220. Depeche Mode – “101”

Back in 1989 a film was made of Depeche Mode’s US tour. I saw said flick and some time later acquired this double album which is, in effect, the soundtrack to the film.

The film had a curious “fish out of water” angle, as these poncey Brits with a predilection for bondage gear and a songlist high on sadomasochistic imagery, fill stadium after stadium across the very whitebread US. A small portion of their fans adopt the homo-goth uniform (and no doubt bear the brunt in their day-to-day lives). But most of the crowd look like the could just as easily be at a George Benson or James Taylor show (or perhaps even a Monster-truck meet).

But turning to the music, this is one of the better live albums I own. The production quality is astounding (I guess helped by the electronic nature of much of the material). The crowd are not typically intrusive. Indeed, the stadium setting is far from apparent on the record. I tend to imagine the recording as emanating from some cavernous, smoky, multi-levelled underground nightclub in Central Europe overrun with a crowd who look like extras from The Lostboys or Suburbia.

This albums also contains most of the band’s best tracks, such as these two (alas blemished by unnecessary crowd singalongs):

File under: A lesson in live recording

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