As a result of birthday gift certificates, I’ve opted to procure Depeche Mode – 101 on DVD, for a meager sum from Amazon. It was, for most of my late teens, the best thing ever, closely followed by the VHS for Ministry’s In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up LIVE. I’m happy to report that now, more than twice the age of my initial viewing, 101 is still at least as good. It is, without question, the perfect encapsulation of what it was to be completely enamored with Depeche Mode in the late 80s.
We in middle-America (save Chicago and Detroit) had none of the distractions of acid house or techno, so we could religiously focus our devotion on the Essexians that most defined our musical growth (especially when Rick Dees was the most important DJ of my formative years). The Smiths, New Order, Erasure, The Pet Shop Boys, The Cure and more – all these guys were immense, but Depeche Mode, for a guy who grew up less than 20 miles from Pasadena, were always going to be the most important (they had 10,000 people turn up for a record signing, single-handedly causing a traffic jam).
People Are People was #1 locally! This music had its home. The Valley was it. That’s where I grew up. It left a lasting impression, despite my prematurity for it. To make a long story short, for us who were thusly defined, supplemented by120 minutes, Depeche Mode could not be more important, and this DVD captures it all at its peak. I’m actually glad this is recorded pre-Violator, as that would probably be too much for one DVD. And it keeps Violator on its own, as the best album ever, which it is without question.
Next up, the full Live at the Rose Bowl performance, which is disk 2. I can’t wait!