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LIVE - live albums / versions / performance


From: Niels Kolling
E-mail: nk@tdk.dk

From 1984 -1993, the only period that there weren't any sort of live releases was around 'Violator'. Was that because there were enough B-sides for the singles? And did you record the 'Violator' tour but just decided not to release any live material?

After '101', to have released another live record or even live B-sides would have been milking it too much. The '101' LP + film seemed to sum up DM live very well and we felt it was time to give the live tracks a rest. I can't remember whether we recorded any shows. We probably did.

From: Don
E-mail: NOVAD73@aol.com

Has there ever been a time that you or any other members of Depeche were so intoxicated (alcohol...whatever) that you weren't able to play?

Actually, as a band we were pretty conscientious. On the last two tours, Fletch and Mart used to have a few glasses of wine to relax but on the whole noone indulged in anything much pre-show. I don't really know about Dave's exact pre-show condition on the 'SOFAD' tour but he always seemed to me like he was going to be able to perform ok.

From: Thomas Schernikau
E-mail: schern@babel.de

Did you see the one-hour live special of DM's Singles Tour on MTV? Apart from the fact you could see that everybody seemed to have fun and Dave partly sang very well, I was disappointed by the dull sound compared to earlier years and the fact that they didn't manage to program / arrange 'new' versions of the songs - almost all of them were clones / copies of the great stuff you did for the 'World Violation' and 'Devotional' Tours. Do you agree or do you take it as a compliment that they did the same versions?

It's very difficult for me to comment as I haven't seen the show and I didn't see the MTV thing. The TV sound may be out of their control and, from what I can gather, it seems that they took a view to focus their live versions very much around the original singles. Make of that what you will.

From: Jam
E-mail: Jam007DM@aol.com

Was it fun revising songs like 'Fly On The Windscreen' and 'Everything Counts' for the 'Devotional' tour? You did a killer job! (I did think 'EC' was too short though)

It was fun. The motivation was that if I was going to play those older songs for 18 months on the road, then they had to be revitalised to make it an enjoyable task.

From: Thierry Couturier
E-mail: couturier@mail.creaweb.fr

During the 'SOFAD' tour, as most keyboard parts were played on your Akai Mx1000 (connected to different Akai samplers), what did you play on your Emax II?

Trainspotter corner (for those that want to skip) ;-)

You are about to tax my memory with all these questions but if I remember correctly, the Akai keyboard was used as a 'mother' keyboard because it had more keys on it's board than the Emax ( and I needed as many keys as I could get). It was still, however, triggering Emax sounds via midi. The Emax keyboard itself was for back-up only which, when needed, would still have been accessed through the mother keyboard. Confused? I think the Akai samplers were used for percussion triggered sounds only.

Who was involved in the making of the live song versions in 1993 (and previous tours)? What did you use for backing tapes in 1993 - multitrack analogue Tascam or Fostex, or Direct to Disc?

For the 'World Violation' tour, the tapes were prepared at Worldwide International (Mute's studio) mainly by myself, with Steve Lyon (engineer). For the 'Devotional tour', the tapes were prepared by myself with Steve at Olympic studios and completed at my own 'Thin Line' studio.

During my time with the group we always used tapes (they inevitably proved the most reliable) although we almost switched to a Roland hard disc system for the 'Devotional' tour (you can read more about that particular disaster by going to Report - editorial / November). We ended up running two Sony digital multitracks in sync (the second purely as back-up). I think we used two 16- track Tascams for 'World Violation', having progressed from 4 to 8 track during previous tours.

From: Imrich Vegh
E-mail : ivegh@mail.pvt.sk

Have you ever heard or played early DM tracks such as 'Tomorrow's Dance' and 'TV Set'?

I have had the dubious pleasure of actually performing 'TV Set' which was part of the Mode live set when I first joined the group. I'm also familiar with 'Tomorrow's Dance' although I've never played or heard an actual performance of the song. Dave's rendition / impersonation of the embryonic DM performances were enough to have left an indelible imprint on my musical memory.

From: Conor Toal
E-mail: conor@toalcp.freeserve.co.uk

When did the swinging of arms at the end of 'Never Let Me Down Again' start - was it at the Rosebowl or earlier on the 'Masses' tour? Did Dave initiate it or did the crowd spontaneously start to do it? Were DM surprised that it caught on with fans all over the world or did you expect it after seeing '101'?

I can't really remember when. I'm sure Dave encouraged it and I suppose it became something of a live trademark after the '101' film.

I noticed the other night that Dave has a teleprompter on this tour - is it harder to remember the words when you're sober?

Probably. Luckily, I've never had to do it so I don't really know.

Did Dave's shouts ever annoy you? i.e. you spend months putting together a fantastic, almost subliminal swell to bring the drums in and it's all obscured by some lout in a vest going "WAY-HAYEEEEEE".

They weren't the most subtle of guttural enhancements but perhaps they were apt for the occasion. It was the sheer volume that was the main problem. I shut them out with headphones on the last tour so it didn't bother me so much. My favourite of his was "Zaagaabooo!!!"

Where were the monitors on the 'Devotional ' tour? Was this in anyway connected to the round things (almost like manhole covers) that you can see in the overhead shots?

Yes, there was a series of concealed floor monitors at the front as well as two sets of side-fills with separate mixes. The front pair were primarily for Dave's preferred balance and the back pair for the musicians.

When DM played live were all the composite tracks mixed individually? If so did this not mean that the guy at the front of house desk was actually more important than any of you?

Each tape track, instrument and vocal had separate designated channels on the mixing desk for complete control although the tapes were balanced in such a way so that you could pretty much leave the faders set from song to song. Same thing applied to the internal balance of the keyboard sounds.

Did Dave get chewed out when he stage dived?

Chewed out? Is this a sexual thing? If so, not the most comfortable way to do it, I imagine.

From: Carsten Vogt
E-mail: cvogt@theorie.physik.uni-wuppertal.de

When DM were on tour, who chose the tapes that were played after the doors opened and before DM started their live show? I'm asking because I found most of the stuff pretty crap apart from the current tour where they play some Trip-Hop.

There was a selection of about 5 or 6 compilation tapes which were rotated from night to night. I made 2, Martin made a couple I think and the sound crew provided the others.

From: Phil Sharp
E-mail: PilafDM@aol.com

Were you more nervous when playing a TV gig? Dave sure seems to be.

Actually it is a bit nerve wracking. I can sympathise if Dave felt nervous - you're usually on a hiding to nothing. There's no vibe, the lights are too bright, the studio sound is nearly as bad as the sound that goes out over the air, there's no room for error and they usually edit you down or ham-fistedly fade you out.

From: Scott Coolidge
E-mail: Scott.Coolidge@ey.com

Are you yourself prohibited from performing DM tracks live? What if Dave stopped by your chateau one day and said: "Al, I'd like to record a few tracks with you, and while we're at it, let's perform a few gigs at the local clubs......" It's not that ridiculous a concept.

Mmmm....I shouldn't think it's that feasible either Scott. For a start, Dave couldn't possibly just swing by my house uninvited because I have a bloody great padlock round the gates at the entrance to my estate to keep the riff raff out. If he attempted to by-pass the main drive way, the security cameras would pick him up and either the man-traps or the doberman's would get him, or worse, my groundsman Ron would most likely shoot him (he doesn't like people trespassing - rock god or no rock god). Thirdly, judging by the 'young people' who hang around the shopping precinct in my local town, a slimmed down version of the Mode featuring just me and Dave wouldn't really go down that well. It would have to be slimmed down to nothing and replaced by 4 members who looked and sounded exactly like The Manic Street Preachers before they'd take any notice. Finally, I think that the mental strain of coming to the realisation, midway through 'Personal Jesus' , that both of us had once performed the song in front of 70,000 screaming fans in the Pasadena Rosebowl and were now standing before a gaggle of spotty teenagers in the Dog And Duck, would probably be too much to bear. Then again, it could be fun. We'll let you know if we have any plans and you can hand some flyers out for us.......

DAVE AND AL'S DM REVIVAL TOUR......with special guests:

The Sunday School Choir of St. Bartholemew's and 'Somebody's brother on Bontempi keyboard plays the tunes you love from 'Cats'

7:30 pm, Little Shiton-in-the-Mire Town Hall.
£3 adults / 50p concessions

From: Marcus
E-mail: ensoniq@cyberspace.se

Does the audience react and respond to the music exactly the same around the world, singing in the right places and so on?

There are small differences between countries but mostly they react in all the expected places.

How does it feel when thousands of people sing the final words to 'Everything Counts' or something, over and over again? Any special memories?

It's great of course. I think the fact that fans continue to enjoy 'Everything Counts', 15 years after its release, is testament to what a good song it is.

From: Jam
E-mail: Jam007DM@aol.com

If you were still with the band would you vote to play any of these songs again: 'People Are People', 'Master And Servant', 'Shake The Disease', 'Everything Counts', 'Route 66' / 'Behind The Wheel', 'Blasphemous Rumours', 'Black Celebration', 'Get The Balance Right', 'Love In itself', 'Leave In Silence' or ANY of Vince's songs?

I always thought 'Shake The Disease' was a good song but I never found it much fun to play, From your list, 'Black Celebration' would be a great track to play again, maybe updated a bit.

For the 'Devotional' tour version, where did you get that weird voice that says "let me take you on a trip" ?

The sound is achieved by using a Vocoder - a machine that allows you to manipulate your voice using both a mic signal and a keyboard at the same time. Think: 'Mr Blue Sky' by The Electric Light Orchestra.

From: Pips
E-mail: pips-env@wanadoo.fr

The intro for the 87-88 tour live version of 'Shake The Disease' was Martin's "oooh-hoooh". Without any other sound before his own line, what was his cue to start with the right note?

I can't remember exactly. We used to have various guide sounds in our monitors which came from tape but weren't audible to the audience.

From: Mark Reed
E-mail: mar@markgenius1.demon.co.uk

Why was 'SOFAD' (live) released? Why not a full 'Devotional' live album?

SOFAD (live) was released primarily as a marketing tool to sustain the life of the studio LP. In order for it to have the same catalogue number as the studio version, it needed to contain the same songs.

From: Niels Kolling
E-mail: nk@tdk.dk

I'm still a bit curious about how you produced the back-up tapes. Did you make them all over for each tour or could you pull specific sounds or the whole track from previous tours?

The earlier tours included some tracks that were recycled to some extent, butfor the last couple of tours ('Violator' and 'Devotional') they were re-worked from scratch.

From: Frank Showalter
E-mail: fshowalter@grci.com

It's 1995 and you're still with DM. You've just released the 'Singles 86-95' and are getting ready to gear up for a tour to promote the release (Yes, I know you wouldn't be touring so soon but for the sake of the question). You've got to pick 15 songs for the set list, which would you pick?

It's not something I can just reel off that quickly - I'd need to consider many different factors and it's something that takes time to get right. However, there would be no 'Just Can't Get Enough' of course and I would probably vote for including some non-singles as well.

From: Alessandro Gamba
E-mail: nxgam@tin.it

I always appreciated your attempt to play as many synth parts as possible to make the machines effectively work on stage. Was it more fun than difficult?

For me, I can't stand being on stage with nothing to do. I would feel uncomfortable, so I always gave myself plenty of parts to play. I liked the challenge of having to remember lots of things.

From: Stéphane Devillers
E-mail: tonino.giuntia@cfwb.be

When DM was planning to go on tour, where did you have your rehearsal sessions? Does Mute have a rehearsal place in London? And how were these sessions?

We rehearsed at Nomis studios in Shepherds Bush, London. Mute doesn't have it's own rehearsal space. Much like any other band, we would convene for about 2-3 weeks before going off for maybe a week of full production rehearsals in a proper venue.

During the 'Some Great Reward' tour, you had a hitting pad which had the word 'Pus' written on it. What's the message behind this?

Ha! No idea. I do remember it though. Probably something to do with Daryl Bamonte.

From: Loongullo Sergei
E-mail; loosergey@mtu-net.ru

As far as I know, DM has performed 'Something To Do' once during the 'Devotional' tour (in Brussels). Why did you decide to play this song? Had it been planned during the set-list compilation before the tour and why didn't you perform it on the next gigs of the tour?

If I remember correctly, one or two extra tracks were prepared and rehearsed for the tour but when we tried them out, they either weren't much fun to play or they didn't go down well so they were dropped.

view part 4

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