malmö Arena is a state of the art, brand-spanking-new arena that opened it's doors for the first time in late 2008. It's nice, neat with good facilities and more of McDonald's McSnack stands than you can shake a stick at. It's all very efficient, clean and impersonal.
To kill a bit of time during the day, myself and Big Pete went with Nitzer Ebb to a signing session in a local record store. The turn out was good, and the store managed to sell each and every copy of the new album, "Industrial Complex".
Later on, back at the arena, Depeche Mode put on an excellent show. The band had fun on stage, and about two thirds in, actually managed to have so much fun, that they made a complete mess of things during Policy Of Truth, and had to start all over again. Dave laughingly announced that he blamed Peter for it, but I get the feeling that call was perhaps a little rushed. ;)
The after show party was little more than a dozen people for pizzas, beers and a very exciting round of foosball, which saw Team Band (consisting of Gore and Gordeno) against Team Crew (consisting of head-of-security Michael and Big Pete). In an astonishing come back, Team Band, after trailing by two, ended up winning the game 7 to 3. I'd give you the blow-by-blow but I had my attention momentarily distracted... I blame the pizza."
Blog 69: author: peter | posted: January 31st, 2010 | Gothenburg - January 26th
"Had a call from my mum this morning. Being essentially a home-town gig for me last night some of my family had come down for the show - some of them for their first Mode show ever. It's nice to hear what people who haven't seen the show before thinks of it. Fresh perspectives are always interesting. They all noticed different things, and each had their own highlights, but all of them really enjoyed it. And it's always nice to have a little bit of home-life come and join for a day, and break the day-to-day routines of life on the road.
Anyway, we left Malmö after the aforementioned breakfast and made our way to Göteborg. I love this part of Sweden - especially this time of year. Snow covered landscapes and varied terrain.
Rather than going straight to the venue as we usually do, we went and checked in to the hotel and walked from there to the venue, getting a little bit lost on the way. Freezing cold, but a bit of fresh air did us good after the long drive. When we got to the venue everything was already set up, and the pre-show calm had settled on the place. Antony (the front of house sound engineer) treated those assembled to a selection of Richard Cheese tracks. Having an über-cheesy lounge-crooner style cover of Metallica's Enter Sandman blasting over the PA in the virtually empty arena spawned a few confused/bemused looks from the local crew. Funny stuff.
Shortly after 6pm doors opened and you could tell almost instantly that the crowd was gonna be good tonight. Nitzer Ebb went down an absolute storm, and they later told me that this had been the best crowd for them so far on this tour. They did put on one helluva show, I must say.
As Depeche took the stage the place errupted, and the atmosphere was simply brilliant. About half way through the gig, I went to front of house to watch it from there, and get a better sense of the crowd further back. Everywhere people were out of their seats, dancing and clapping along. I loved it. Can't say I was surprised though. I've seen Mode at Scandinavium quite a few times, and it's always been a highlight of the tour - this time it was no different.
Next stop on Tour Of The Universe is Bergen - on the way there the crew is stopping for a couple of days of skiing and r'n'r. Me, I'm heading home for a bit - the weather permitting (a snow storm as settled over southern Sweden, making the drive back to Copenhagen increasingly perilous)."
Blog 70: author: mm | posted: February 1st, 2010 Bergen - January 29th
"Bergen is one of Europe's cultural capitals and one of the largest cities in Norway. The weather hasn't been very accommodating - a lot of us caught a nasty virus - and on our particular show night, the snow and ice seemed like a real challenge to concert goers heading into town for the 8:30pm gig at the Vestlandshallen. Despite it all, close to 10,000 people packed the venue for Depeche Mode's long-awaited Norwegian visit.
Our boys were excited to be back in Scandinavia and to be able to play this re-scheduled date in Bergen. When they got off stage, they were all smiles and relieved to see that the positivity and intensity from the crowd hasn't weaned since Bergen's original gig date last year!
No photos due to the aforementioned nasty bug, to which I seem to have fallen victim.
See you in Stockholm!
Blog 71: author: mm | posted: February 6th, 2010 | Stockholm - January 31st
"Stockholm, Sweden was one of the lovelier stops on the tour. A few of the band's family and close friends flew out to join us on the road so it turned into a wonderful reunion. Despite the weather - which is taking some getting used to - a long line of eager fans started to form outside of the venue doors at 5pm. As the guys drove by on our way into the venue, they waved to the crowd and anticipated another amazing Scandinavian gig!
Stockholm's Globe Arena was by far one of the coolest architectural gigs we've seen on tour; it's the largest hemispherical building in the world. It's essentially the Epcot Center of rock and roll. For the Swedes, it's a solar representation of the sun. The guys loved the forward-thinking concept.
Fun fact: Depeche Mode played the venue less than 2 days before it became officially known as the Ericcson Globe arena so in many ways, it our boys were a last 'hurrah' for the venue's former self.
Photos for the blog were contributed by two dear friends of the tour - Steve Burton, Dave Bourner and Dusty. Check them out for some behind-the-scenes action.
See you in Helsinki!
Blog 72: author: mm | posted: February 8th, 2010 | Helsinki - February 2nd
"Depeche Mode played the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki to 12,000 fans who traveled all across the surrounding region - from Estonia to Sweden.
On this particular evening, we had a smaller but more intimate meet and greet with a few wonderful Finnish fans. Dressed in dark colors, the competition winners assembled in the hallways near to the dressing rooms. When the boys walked in to say hello and take a photo with the lucky group, they were given one of the most thoughtful gifts we had ever seen by one of the group members - hand-made gloves with a perfectly-placed DM logo in grey. Needless to say, the Mode made some use for them as they wrapped up their Scandinavian winter tour before heading out to icy Russia!
Check out the images and enjoy!
Additional images by Chris Bashall.
See you in St. Petersburg!
Blog 73: author: mm | posted: February 10th, 2010 | St. Petersburg - February 4th
"The journey to St. Petersburg was a long one. Being on tour we have to anticipate the occasional bumps in the road - technical difficulties, unexpected traffic delays, sound issues, hotel mix-ups, etc. But we never thought being grounded on a tarmac in Helsinki, getting ready to take off to St. Petersburg, would turn into a 2 1/2 hour window of worry. We were having some unforeseen mechanical problems with our plane. Luckily, we have a great team of professionals who were able to sort things out but even for them, the uncertainty was worrisome. Are we staying in Finland another night? Are we flying into St. Peterbsurg on show day, risking a delayed gig? On the Tour of the Universe, downtime like this, while stuck with every member of your band party, usually results in a neck-to-neck game of travel Scrabble (and it more often than not is between Martin and Pete, who take their Scrabble very, very seriously).
After a nervous couple of hours, we got the green light from our pilot and the plane took off to St. Petersburg! Arriving in St. Petersburg a little later than expected, we were in awe of the city's beauty at night. For some of us first-timers, coming to Russia was a particularly momentous visit.
What can I say about the Russian crowds, other than how AWESOME they are? It had been a while since we had seen such large crowds - 21,000 devotees packed the SKK arena and helped welcome the Mode and the entire crew to Russia in a very, very BIG way.
Enjoy the Flickr fan photos and see you in Moscow!
Blog 74: author: mm | posted: February 13th, 2010 | Moscow - February 6th
"I liken Moscow to NYC - bright lights and a city that also never sleeps. The concert at the Olympiski was a huge turnout; 21,000 people attended the show and brought with them a level of enthusiasm and excitement that only Depeche Mode fans can bring!
Prior to the gig, some of the band went on a tourist trip around the city, visiting museums and local monuments as well as partaking in a little Moscow shopping - no harm in that! The group was quite happy to be in such a historic city with such an interesting cultural offering. Needless to say, this trip is in the Mode's memory vaults as one of the most unique ones of the tour.
Check out some concert images and we will see you in Kiev!
Blog 75: author: mm | posted: February 25th, 2010 | Kiev - February 8th
"February 8th marked the first time Depeche Mode played a concert in Kiev so the expectations, mixed with the excitement that comes with being in a new place, were high. And the fans in Ukraine certainly met those expectations - 10,000 adorned the Palace of Sports this week to give the Mode one of the best reactions to date.
Our boys are always happy to see new faces and places; their eagerness was quite obvious when we landed in Kiev and they greeted the fans who had been waiting outside of the airport for hours, just to catch a glimpse of them on their first official visit to the country. On the ride to the airport, Andy and Kerry were discussing the wonders of Chicken Kiev. Is it a traditional dish? We debated about it but they all agreed that it was delicious and had to be tried while there. Luckily, it was on the menu a couple of nights later in Poland and it was every bit as good as the boys said it would be. We also discovered that the dish did not originate in Kiev and while people are unsure as to its true origin, some historians say it was created in Moscow! Looks like Andy won that argument. What can I say? He's a history buff and he's usually right!
Check out some photos from another amazing night.
Blog 76: author: big_pete | posted: February 13th, 2010 | Lodz - February 10th
"It's rather cold in Lodz, around -10 most of the time, so i didnt take in much of the city to be honest.
There is an incredible amount of snow around, and more on the way so they say.
The venue looks rather dull from the outside, but is very impressive inside. Everything went well for the crew and it was all set up on time.
Outside there were a few hundred fans suffering the freezing temperatures, i ventured out a few times and couldnt wait to get back in the warm so i could feel my ears again.
Inside the arena we had Nitzer Ebb praticising their football skills, and most of the depeche crew were now releshing in the thought of a nice lazy morning as their stuff was all set up for the "double nighter" - the poor guys have just had to endure a 20 hour drive in the snow so they more than deserve a little rest.
I spoke to a few of the crew and was told that the last few shows had been really great, amazing crowds, so i was hoping for a good one.
Once the doors opened it started "de-peche mode de-peche mode" relentlessly from the first 15 rows - they were a very vocal crowd.
The band came on shortly after 9pm, and it was great, but after 3 or 4 tracksit went up a gear, the crowd were the best i have seen, they started singing "Master and Servant" at the band, then martin challenged them to sing the verses they did a very good job - most impressive.
The "Home" jam was a good one, Dave said it sounded like "Nitzer Ebb" - Dave even sang "Left Right Left" from "Once You Say" at the end of it - which caused much amusement to the Ebb guys who were watching from the side of the stage.
Now - the Balloons for "Policy of Truth" - I mentioned that you guys should bring more balloons, it seemed that only Lodz understood this, because there must have been just short of 1000 balloons floating around - and it was an amazing site, and was a talking point later, so well done to all of you for that !!
Dave was screaming more than i have heard before, he interacted with the audience more than i have seen before and kept smiling and pointing at fans.
I dont know why the fans chose "Master and Servant" as their chant, but it kept happening, and martin even played a little of it on his keyboard before "stripped"
It really was a perfect gig, and i cant wait for tomorow."
Blog 77: author: big_pete | posted: February 17th, 2010 | Lodz - February 11th
"Woke up to find even more snow had arrived during the night - like there wasn't enough already !!
Got to the venue around 1pm, and because it's a "double nighter" there isn't a great deal for them to do today. The sound guys ran a quick line check, and parts of "Master and Servant" were played - that got me excited.
The doors opened at 5.30pm tonight, it was roughly -20 outside - and it seemed pointless keeping people waiting in the snow when everything was ready to go inside. The usual mad rush to the front was a spectacle, with people tripping over, screaming and yelling "de-peche mode" repeatedly.
Nitzer Ebb delivered a fantastic set, and are getting a great reaction from the crowd - and the guys can often be seen watching Depeche from the side of the stage.
The gig was again just perfect - the Polish crowd are the loudest I have heard, and so passionate for all things Depeche. I have seen some great shows on this tour, and the crowds have been fantastic - but seriously Lodz wins the Best Audience category for me, they blew me away/
Again for "Policy of Truth" we had around 1000 balloons appear like magic and disappear just as quickly , then there's the never ending chant of "de-peche mode" between each track, and if it's not the noise from the crowd it's the look on their faces - tears, laughter, amazement - everyone was loving the show, everyone was dancing, it felt like a huge party.
We didn't get "Master and Servant" tonight as had been hoped by last night's crowd, we got "Comeback" and "Judas", and we also got a fantastic performance from the band, the bands energy was feeding a crowd that were already at boiling point, the Lodz gigs were just fantastic.
The tour rolls on to Zagreb now - and I am heading home to the UK
Lodz - you were amazing."
Blog 78: author: brat | posted: February 19th, 2010 | Royal Albert Hall, London - February 17th
"I am sitting here, trying to come up with something to say regarding the Royal Albert Hall show. Yes, it was a great show. Yes, it was a hometown show (if you stretch the boundaries of Basildon to include Kensington). Yes, it was for a great cause (Teenage Cancer Trust). In the end, though, there is only one word that can totally and completely sum up the night: Alan.
I arrived at the Royal Albert Hall around 10am on show day, to start taking some venue pictures. I caught up with Hels, who was placing the signs on the doors (production, dressing room, catering, et cetera). Seeing a sign saying "Alan Wilder" go on a door, 16 years after his departure from the band, was a sign that this show would be legendary...and it was.
I came back a little later, and saw the soundcheck. As the tour is about a half dozen shows away from ending, I was a little surprised to see a soundcheck scheduled that had the band involved. By this time in a tour, it is usually just the crew making sure all the levels are right on the instruments and microphones. After a few minutes, in walks Martin, Fletch, Peter and Christian... and a string section. Ooooh - a good sign. The string section worked out arrangements to One Caress, Home and Come Back (a nice surprise). While the string section was soundchecking, Mr Wilder began walking around the venue. I knew this was shaping up to be a historic night.
After a while, Alan took to the stage, and did one run through of Somebody, and then the band left the stage. It was a little after 6pm. In a few hours time, I would be hearing one of the loudest crowd screams of my life.
The show started with opening act The Horrors. Before Depeche Mode took to the stage, Roger Daltrey (of The Who) came out and sang (not literally, sadly) the praises of Depeche Mode, showed a short film about the Teenage Cancer Trust, and then introduced Depeche Mode with these words: "Every decade throws up their icons, and some of them stand the test of time better than others. This lot stand as tall today as they ever do. Please welcome Depeche Mode!"
The crowd was ready for a legendary show, and the band did not disappoint. The screams from the fans when the string section were setting up were near-deafening. The crowd (and band) participation at the end of Home (complete with band jam session) was great. They were nothing compared to the moment Alan hit the stage, though. It was a combination of shock, joy, and tears throughout the crowd. People were virtually speechless, and it was amazing. If that wasn't amazing enough, the band brought out Photographic soon after!
At the aftershow, it was literally a "Who's Who" of Depeche Mode history. Most of Mute Records was in the house, as well as Ben Hillier, Flood, the legendary JD Fanger, Anton Corbijn, and almost every family member of the band.
A great night. A great cause. A great moment in Depeche Mode history. To all of you who were there, thanks for coming out and supporting Teenage Cancer Trust. For those of you who could not make it, enjoy these pictures from the show."
Blog 79: author: brat | posted: February 25th, 2010 | The O2, London - February 20th
"The O2. After the Royal Albert Hall performance, who knew what to expect. I knew what I was looking forward to: Nitzer Ebb. Sadly, due to meetings with DM management (which consisted of 25 minutes of hallway waiting, and two actual minutes of "meeting"), I missed almost the entire Nitzer Ebb set (boo!). I did, however, manage to get back in time to catch the last two songs. Pictures are included in this blog set.
Before the show (and just before Nitzer Ebb hit the stage), the band participated in a "Meet & Greet" with some fans. Let me take a minute here, and address what has to be my number one topic via email during the tour: Meet & Greets. Meet & Greet events are (usually) done by the record label, and through contests on radio stations. I don't have a way to get you into a Meet & Greet. Even my friends don't get to participate in them. While I appreciate that fans want to have a minute to shake the hand of the band, and get a picture, I can not help you on your quest. Ok, public service announcement over...back to the show. :)
As usual, another great set by the boys. Highlights include the return of the catwalk stage (which made for some fine pictures), the jam at the end of "Home" (Mr Gahan: "Sounds like Essex is in the house"), and the crowd singing "Happy Birthday" to Mr Gordeno. Actually, after the crowd sort of stumbled through part of "Happy Birthday", and Mr Gahan shouted "You can do better than that!", Peter then played "Happy Birthday" on the piano to help the crowd. Nice.
On to the after show. Again, while I can not hook people up with after show passes, I do usually attend the after shows. Most of the time, an after show consists of a free soft drink, and some chips. On one side of the room, you can spot Martin and/or Fletch, due to the absolute swarm of people around them. That lasts for a few minutes, and that is that. The RAH after show was much larger (and atypical), but it had nothing on the O2 after show. Now THIS is what fans have in mind when they think "after show". Another who's who of DM history in the house (Lynn from Bong, Dave Bascombe, Mr Wilder, Gary Numan, JD, most of Mute, Douglas of Nitzer Ebb...the list goes on and on). Personally, I have never seen so many people (had to be a minimum of 300), in so large of an after show area. I was in awe. So many people to chat up, live DJ, free drinks - this was not your usual after show! Very cool.
While Mr Wilder did not perform at the London O2 show, he was in attendance. Alan was kind enough to give a brief interview for the site. Definitely worth a viewing.
After the show (and after show), it was off to stand in a queue for one hour in -2C weather (plus wind chill = ouch!) for a taxi. A special thanks to the London Underground for closing their rail service on such a huge show night. :P The next day, I headed back to Los Angeles, and proceeded to pass out for a few days.
To everyone I met while in London, thanks for your kindness.
Peter, Big Pete and May will pick up the last four shows.
"See you next time!""
Blog 80: author: big_pete | posted: February 27th, 2010 | Horsens (1) - February 22nd
"With Daniel taking care of the last few London blogs I had some time on my hands. Time, which was well spent in the company of Nitzer Ebb who were playing 2 UK shows - York, and my home town Nottingham (where they needed a hand with their dry cleaning - I was only too happy to see to it that their freshly laundered stage gear was delivered in time for the show). Both shows were amazing - if you get the chance to go and see them at one of their own headliner shows, grab it!!
As for Depeche Mode, Daniel's already filled you all in on what went down at the Royal Albert Hall and O2. And now, after 2 great London shows, it is now Horsens turn to play hosts to Depeche Mode.
Horsens is a small town on the east coast of Jutland - and I think it's fair to say that there isn't much going on here normally. But today and tomorrow the Depeche Mode tour is in town.
The venue is great, like a school gym - very compact, the stage very low and is recessed in the back of the floor area.
It's an early show tonight, a 10pm curfew brings things forward by an hour. So at 7pm Nitzer Ebb took to the stage and got things started. The audience gave them a great reception, and seemed to be well up for the show.
As Depeche walked on the screams were deafening, the adrenaline was pumping and the roof was blown off the Horsens Forum.
Having seen a few of the more "intimate" shows i knew it would be great, but not this great, it was a phenomenal show, and the 4500 people strong crowd were amazing.
We had two band "jams" tonight - after "Home" and after "Dressed In Black", the second one being cut short by Dave saying "this sounds great, but we have a curfew tonight". Funny guy!
The aftershow was great, 40 people (including band members, family and crew) in a cordoned off hotel bar. It's not often that both crew and band are in the same hotel, so tonight's inpromptu party was a really great end to a perfect day, and myself and fellow blogger-Peter were last seen staggering up to our room at around 4am feeling slighty worse for wear.
I am really looking forward to the second show in Horsens - it's a very special venue.
Blog 81: author: peter | posted: February 27th, 2010 | Horsens (2) - February 23rd
"Sitting back at the hotel after another breathtaking show. Horsens truly did impress me. Everything about these two gigs was perfect. The atmosphere was fantastic, the shows were great - very intimate affairs, with somewhere in the region of 4500 people in the crowd both nights.
The floor and lower tier seating was all general admission, meaning that you could go sit if/when you wanted to, and go dance and jump around on the floor if that was your thing. The upshot of that being that noone was forced to sit down so as to avoid blocking other people who had paid for their seat, and were insisting on actually sitting in it. The entire lower tier and floor was on their feet and moving, jumping, singing, clapping throughout. And despite the small crowd, they even put on a pretty good balloon show.
Highlights were plentiful, but one did stand out slightly more than others for me. After "Home", the crowd's chant was just stunning, prompting the band to do a very extended version of their post-Home jam. According to Dave, the best ever. Nothing wrong with that! ;)
After Horsens it's on to Dusseldorf, for an early set up, and then the final two. It's gonna be so weird!"
Blog 82: author: peter | posted: February 27th, 2010 | Dusseldorf - February 26th
"From one extreme to the other. Horsens = 4500. Dusseldorf = at least ten times that. Wow, this place is big. Wow, the stage is big. Wow, the crowd is big. It's surreal how different tonight's gig was, compared to Horsens. What it may have lacked in intimacy, it more than made up for with energy and the shear grandure of the whole thing.
A great place to finish off what started as a stadium tour. A vast stadium gig, without all the tedious mucking about with daylight, rain and what not.
The crowd was amazing last night. The wave got a little emotional for pretty much everyone I think. Truly awesome.
After the gig, the band, crew, family and friends had their end-of-tour party - complete with karaeokee bar and all. Some electrifying performances, I tell ya. Joe (Fletcher's son) played host to what quickly became a thoroughly amusing night. Selected highlights included Douglas McCarthy and Peter Gordeno doing a hauntingly bromantic rendition of the classic "I Got You Under My Skin", Jez Webb's medley of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" and Nitzer Ebb's "Payroll", Peter G. (again) and Grainne Fletcher doing "Islands In The Stream" and Martin and Viva Gore doing... can't remember right now, but it was funny. Rumours of a love-duet between Martin and Jez are circulating, but must've happened after I left. I'll ask around to get that confirmed and get back to you on the blog for Dusseldorf part deux - the final show!"
Blog 83: author: peter | posted: March 4th, 2010 | Dusseldorf (2) - February 27th
"So that's it. Tour is officially over. I'm sat in the airport with a surreal kind of feeling in my stomach. I am on my way home, and the Tour Of The Universe is over. It's been a ride, I tell ya.
The final show was obviously quite emotional, and it's all a bit of a blur now to be honest. Nitzer Ebb bringing guitar tech Jez Webb on stage for their track "Payroll" was a lot of fun. Depeche doing "Photographic" for only the second time this entire tour was a nice surprise. Dave's little speech was lovely - he thanked the entire crew, then pointed out Jonathan Kessler on one side of the stage, and Daniel Miller on the other (the follow spot that was supposed to find him instead found one of the band's security people - most amusing). At one point there were at least ten thousand people holding up signs saying "DM - Come Back". Very moving.
After the gig everyone was saying their goodbyes - first at the after show party, later on at the hotel bar. There was a mixture of relief and sadness doing the rounds.
The funny thing is of course, that due to the massive delays and cancellations, people are getting to say goodbye in all corners of Dusseldorf airport right now, as they await word about the planes home.
It's been a long and hard tour, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. Can't wait till the next time!
Thank all those checking in to read about the shows, and the occasional random minutiae from life on the road. It's been fun keeping you all updated as best we could.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME!!!"
Blog 84: author: mm | posted: March 12th, 2010 | Echo Awards - March 4th
"What a way to end a successful tour - with a win at the Echo Awards in Berlin. Depeche Mode clinched the title of Best International Band from U2, Razorlight and the Black Eyed Peas!
A couple of us on the team flew in to Berlin 4 days in advance of the show to take in the sights and prepare for the ceremony. Along with Martin, we check out the Holocaust memorial (very moving) and the modern art museum (fantastic). Andy flew in the day of the show after having spent just a few days back home. They were both in good spirits and excited to end a 10-month run on such a high note. The nomination itself was thrilling but when Paul Van Dyke named Depeche Mode as the winner of the award, we were all overwhelmed.
Backstage was the usual award show scene: performing artists; entourages; make up; security. But unlike other award shows, the atmosphere was quite mellow and the boys enjoyed themselves in the Wii Lounge before heading off to be seated for the show. Also, free candy. There was free candy, which is pretty much awesome.
Check out some images taken of the night, taken by Daniel Miller and Anne Haffmans.
Until next time, folks. It's been real.