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LIVE - live albums / versions / performance


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

Who was the main creative impetus behind the reworked 'I Want You Now' on the '94 tour?

It was recorded in a Milan studio during a 3 week session in January '94, just before the start of the R.O.W. leg of the 'Devotional' tour. The only people present were myself, Steve Lyon and Daryl Bamonte. This is also where the techno 'Rush' introduction and various other bits and pieces were done. The remaining members of the band didn't hear 'I Want You Now' or any of the other music until it was played on stage. You should be able to glean the answer from that.......

Who mixed the Crystal Palace '93 broadcast? What did you think of the broadcasted show?

Can't remember.

Has anybody told you that during the 1998 DM tour, the band used projections of old videos with you all over them? It was certainly strange seeing your face on a massive video screen and yet being absent from the stage.

Yes, I know about this. I wasn't consulted about whether I wanted my image to be associated with a tour I wasn't involved in.

From: David Varga
E-mail: dv@Illusionfusion.com

Is there any truth to a claim that while performing 'One Caress', three of you played acoustic strings on stage?

Of course. I was on the Hungarian Zither, Dave played harp and Fletch stole the show on mandolin.

From: Alison Frasca
E-mail: ali-mail@excite.com

I noticed in the archives that you mention how loud it is on stage during concerts. After playing live for so many years do you have any residual hearing problems?

About quarter past four.

From: Sergio Bayarri Gausi
E-mail: euimail@aiind.upv.es

After buying and listening to 'SOFAD Live' a lot of times, I still don't understand why you didn't do it better - as the main producer for this album, you're responsible for it, aren't you? Putting the songs in the same order as in the studio album totally kills the 'live' feeling and I can't understand why you used the 'One Caress' version with sampled strings instead of the ones with a *real* string orchestra. I also don't understand why you kept this album to 52:54 - that leaves more than 20 minutes which you could have filled with 'bonus' tracks. I think that a double CD with a full concert or a mix of various cities, like '101' would have been a hit!

The 'SOFAD live' CD with it's particular running order was a marketing tool instigated by the record company as a deliberate (some might say cynical) attempt to prolong sales of the studio album of the same name. Having the identical running order meant that it could be given the same catalogue number - hence the elongated chart position. I also think that the general consensus was that it was too soon after '101' to do another similar live album and anyway, we were putting together a 'Devotional' video that would give an even greater feeling of a live DM show. As for the choice of performances; there are many considerations as to what can be used, the most obvious being the best vocal performance. We couldn't find a decent version of 'One Caress' using the various 'real' string quartets which accounts for the sampled one. Most of the hired musicians played astonishingly poorly.

From: Martin Birke
E-mail: casualtypark@netscape.net

Out of all your years touring with DM, do you ever recall a time when you where just sick or monstrously tired during a performance - I mean wanting to puke between songs or letting the sequence go on without you while you sneak off stage? I once did a gig in a women's prison in Stockton, CA. and I was sick-as-a-dog. Got it on tape too!

Anyone for front row tickets to the next Sandbox Trio extravaganza? ;-)

From: Misha Smiet
E-mail: mishaof9@iae.nl

6 years ago on your birthday, you and DM performed at the 'Ahoy' in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. We all (the crowd) sang Happy Birthday to you and it seemed to make you a little uncomfortable. If you can even remember this, didn't it make you feel good having thousands of people singing this to you? Or would you rather have been somewhere else at the time?

It was very touching :-)

From: Daniel 'The BRAT' Barassi
E-mail: bratprod@pacbell.net


From: Peter Philipsen
E-mail: philipsen@mnw.dk

I have a soundboard recording from the USA '94 show in San Francisco. I always thought this was done without the bands knowledge/approval but when samples from the recording turned up in that god-awful new remix of 'World In My Eyes' (found on the XLCD of 'Only When I Lose Myself'), I realised that the band must have known about it. Did/do Depeche Mode record several shows of each tour in this manner, and if so, for what purpose?

Sound recordings direct from the front of house mixing desk were only ever made for personal reference reasons. I knew nothing about the above remix until I received a finished CD with it included. As you can imagine I was far from pleased.

BRAT Explanation:

The soundboard is definitely a bootleg (rumour is that someone knew one of the tour personnel and got a DAT clone). The remix you refer to (the absolutely HORRID "Safar Mix") was originally a bootleg 12" remix single.

I went to Reprise to present my proposal for a special 3rd CD to the upcoming (then) 'Singles 86>98' compilation. Craig Kostich (Product Manager at Reprise), later in the process of pressing up the bonus disc, took out 9 of the rarer tracks I wanted to see included on the Reprise release, and replaced them all with the piss-poor Safar Mix of 'World In My Eyes'. Craig is friends with the guy (Safar) therefore, you have him to blame for the track getting released.

Hope I didn't bore anyone!

Not at all Brat. Thanks for clearing it up.

From: Bruno Ouvrein
E-mail: bo101@club-internet.fr

As you may know, during 'The Singles Tour', projections of Dave, Martin & Fletch disguised as their "idols" were shown during 'Walking In My Shoes'. I was just wondering how we could have seen you if you were still in the band?

Probably Ziggy Stardust.

From: Andrew D. Neary
E-mail: andrew@planetearth.prestel.co.uk

Did Depeche Mode ever toy with the idea of, or were you ever asked to play any of the UK Music festivals? Would you consider it now or is it not your cup of tea?

Mmmmm festivals. I don't think so. I prefer an indoor toilet personally, not a hole in the ground. Being backstage is no different you know, except they provide the toilet paper and you're less likely to pay 15 quid for a laxative.......

From: Behnoosh Khalili
E-mail: bkhalili@backstage.com

If we were to place a small inconspicuous microphone on you while you were at the drum kit during the 'Devotional' tour, what would we hear besides the obligatory grunts and shrieks of intense concentration?





From: Robert Rohm
E-mail: Robert_Rohm@kingston.com

Over the weekend I attended the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas which DM played. During the encore, Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins joined the band for 'Never Let Me Down Again'. I was wondering if, during your tenure with the band, any other notable musicians ever joined the band on stage?

Not really. Primal Scream (apparently) stumbled onto the stage at the end of the 'SOFAD' tour but none of the respective band members actually remember anything about it. Apart from that, I can't think of another occasion (although I can't believe there aren't any).

From: Michael M. Ubaldi
E-mail: mmubaldi@mailbox.syr.edu

About 'SOFAD' live, I find the songs' endings much more gratifying than the L.P. versions (for example, 'Walking In My Shoes' with the nice Portishead-tremolo-orchestra-sample or 'In Your Room's grand finale). What was the impetus to simply fade nearly every song out on the studio album? Was it a lack of time or perhaps an aesthetic?

The live endings would have sounded a little bombastic on the record I think. Also, you can get away with a lot more within the live context. The fade out isn't the most inspired way to end a song I agree, although it does have a way of leaving you with the feeling that the track hasn't really ended at all but just put itself on hold until the next listen. Also, sometimes you just run out of energy at the end of a mix. Intros and endings can be the very last, and most difficult thing to come up with.

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

When preparing for a tour did you, Martin and Andy get to pick where you'd be on the stage (or at least which side)?

Being short with a bizarre appearance, Martin always seemed to look better in the middle. I always chose the position nearest the monitor desk for communication with the sound engineer.

From: Alexi Barra
E-mail: alexibarra@depechemode.com

What was the most difficult DM song or synth part to play and what was the most enjoyable to play live?

The most difficult were the tracks I was drumming on but if we're talking keyboards, then probably 'Walking'. None of the individual parts were tough but I had many different bits to play in quick succession that occasionally led to having to cross hands to play a part (with my left hand) at the top of the keyboard, whilst also playing a part with my right hand as well as changing a preset with a foot pedal.

From: Heiko Brune
E-mail: heiko.brune@t-online.de

I noticed that the live versions of both 'I Feel You' and 'Condemnation' are half a note lower than the studio originals. Did you send the whole songs through a pitching module or did you pitch every single sample for itself?

Well spotted. They were pitched down to help Dave sing them live. The only way to do this successfully was to adjust each sound individually. The tempo remained the same so any non-musical part didn't need to be changed.

As the 'Amyl Nitrate Mix' of 'Rush' is faster than the album version, how did you adapt its speed when using parts of it for the '94 live intro.?

There are various methods for adjusting tempo without adjusting pitch. Most samplers have a 'time stretch' facility or an eventide harmonizer will also do the job. How successful the end result sounds depends on the nature of the original sound and also how far you are stretching it.

When Martin played his live guitar solos during 'Walking' and 'I Feel You', where did the second guitar come from? Backing tape or keyboard?

For 'Walking', the double track guitar sound was played on a keyboard - it had been originally processed through a synth for the original recording anyway so perhaps that was appropriate. The second guitar on 'I Feel You' came from tape.

Why did Martin only play a guitar-ish keyboard sound during the live version of 'Rush' rather than real guitar?

The sound was always a sample of a guitar, even on the studio version.

From: Jammy (gone all soft and soppy)
E-mail: Jam007DM@aol.com

Back in '90, Depeche played 'Behind The Wheel' and 'Route 66' during the 'Violation' tour. Are they considered one song or two songs? Most bootlegs have them labelled as 2.

I'd consider them as two separate songs although we did play them (in true cabaret style) as a medley.

From: bank666
E-mail: bank666@webtv.net

My favourite part of 'Strangelove' had always been the layered piano sound for the main riff......until I saw and heard the '101' live version. Why did this part end up sounding so wimpy live when you played it?

Just sheer incompetence.

From: Farhan
E-mail: f-kazmi@uiuc.edu

Did DM record all their live shows and then listen to them afterwards for improvement matters?

I used to get our sound engineer to record tapes (directly from the mixing board) of rehearsals and the first few shows of a tour. These don't always give you an accurate balance but are good for checking performance etc. Apart from that, we only recorded certain shows (using a mobile) if we were intending a live LP or something.

Where did the backing tapes go after the tour, in Daniel Millers office? The reason I ask is because it seems like DM now is just re-using the old 'SOFAD' tapes.....sad....

They would have been stored in a lock-up along with all DM's equipment. I'm fairly sure they're not being used on the current tour.

From: Sylvain Chatard
E-mail: sylvain.chatard@wanadoo.fr

In 1994, during the American leg of the 'Devotional' tour, DM played a totally incredible version of 'I want You Now'. The first time I heard it, I have to admit that tears came to my eyes, something that never happened with the album version. It seems that you put in some samples from 'Walking In My Shoes' (guitar solo), which was an excellent choice. How did this idea come about? Did you try several samples from other DM songs until it sounded good?

I probably tried one or two other things as well - I can't really remember. The sound for 'Walking' was originally played on the guitar using an Ebo (a device which you hold against the strings to create sustain). The signal was then split, with one half fed through various filters on Flood's Arp which was also distorted. The programming for the live version of 'I Want You Now' was done quite quickly in Milan during a break in the tour. I just tried sampling the Ebo guitar sound which proved particularly good for manipulating into something else due to the smooth pitch bend within the original performance.

From: Stephen Riley
E-mail: Steve_time@email.msn.com

Did Fletch actually play keyboards when on tour? The reason I ask is that he always seemed to have in hands in the air at some live shows.

"You put your left arm in, your left arm out, in out, in out, you shake it all about"

From: Student
E-mail: unknown@ucd.ie

Whose idea was it to drag the old Vince Clarke number 'Boys Say Go' out of the closet for the 'Black Celebration' tour?

I don't even remember playing it, let alone deciding to.

Which DM concert intro over the years do you like the best?

Probably the swampy Eno 'I Feel You' / 'Higher Love' hybrid from 'Devotional'.

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