Singles Tour Diaries
Jody Hardy was a member of the touring staff of Depeche Mode's Singles 86>98 tour, taking care of press & promotion. She wrote tour a diary for the Singles Tour, while Daniel "BRAT" Barassi, Depechemode.com's webmaster, wrote diary entries for the last couple of concerts which took place in California. The entries were uploaded on Depechemode.com and are still accessible here.
Jez Webb, guitar technician for Martin Gore since 1993, has written a tour diary for the European leg of the tour for Bong magazine issue #40, which was published in June 1999. Now-defunct fan-site Sacreddm.net had typed out this diary, and also has been copied below.
Tour diary by Jody Hardy
September 2nd | Tartu, Estonia (Tartu Song Fest Grounds)
"We got on our private plane for the first time today, and it was a little bumpy towards the end, but it was ok...we survived. I was a bit worried, but our air hostess (Eva), was wonderful. We came to the gig. The guys did the "Meet & Greet", which was very polite. The fans here are very polite. They come up and have their pictures signed, and they kinda get to the background. I'm sure it won't be quite the same in other places.
There were 12,000 fans here tonight, and they were absolutely mental! They were chanting "Depeche Mode" a half hour before the band went on stage! Dave and the band were brilliant.
It was six degrees here, and it's freezing out there. It's totally and utterly freezing. It's outdoors, it's cold, and there's smoke in the air when you breathe out."
September 3rd | Riga, Latvia (Lielupe Tennis Hall)
"When we arrived in Latvia (on Tuesday), they were over 100 fans waiting for us at the airport. They screamed when David, Martin and Fletch walked off of the plane. They even screamed (in anticipation) when Jonathan Kessler (DM's Manager) ducked his head out before the band walked out!
I found out later that a week ago, when The Rolling Stones arrived in Latvia, they only had two journalists waiting for them, and that was it. No fans - no nothing.
The band did a "Meet & Greet" before the show, and were presented with a Gold Record award, because they have sold more records than any other artist in Latvia.
It had been raining non-stop in Latvia. The only two days of sunshine that they have had started the day we arrived."
September 4th | Moscow, Russia (day off)
"We arrived in Moscow today, and there were a lot of fans at the airport waiting for us. The fans followed us (in their cars) from the airport, all the way to the hotel (sticking their heads outside their cars - while driving - and screaming). Now, they're waiting outside the hotel. The second they see Fletch, Martin or Dave, they start screaming at the top of their lungs. The band will be catching up with their old friend Flood in St. Petersburg on Monday (he is currently staying in St. Petersburg)."
September 5th | Moscow, Russia (Olympiski Stadium)
"We did the concert tonight in Moscow. It was a huge success. The fans in the front actually broke down the barricades, so the Army was called in (in combat gear) to form a human barricade between the fans and the stage! On the way to the gig, we unfortunately had to stop at every traffic light. At every stop, fans would come and scream at the van we were in. One car full of fans even had a Russian bear in the back seat, ducking his head out at us. Also, the band did interviews for MTV Russia (which should launch soon), as well as for WTN, which should go out on worldwide circuit."
September 6th | Moscow, Russia (day off)
"We got into the van, and basically drove around Moscow. We went to see the Kremlin, Red Square, and we also went to a museum. We got to learn about the history of Russia, as well as see things like Faberge Eggs, et cetera."
September 7th | St. Petersburg, Russia (SKK Sport Complex Arena)
"There were 19,000 screaming fans in the arena (more than capacity). Also, Flood came to the gig (just as a friend) to check out the boys. He is currently staying in St. Petersburg."
September 9th | Helsinki, Finland (Hartwall Areena)
"Andy Franks, the tour manager for Depeche Mode, had his computer stolen while the band was in St. Petersburg. He is asking the fans of Depeche Mode to help him find his computer, which has personal info about the band on it. If you are traveling through St. Petersburg, or in Moscow, and are offered a computer directly from Depeche Mode, please make the person a large offer, and immediately contact the webmaster of depechemode.com. You will be rewarded!
This morning we flew to Helsinki in our private plane (we now have Swiss chocolate on-board the plane!). Andy Franks was in the cockpit today, driving the plane (not!). He was bossing the pilots around, got on the P.A., and started saying "Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking...". :)
The band did another "Meet & Greet", as well as a quick interview with Q magazine (a two-page live spread for the October issue). The Q photographer was taking loads of pictures of the concert. The guys from Q thought the concert was brilliant!
The fans of Helsinki went crazy tonight, singing along to every word of every song. We will be going to our hotel after the show (haven't even had the time to see it yet)."
September 10th | Helsinki, Finland (day off)
(This is the webmaster speaking for Jody today)
"Not much of a diary today due to Jody working on her day off, but she wants everyone to send their best wishes to the crew of the Depeche Mode tour, who are suffering with the stomach flu at the moment."
September 11th | Copenhagen, Denmark (The Valby Multi Hall)
"Arrived a little late in Copenhagen due to problems getting clearance for the flight path - the skies looked pretty clear to us though. Managed to make it to the venue in time to have a quick sound check and then onto the press conference. The press conference was extremely well received and there were approximately 80 journalists/TV persons there. Most excellent.
The venue was a new one and we were the first people to perform there. It was full to capacity, over 12,000 people who all went extremely mad. It was the best concert so far and as usual Depeche were brilliant.
Mr. Franks is now up and running with his new computer - special thanks to Apple, however we are still looking for the original and any leads on its whereabouts please pass on.
We need to give double special thanks to Apple, who so far with all our inevitable computer problems, have been fantastic - they rock.
Lastly after show we went on to catch Tim DJ'ing at the Country Club, very deep, but cool.
We are off to Gothenburg today, flying this afternoon.
By the way...the crew are feeling much better today."
September 12th | Gothenburg, Sweden (Scandinavium)
"Played Gothenburg last night, DM rocked.
The live reviews the band are receiving are better than the best. The feeling is that the band look fantastic, sound fantastic and basically are fantastic. One local paper described them (a direct translation) as "fresh young horses coming out in the spring".
We are leaving for Stockholm today, last of the Scandinavian gigs before going onto Prague..... Andy and Martin are doing some promotion this afternoon with ZTV (national tv station) who are making a one hour special on DM for broadcast on the 28th September (in Swedish of course) and Aftonbladet (biggest daily newspaper)."
September 13th | Stockholm, Sweden (The Globe)
"Sorry about the delayed entry for Stockholm, it was just that we traveled and gigged three days in a row, at the end of which I went to Emma B's birthday (the supermodel - who is a lovely person) and then collapsed in the early hours. However having said that, it must be said that the fans in Stockholm were the best, the response was incredible and being the first time on this tour that the band had done three gigs in a row their support was extremely well received."
September 14th | Prague, Czech Republic (Day Off)
"We left Stockholm this after, and had a long flight (2.5 hours) to Prague. We got here, and now everyone has gone to a local restaurant.
Last night, Anton Corbijn was taking photos of the show.
We don't envy the crew at the moment. They are driving 936 miles from Stockholm to Prague!
We have our gig tomorrow in the beautiful city of Prague tomorrow."
September 15th | Prague, Czech Republic (Sports Hall)
"The gig in Prague was fantastic, the band were in top form and the performance was one of their best so far. The audience reaction (all 16,000 of them) was brilliant, with fans singing along to all the songs.
Tim S. DJ'd at a club later called Roxy, where he played an excellent set and packed the dance floor.
We are leaving for Vienna this afternoon for the gig there and then straight onto Berlin."
September 16th | Vienna, Austria (Stadhalle)
"Well we are now firmly ensconced in Berlin after a hair raising ride to the airport. We had to get there by midnight after the amazing (is there any other type with this band?) gig otherwise our plane would not be allowed to take off. Anyhow we lost the convoy so our driver proceeded to drive faster than the speed of sound only (and probably inevitably) to get stopped by the police who gave us a speeding ticket (happens all the time apparently).
Anyhow then we continued to speed along the autobahn (despite the ticket) and then got to the airport in time for the electronic gate onto the runway to start shutting. Our driver decided that he would make this and proceeded to put his foot down even more (it was going through the floor at this point) to try and get us through the gate before it closed completely.
To cut a long story short we were definitely not going to make it, but our driver did not realise this until we were at the gate whereupon he slammed on the breaks and we were nearly catapulted to the plane.
Going out for dinner tonight to a local restaurant - meant to be quite an experience."
September 18th | Berlin, Germany (Waldbuhne)
"It was a long journey from the hotel to the gig, but we did get to go through the Brandenburg date, and cross over the red line (which used to be "the wall"). That was quite good on the sightseeing side. The venue is fantastic in Berlin. It didn't rain (which is good, considering that it was an outdoor gig). The gig went off - it was totally nuts."
September 21st | Berlin, Germany (Day Off)
"DM performed two shows back to back in Waldbuhne, a fantastic venue in Berlin. The shows were incredible, and there are some pictures to prove it. Sold out over the two nights with 21,000 people each night. We then traveled to Erfurt on Sunday for another show, which again was great and here are even more pictures to prove it. After a day off (for most) in Berlin we are flying to Brussels tomorrow and then back to Germany for a gig in Stuttgart."
September 24th | Stuttgart, Germany (Day Off)
"Can't remember my last entry. However DM played a great gig in the Forest in Brussels, the reviews of which read that Dave Gahan was received as a God by the Belgian crowd. Also another one was that the delivery of 'Personal Jesus' and 'Enjoy the Silence" were so powerful that DM nearly set the venue on fire. We are on our way to Zurich today, followed by Bologna and then Milan. Life is good."
October 6th | Cologne, Germany (Koln Arena)
"First of all I must apologize for the lateness in my diary. Last week in the UK was hectic, massive guests lists, interviews, meet and greets and of course fantastic shows.
Wembley was great (both nights) and many famous people came to see the band's performance including Stephen Hawkins! The shows were both a sell out and the audience sang along to all the songs. Dave was on great form and sounding fantastic.
We then traveled up to Manchester (took 5 hours due to motorway road works) and again a great time was had by all. Left on Saturday for Birmingham and the show was attended by families and relatives. Again sell out, again fantastic.
After a much needed day off on Sunday we flew to Cologne yesterday and played in a brand new venue, the Koln Arena. We were the first international band to play there - all went extremely well. MTV filmed the whole show and were most pleased. They will be editing their footage down to make two specials which should be aired on MTV soon!
The band has just gone to Number One with their album in Germany and Anna from the record company will be presenting them with a huge cake in the shape of a No. 1 and in the colours of the album. I will take pictures tonight for proof!
We will be off to Paris tomorrow after our second show in Cologne tonight and will be doing off to Paris for a press conference and show tomorrow and then a most fantastic day off there. Hope the weather holds up.
Quite funny incident with security at the Koln Arena venue last night where Steph and Em (caterers extraordinnaire) were asked to be quiet in the backstage corridor as the band were on stage??! ok, no problem. All is well and all are well - will write again soon."
October 12th | Frankfurt, Germany (Day Off)
"Everything is going extremely well. We returned to Germany after a very successful gig in Paris. This week, we have done six shows in seven days - not bad going. The crowds as always have been great and the shows even greater.
It just keeps getting better.
Played in Frankfurt last night, now everyone has a day off then tomorrow we fly to Munich then onto Spain for three more gigs. Then we take America........
Mr. Andy Franks, our fantastic tour manager, was presented with a beautiful Rolex watch tonight. It was from the band, and the German tour promoter, because he is doing an incredible, fantastic job...and we love him. :)
Prior to the gig in Frankfurt last night, there was the World Table Football Championship, between the band, and the crew. The playing led to a gritty final, between Christian Eigner (the drummer), and Flo Guenand (wardrobe/production tech). After a tense 5-10 minute match, Flo won (for the girls), beating Christian with a score of 10 to 9. Although Martin and Fletch are incredibly good at table football, the girls won. ;)"
October 14th | Barcelona, Spain (Day Off)
"Well we are nearly finished with the European leg of the tour - wow it was tiring!! We finally left Germany yesterday to arrive in sunny Spain and are staying in a most beautiful hotel by the beach (many thanks to Mr. Franks, tour manager extraordinaire).
Thanks for the questions for Fletch, he will have a look at them tonight and then send the responses.......remember the winning question (as chosen by Fletch) receives a personally signed tour book and merchandise.
The weather is beautiful, the sea looks lovely and we are flying this afternoon to Zaragoza for the first of our three Spanish gigs. We play Barcelona tomorrow night and then Tim will be DJ'ing at a local club. No doubt it will be a late one for some....
Will let you have an update on the bar football championships..... till next time."
October 17th | San Sebastion, Spain (Velodromo De Anoeta)
"Well this is our final gig for the European leg of the tour. The competition between crew/band members for the bar football is heating up. We flew to France today from Barcelona only to then drive back into Spain to San Sebastian, coz they close the airport early here. Gig is going great (they are performing It's no Good at the moment - sounding most excellent).
New camera going to be purchased in New York to get enable me to get better pictures for the US leg of the tour.
A very happy night......"
October 25th | Boston, MA. (Day Off)
"We flew into Boston today, and were taking the day off to get used to the time change. Meanwhile our trusty and hard working crew are having a technical day to make sure all the equipment survived the trip across the ocean so that the show can continue..."
October 27th | Worcester, MA. (Centrum Centre)
"Today is the first show of the American leg, and everyone is itching to get on stage. (post show report) The show , as usual, was excellent and was definitely a great start to america. The audience were extra enthusiastic, and had all made a great effort to get there from Boston. Then we flew straight to NY after the show, squeezing all twenty of us into a little plane, which made for a very interesting and hairy flight....."
October 28th | New York, NY. (Madison Square Garden)
"Madison Square Gardens....We got to the "garden" at five and spent the sound check rehearsing the new arrangement for the song we're playing on LETTERMAN, tune in on Monday to find out which song we're playing.... Any way, the show was a stormer, we played to a full house of 14,000, and it was the tightest show of the tour (in my opinion!) We got fantastic reviews in the NY Post, Hollywood Reporter, Daily News and Variety to name but a few. Photographs will be posted as soon as Tom (our money-man) takes me shopping for the new camera...."
October 29th | New York, NY. (Madison Square Garden)
"Another tip-top, electropop-tastic show !!!!! Again another great night. Janet and Jordan premiered their new sexy silver catsuits, complemented by glittery mules - top marks to Flo Guenand (wardrobe, and table football champ.) Picture to follow. We had an after-show party with Helmut Lang, at the very trendy LOT 61 club. Celebrity guests present were; label mate MOBY, SASHA, MICHAEL BOLTON ?!?!?, BILLY MYERS, and two scantily clad go-go boys. A late night, but we've got two days off. New York shops here we come!!!!!!!!!"
November 2nd | New York, NY. (Late Night With David Letterman)
"Had to wake up late on Saturday, after dinner at the Tribeca Grill hosted by Reprise followed by our meeting up with our crew (a rare but very pleasant event) at the Bubble Lounge. It was a good party, but unfortunately it wasn't long before I had to retire to my bed - very tired after Madison Square Garden gigs.
Saturday, our fearless leader Mr. Andy Franks had to defy all odds by then trekking to VH-1 for the first of the many interviews for the forthcoming 'Depeche Mode - Behind the Music'. A great show.
This was Franksy's first ever full-on TV interview where he spilt the beans (and the pulses about DM). It must be said, there are a lot of beans.........
Please see picture of the main man, Mr. Andy Franks and his beautiful and luverly wife, Marla (after the interview - with an extremely cheeky grin on his face -I wonder why??).
Read here for broadcast dates.
Sunday came around very quickly, now its off to Philadelphia to play at the Spectrum. Was a little bored in the morning so decided to run the marathon then left for the venue with the band at around 2 p.m., avoiding all the other runners.
Sound check and dinner. Everyone was very happy as we got our espresso machine back, so we now get some strong coffee...
Started taking pictures with the new camera - the one with the dinosaur and egg was a test picture from my hotel room.
Gig was good and the crowd were most receptive. VH-1 continued to shoot for their special and were very very happy.....
Jonathan, the band's manager was interviewed too and was looking extremely cool in his suit. No hints about his interview - just tune into VH-1 on the assigned date.
After a quick few games of bar football we drove back to New York to prepare for Letterman today........"
November 5th | Toronto, CANADA. (Skytent / Toronto Skydome)
"After returning extremely late from Philadelphia, we got up the next day to go to Letterman. Also on the show (as I am sure some of you may have) was Sir Anthony Hopkins and Buzz Aldrin.....
After a most excellent rehearsal (at which I couldn't take piccys - except of the TV in the dressing room), the band and crew went on to produce the best performance ever for TV by Depeche Mode. After receiving our complementary t-shirts we departed the building to be met by a good number of fans. Early night as big promotional day tomorrow....
Left at the unearthly hour of 10 a.m. to go to the MTV Studios to record 120 Minutes with Matt. It was a really really good co-host and the band had a good time. The show will air this Sunday 8th on MTV at midnight - make sure you tune in....
Dave recorded an interview with MTV News then it was onto the Kit Kat Club to do the interviews for VH-1's 'Behind the Music'. Dave went first, followed by Martin and then Fletch. They all gave brilliant interviews. Watch this space to find out the airing time.
Wednesday was a nice relaxing day, some of us went to see PJ Harvey in the evening - she was really good. Today, Thursday (Bonfire Night for us Brits), we flew to Canada on our new plane which is just amazing (understatement).
Arrived in Toronto (very cold) and went to the Skydome, where the band are on stage at this precise moment of typing ('Question of Lust'). Will give full report of this gig, Montreal and Cleveland soon.
Pictures will shortly be posted for our MTV/VH-1 shoot and our fabulous new plane.........keep logging on."
November 7th | Montreal, CANADA. (Day Off)
"Post-Toronto - Woke up to snow in Toronto. Got on our beautiful big plane, and made our way to Montreal. Most interesting plane ride with various card games going on, game boy, dirty nappies (you had to be there) and great sandwiches.
Arrived in Montreal to the Molson Centre, which was so organized and poptastic - top marks to most excellent promoter and venue staff. Fletch did a great interview for Musique Plus, so watch out for that (if you live in Canada).
We have a day off today in Montreal, and are going to see an ice hockey game tonight - should be good. Off to Cleveland tomorrow, will write soon....."
November 10th | Detroit, MI. (Day Off)
"Cleveland - We boarded the plane and headed for Cleveland, a bit of a rough landing, but we got to the venue safely. During sound check the band tried some semi acoustic versions of the songs - v. interesting. The show turned out to be a great performance, considering it was a Sunday night. Lots of post show bar-football, and then back to the hotel for early bed!!!!!
Detroit - A short flight to Detroit, the home of our security men. One of whom is leaving us today for ten days, so he can witness the birth of his child, so good luck to him and his wife. A great show in "Motown" for both Stabbing Westward and Depeche Mode. Back to the hotel for yet another quiet night....What is going on?...
Day off - I woke up, opened the curtains, and it was blowing a gale force wind with possibilities of a tornado. Great. So out with the briefcase and computer for a days work. Roll on Miami and the good weather...........BYE BYE"
November 12th | Miami, Fl. (Day Off)
"Miami - We arrived in Miami the night before the show and were greeted in the airport by some serious humidity. Had relaxing evening in preparation for the show.
Miami show day - We arrived at the venue only to see the new Miami arena up in flames , it was in the middle of being built and apparently a welders torch set the scaffolding on fire. So everyone stood out side and watched the fire-engine-helicopter putting out the flames. I dont know if it was the weather, but the crowd went mad for the show, and as a result we had (as usual) another stormer of a gig.
Orlando (show day) - A few hours in the morning by the pool to start work on the suntans (Mr. Franks looking nice and brown) and then all aboard the Skylark for a quick sojourn into the skies and on to Orlando. As I sit next to Christian on the plane and ask him about the Orlando show he says- "I dont remember much except I we all rocked like animals!!!!!!! HA HA HA!!!!" After the show back to the giant hotel which was a cross between a train station and a shopping center. Not a particularly wild night..........
Tampa (show day) - For a change we drove to Tampa, a short burn up the highway. Tampa the excruciatingly hot city, played host to a fantastic DM show. Everyone was in top form and really got into it. The crowd once again went loony, especially on stage right (martins side). After the show there was much activity in the accountants office, and Tom came out rubbing his hands - he managed to look into a couple of openings that might bear fruit in the future-it must have been a good night all round. Then back to our lovely beach side hotel to prepare for two days of sun and fun.
Days off - Every one kicked back and got into beach life, and we all discovered our new passion - wave runners . Dave, Jeff, myself and Andrew were the first out hitting the waves and soon Christian was out as well. We spent ages on them, and also on the next day. Christian went out another three times - his butt is still hurting. Good food and swimming, chilling out and talking about things other than touring. Then we flew to Houston....
Houston (show day) - A short while by the pool and then we headed to the venue. A sold out night, we played to a seriously crazy, cowboy hat a wearin' 15,000 Texans. The result was another (you guessed it!) fab show. Great hip swinging by Dave, hand waving by fletch, and head banging from Martin!!!!!"
November 26th | Chicago, Il. (Day Off)
"As we left Miami, we found that we had inherited a new member on the tour, who introduced himself as Evil Bendy. This introduction happened over the tannoy of the aeroplane, and as you can see from the pictures, he was at the controls.
On arriving at the gig, he possessed Dave in the corridor and continued with the rest of the band and crew and then insisted on his own picture gallery on the website - this wish of course was granted. He also then took his place on the bar football league, challenging Fletch and Mart and of course beating them all (he must be female).
Evil Bendy comes from Seattle and has decided to join the remaining few weeks of the Depeche Mode Tour, he has his own dressing room, after show guests and even his own personal hotel room.(under the name Mr E. Bendy)
He embarked on a reign of total chaos, influencing the crowd for 'Never Let Me Down' during the arm waving, teaching Dave how to 'Reach Out and Touch Faith' and generally causing havoc - finally he finished the gig by standing on Christian's bass drum just to prove a point.
We hit New Orleans where Evil Bendy ensconced himself in Dave's dressing room. As we left the venue after another fantastic gig, he hid and therefore got to ride on the crew bus, giving him the opportunity to possess them too. Soon, many of his friends will be joining us, the Evil Bendy clan will outnumber the DM tour party.......so watch this space.
We came to Chicago for two excellent sell out gigs - Evil Bendy kept a low profile but I am sure will surface soon. Happy Holidays to all........"
December 11, 1998 | Oakland, CA (Oakland Arena)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"Drove up from Los Angeles to Oakland to catch the show (special thank you to the California Highway Patrol for the speeding ticket). I arrived at the Pan Pacific Hotel (San Francisco), and got to meet Jody (finally!). She gave me all the necessary passes for that night's show. After killing some time in SF, my friend and I proceeded to the Oakland Arena.
We got there just in time to hear Martin, Peter and Christian doing their sound check. They were going through their final rehearsals for the KROQ Acoustic Christmas performance the next day. In a 14,000+ seat arena, to be the only ones in the venue (besides the crew) to be witness to this was something that pretty much left me speechless. They performed Sister Of Night, A Question Of Lust, and an instrumental version of Enjoy The Silence (David was not present at the sound check). All three tracks (plus a quick jam session on the old Fats Domino classic "Blueberry Hill") were "acoustic" versions, with Peter on piano, Christian on drums, and Martin on his electric guitar.
I didn't get much of a chance to see Stabbing Westward. I was backstage getting all the camera equipment ready, watching the "Meet & Greet", and receiving my final instructions from Jody. But, I did get to see their equipment on stage before the show. Mr. Bendy, and some of his relatives, took position on Stabbing's mic stand, keyboard and drum kit.
The actual DM performance was fantastic! The Oakland crowd was extremely loud. A very energized performance (see pictures). After the show, a huge amount of people crammed into the band hospitality area for the after show party. After the party, the band flew to Los Angeles. As for me, I drove back home to Los Angeles (obeying the speed limit this time)."
December 12, 1998 | KROQ Acoustic Xmas, Los Angeles, CA (Shrine)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"A special night. DM occupied the headlining spot of the 9th Annual KROQ 'Almost' Acoustic Christmas show. The crowd was treated to an edited down version of the "Singles Tour" set list, which included special "acoustic" versions of Sister Of Night (with Martin singing), A Question Of Lust and Enjoy The Silence. During Enjoy The Silence, the crowd took over singing the chorus when David stopped singing, without any delay. Very nice. The finishing touch of the hour-plus performance was the encore - Never Let Me Down Again, with guest guitar and vocals by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. After the show, the backstage area was packed! A large group of people trying to cram their way into the area where Depeche Mode was, including Anton Corbijn, Ben Stiller, members of Hole, Billy Corgan and a lot of KROQ employees and "label" people."
December 15, 1998 | San Diego, CA (Cox Arena)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"Loud - the only word that can possibly describe the show. The fans were in overdrive. A LOT of singing, and a LOT of screaming. One of the better performances that I have seen. Memorable aftershow moment...Andy popping in "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes in the CD player for the after show party music. Amazingly, people still stayed and hung out with him and Martin. ;)"
December 18, 1998 | Los Angeles, CA (The Forum)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"The first Forum show. Crowd-wise, this was the night that the audience was more "into it". More singing, more screaming, more hand waving. Personal highlight after the show was playing table football in the band afterparty area (I had never played before). :)"
December 19, 1998 | Los Angeles, CA (The Forum)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"The second of the Forum shows went very smoothly. The biggest surprises were the set change (the "acoustic" version of Sister Of Night - as performed at the KROQ Acoustic Xmas, and Stripped replacing Behind The Wheel), and Madonna in DM's dressing room after the show. A very loud crowd response overall, though not a lot of singing along."
December 20, 1998 | Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, CA.
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"Sadly, a lot of people at the show tonight were not prepared for the bone-chilling temperatures (high 30's / low 40's), which is not what California is really known for during the Christmas season. Many fans were shivering outside (or smartly waiting in their cars - with the heater on) waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, the packed crowd did their best imitation of a plane departing when DM hit the stage (read: they were LOUD). As expected, another great show. After the show, in the Band Hospitality area, there was the usual crowd of fans, label people, and crew. Also on hand was Bon Harris (from Nitzer Ebb), who was hanging out with some of the DM tour crew. Meanwhile, Mr. Andy Franks ("tour manager extraordinare", to quote Jody), was getting down to finding the culprit who stole the table football ball. Sadly, it was not found (I wanted to play), so instead people were using the table as a coaster for their drinks (an obvious sacrilegious act in the eyes of Mr. Franks)."
December 21, 1998 | End Of Tour/Christmas party at Union, Los Angeles, CA. (Day Off)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"A party for the band, crew, and select invited guests. Basically, a lot of people crammed into a small place, drinking, and following Martin around. :) When I got to the location (I was one of the first people there), I was surprised to find fans outside the building (so much for secret parties). Inside. the place was decked out with Christmas lights and balloons, including the light-trimmed "DM" that was backstage at the San Diego show (see picture in Gallery 11). There was a DJ spinning classic 70's tracks (and some not-so-classic), a free bar (always nice), a generous helping of Chinese food, and a Korg keyboard sitting in the corner ready to be played (it never was while I was there, and I stayed most of the night). Martin, Andy, Peter Gordeno, Christian Eigner, Janet and Jordan were all in attendance (David did not make it), along with a lot of the touring personnel. Again, most of what I saw were people walking around (mainly following Martin), and chatting the night away, while smoking up a storm (my poor lungs). For a fan (like myself), hanging out in the same area as the band is cool, but it was otherwise kind of boring. But, the party did serve it's purpose - a good party for the crew before the last show. It was not meant to humor any fans - it was for the band and crew. In that respect, it was a cool party! Plus, Santa showed up, and was making balloon creations for the people. Never knew Santa drank Jack Daniels. ;)"
December 22, 1998 | Anaheim, CA (Arrowhead Pond)
Guest diary writer: Webmaster BRAT
"The final show! I ended up missing the first song, because I was waiting for Jody to throw me in the sound pit area (my home for the night). When there, I enjoyed a great performance, with a few surprises. During Never Let Me Down Again, in the middle breakdown bit, Peter Gordeno slipped in a few bars of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (I only heard it when I played the tape back - I didn't catch it live). At the beginning of "Enjoy The Silence", David said "Merry Christmas, by the way", and during Personal Jesus, Chris from Stabbing Westward joined Janet and Jordan onstage (complete with feather boa) to sing backup vocals. The final treat happened before the second encore ("Just Can't Get Enough"). Fletch came to the microphone, and said:
"Thanks, ladies and gentlemen. (You've) been a great audience. We've enjoyed ourselves in Southern California. This has been one of the happiest tours for Depeche Mode for a long time, and there is a small chance we might be back. I'd like to thank the band. Christian Eigner on drums, Peter Gordeno, Janet and Jordan, and Mr. Andrew Philpott, who put together all the programming for the tour. The unsung hero. He likes to think he is, anyway. So, anyway, I'll pass you over to the real star of the show...me! (band laughter) Over to Dave."
After the show I went backstage. This time, I brought a six-pack of table football balls (at the first Pond show, someone had stolen the ball). I came to play! Sure enough, myself, my friend Chad, and two other backstage people joined up for a quick game (we won). After we finished, Martin walked over. He (and Chris from Stabbing Westward) kicked the asses of the guys we had just played (it should be noted that Martin chose to play with a yellow golf ball, instead of a standard table football ball).
After witnessing "the man" in action (Martin), there was no way I was going to play against him. Instead, Martin and Chris teamed up against Peter Gordeno and Christian Eigner for a final grudge match (again, using the golf ball - go figure). The game must have lasted at least ten minutes! It was very obvious that these four men have played this game a LOT during this tour. Best moments were when Martin was missing a few of his shots. It's very unusual to hear Martin Gore scream "Oh come on!", and watch him jump up and down. Damn cool though. ;) It should also be noted that Christian is a damn good goalie (he was blocking a lot of Martin's shots).
Another interruption for Martin was when his daughter walked over (very cute little girl), and start tugging on his shirt, and hugging his leg, while he was playing. Even with this handicap, Martin and Chris did win (even going so far as to do a jumping high five at the end of the game).
A great end to a cool show. The next day, the band and crew left for Christmas at home. Happy holidays to all!"
December 23, 1998 | Los Angeles, CA (Travel Day)
"Jody wished to make the following statement: "Hi. This is Jody. As the tour is over, I just want to say it was great to meet all the people along the road, and until next time...""
Tour diary by Jez Webb
September 1st, TRAVEL DAY
"Probably not the most useful air-miles I’ll ever receive but at least Estonian Airlines got us safely to our destination and the in-flight puppet show made a change from watching a Hollywood box office hit."
September 2nd, TARTU
"Four years on from the last Depeche Mode tour and the Gods are smiling. The sun beams down on the outdoor concrete bowl known as the Song Festival Grounds, even a swarm of butterflies descended on the stage… well one landed on Martin during sound-check. A break from live work means it takes the guys a while to get going and warm up, literally. The warm sunny day, long gone… Halfway through the set Dave comes over: “Good crowd tonight… and lots of flags. I might grab the ‘Union Jack’ and wrap it round myself.” “Oh, very patriotic Dave.” “Not really, it’s the nearest one and I’m f***ing freezing.” As first gigs go, this was pretty good – new recruits Peter Gordeno (keys) and Christian Eigner (drums), plus Janet and Jordan (backing vocals) can tick their first Depeche Mode show off and earned their colours."
September 3rd, RIGA
"Latvians could have huddled around their TV sets today to watch Mr. Martin Gore eating a light lunch before heading off to do a sound-check. Now I can see only two reasons for this piece of television planning. Firstly Martin has signed a lucrative deal with a Latvian bakery for product placement or secondly Depeche Mode are causing quite a stir on their arrival in this part of the world. The latter proved to be correct as over 6000 people are squashed into Riga’s indoor tennis hall creating a sauna style atmosphere inside. The guys leave the stage dripping."
September 4th, TRAVEL DAY TO MOSCOW
"Today was one of those days I like to refer to as “submarine duty”. Twenty eight hours spent on a bus as it crossed the border into “Mother Russia” and made the long journey towards Moscow… you don’t come up for air much on this sort of trip. Our tour convoy was held at a small Russian village for nearly six hours while a customs point there ‘sorted out’ some paperwork. Local children descended on us and happily spoilt their evening meal by consuming large amounts of British crisps and chocolate. At least when their mums sent them to their rooms, they could pass the time by sticking the Depeche Mode postcards we gave them on the walls. It was also here that four gentlemen in army fatigues and carrying guns, sent by the promoter, joined us. To help us on our journey, just in case there was any trouble!!!"
September 5th, MOSCOW
"This colossal indoor arena was built for the 1980 Olympic Games. Tonight, Depeche Mode’s first show in Russia is attended by nearly thirty thousand Muscovites. Halfway through the show Martin is concerned that the ones down the front seem a bit glum. We later realise that the barrier has started to collapse and a line of soldiers now form a human alternative. I’m sure during “Somebody” I saw them swaying along though. The evening proves to be one of the great Depeche Mode moments. The crowd were fantastic and probably haven’t had this much fun in the arena since the US boycotted those Olympics in 1980 and the Russians asked ‘Uncle Sam’ to hang another gold around Nadia’s neck… thanks a lot."
September 7th, ST. PETERSBURG
"The ending of ‘The Cold War’ has resulted in a move closer to world peace in our time, and several Red Army soldiers with nothing better to do than help us load heavy boxes in, ready for tonight’s show. The Russians may have come off second best, in the race to put a man on the moon but tonight a young girl is the first to set foot on the Depeche Mode stage this tour. Congratulations!"
September 8th, TRAVEL DAY TO HELSINKI
"Andy Franks manages to buy a Depeche Mode Russian doll set from a St. Petersburg market. Some entrepreneur working through the night… was the paint still wet?"
September 9th, HELSINKI
"The band’s best ever performance in Finland hailed the local press. We had to point out to them it was the lads’ ‘first ever performance’ in Finland…"
September 10th, TRAVEL DAY
"Spent most of the day on a ferry. Meet two guys from England who are following the band on the whole of the European Tour… are you sure that rucksack’s big enough?"
September 11th, COPENHAGEN
"Backstage some of Scandinavia’s finest celebrities can be spotted, also Ace of Base are there. The band are invited to an Aqua after show party (they are playing in town tonight) but are thankfully saved from that ordeal by the fact that Mr. Tim Simenon is doing a guest DJ appearance at a club that evening."
September 12th, GOTHENBURG
"“The best ever Depeche Mode show I’ve seen. Lights, sound, band performance, and crowd reaction. Outstanding! It all came together tonight.” Not my words, but Mr. Andy Franks, who’s seen a couple of shows in his time. “Guitar changes and tuning done at the optimum efficiency, showing true professionalism”… oh alright they’re my words!"
September 13th, STOCKHOLM
"The giant white ball (surprisingly) on the outskirts of the city plays host to us tonight. This impressive building is packed as another sell out show gets underway. Unfortunately the cold that has been going through the touring party finally claims Dave. Twenty years in the business, a small cold isn’t going to stop him and he battles on through the set. Mr. Anton Corbijn makes an appearance to take some live shots. I’m sure he’ll turn up again though… he needs the practice so he can get a couple in focus at least."
September 15th, PRAGUE
"A mass crowd, shoe-horned into the hall are rowdy from the off. A good noisy gig, which was enjoyed by the entire band. I even noticed a few people from Poland, maybe not a shock to you… so okay they were smiling!!"
September 16th, VIENNA
"Trouble for the trucks at the border, which means they don’t arrive in Vienna until midday, but a good team effort makes everything ready to go by the time the doors are opened. This is Christian’s hometown gig. Mr. & Mrs. Eigner and young Eigner’s friends look very happy with son / chum’s new band performance. The unveiling of his city centre statue is expected soon. During the show “Projectorhead”, the video operator, is standing by to get European football scores from his girlfriend via mobile phone. Martin is all grins as the Gunners take the lead against Lens and we are all cheering by the time Man Utd squander a two goal lead to be drawn level by Barcelona."
September 18-19th, BERLIN
"This venue is an outdoor amphitheatre built to accommodate around 12,000 fanatics of a certain Mr. Hitler. That’s the Nazi dictator, not the lesser known trombone player who was around the same time and whose career was blighted by his namesake (difficult getting bookings for a world tour). We played here on the last tour. It rained throughout the gig and the stage had to be mopped after each song. We gave the good Lord a two day opportunity to drench us this time, thankfully he didn’t pick up on the option. It’s an impressive sight looking out from stage on a wall of people as they rise up away from you. “Never Let Me Down Again” had the obligatory arm waving, which got a few of us crew grabbing for our cameras."
September 20th, ERFURT
"This large, faceless, hangar like building looks as if it might be more at home housing the German Sausage Convention than a rock show. Today is Sunday and the wonders of satellite TV and our excellent tour caterers mean it is like a home from home. After Yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings, we huddle into the back lounge of the bus to watch Arsenal beat Man Utd 3-0. Martin left grinning again by his team and a little bit of England is created in a German car park."
September 22nd, BRUSSELS
"I’ll remember this show for a great version of “Personal Jesus” and a nice touch by the Belgian crowd. Lots of white balloons thrown around before the encores."
September 25th, ZURICH
"The band are halfway through “It’s No Good” and all is not well. Dave’s voice is beginning to crack. Hot honey and lemon is run out to him between songs until he gets a break when Martin takes over to sing a few numbers. Reminiscent of a boxing match Dave staggers to his corner to be patched up. Several lozenges and soothing brews and embrocations later he returns to courageously finish the set."
September 26th, BOLOGNA
"Dave appears to be on the road to recovery. As the set progresses and as his voice doesn’t suffer, the band become more relaxed and the first show in Italy turns out to be a cracker."
September 27th, MILAN
"Our short but sweet visit to Italy ends here in Milan. Martin has his wife and daughters out for the show. His eldest happily tickles the ivories during soundcheck and having heard Fletch’s son sing a rousing version of “Postman Pat” in rehearsals the Depeche Mode legacy seems likely to live on. After the show the band, in true rock fashion, leave to a waiting plane to return to Britain."
September 29-30th, LONDON
"The band’s homecoming, a couple of sell out shows and a wide range of “stars” in the crowd. Top footballer Gary Lineker, Madness’ frontman Suggs and the highly acclaimed author of “A Brief History Of Time” Prof. Stephen Hawking and family, to name but a few! After the first show the band threw a party for close friends, crew and a few familiar faces that have worked for the band on previous tours. Entertainment was provided by ‘Peter and Lee’. A duo made up of Martin singing and Peter giving piano accompaniment. By the end of the evening several people were getting up and giving it their best and some their worse. An impromptu song and dance routine by Dave of “Singing In The Rain” earned a standing ovation."
October 2nd, MANCHESTER
"“Certain days in this job are like any other. We set the gear up, we took it all down and in between there was a good show. Apart from that there is nothing else really to write."
October 3rd, BIRMINGHAM
"Near the end of the show, Martin realises the zip on his trousers has been undone… the horror, the horror. Maybe we could start running a competition in the future: Name the show and song Martin had his flies undone, answers on a postcard please. Full marks to the person who was holding the flashing neon cross during “Personal Jesus”. Looked good."
October 5-6th. COLOGNE
"“Went to bed in Birmingham and woke up in Cologne”… I think a European blues singer once sang. Playing a new arena, which only opened recently. Last night “The Kelly Family” played – an Irish band that now live and play in Germany, who have become very popular. Nevertheless I despise them as much as UB40! Today MTV catch up with us, a company that is surely in danger of being sued if they fill any more air-time with lame game shows and moronic “real life” (I’ll be the judge of that!) programmes instead of MUSIC. Anyway MTV is filming one of the shows to air sometime in late November / early December… I think. Watch it to relive memories or to see what you’ve been missing."
October 7th, PARIS
"I awake to the sound of accordions and do what most French do in the morning – proceed to a street-side café to drink coffee and chomp on a few raw onions. The city is one of the most cultural in the world and we spend the day inside the venue – the show turns out to be another classic though."
October 11th, FRANKFURT
"While we’re away, we play table football – a very popular way to pass the hours before shows. The band decide to have a knockout competition. Contenders for the title are Christian (strong drummer’s wrists and a good shot from the back!) and past masters Fletch and Martin. Unfortunately for the lads, the script hadn’t been read by the French wardrobe girl Flo, who goes on to emulate her country’s performance in the World Cup and win."
October 13th, MUNICH
"The final date of our quite extensive coverage of Germany. As the Bavarian winter winds begin to blow, we board the bus for warmer climates and head south to Spain."
October 15-17th, ZARAGOZA, BARCELONA AND SAN SEBASTIAN
"Another table football competition won by Flo – we are still awaiting the results of her dope test! Spain give us enthusiastic crowds and welcome autumnal sunshine. So the European tour comes to an end, the Band fly to London straight after the San Sebastian show and we, the crew, awake bleary eyed at Bilbao airport the following morning and do the same. Here endeth my tour diary. All names mentioned have NOT been changed, so if they’ve done something wrong it’s their fault. Thank you very much."