Right now for Depeche Mode the number three is a lynchpin. The tour is their first for three years. Delta Machine is their 13th album in 33 years. And three original members, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher, have somehow clung on through the darker years and emerged on the other side.
The influence of Depeche Mode on music cannot be reduced to a countdown list – especially VH1’s that ranked them number 98 out of the 100 greatest musical acts of all time. More important are the numerous artists from around the world queuing up to cite them as an influence, not just on their music but also on their lives. Gary Numan recently told Mojo magazine that “I love Depeche Mode, always will.”
When Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke started playing music together in 1977, they were just a couple of schoolmates who had been caught up in the excitement of The Cure’s success. It wasn’t until 1980 and the addition of Martin Gore that the band became Depeche Mode. Even this line-up wasn’t to last following the departure of Clarke after only two years.
The band quickly gained a huge following in Europe, but it wasn’t until the release of Some Great Reward in 1984 that they started to gain popularity in America. Their fame peaked in 1993 when Songs of Faith and Devotion was released and reached number one in both the UK and the US. From hereon in, though, personal problems began to intervene in the group’s success.
In recent years the band have been dogged by their addiction to both drugs and alcohol, Gahan suffered a near-fatal heroin overdose in 1996, so for some fans it is surprising that they are even still touring. Delta Machine, released earlier this year, is arguably their worst album to date. This doesn’t mean that the music is bad, just not groundbreaking. The latest album hasn’t received the strongest reviews, but there is only so long that a band can go on pushing boundaries with every release. Put simply, this album is the same as their last three releases, so if you like Depeche Mode you will be happy, but don’t expect any surprises. Even with input from Swedish artist Chris Burg, who has previously worked with Fever Ray and the Knife, Delta Machine remains subdued.
That’s not to say the band is totally stuck in the past though. They have very active Twitter, Facebook and internet sites; although clearly not maintained by any of the band members, their social media is run like a well-oiled corporate machine. The tour so far has not been without its hiccups though; no amount of stardom can change the current situation in Turkey. The band released a statement on their website explaining that they had to cancel the show due to circumstances beyond their control: “The Bulgarian trucking blockade at the Bulgaria-Turkey border has prevented Depeche Mode’s production trucks from crossing the border into Turkey, forcing this situation.”
The band have promised to reschedule when they can, and they may well be true to their word. After the cancellation of the Peace & Love Festival in Stockholm due to poor ticket sales, the band scheduled a replacement show with a significant discount for original ticket holders. At least Depeche Mode knows how to treat their loyal fans after all these years, which stands them in good stead for their show at Parken.
Parken, Øster Allé 50, Cph Ø