I did and it was great watching them evolve throughout the 80s! I saw then on the "Violator" tour back in Nov 1990 at Wembley Arena! It was like the "101" concert with songs from the "Violator" album thrown in!As much as I still enjoy them, I actually wish I got to experience that imperial phase.
I´m totally with you! I even left the fan-ship (i mistyped it "fan-shop" at first) during the SoFaD era!I’m sorry to say this but I haven’t really been able to get into anything DM since Songs of .. And i was such a huge fan before. Every time a new album comes out I’m super excited but nothing has ever come close to their imperial phase in the 80s
funny that Black Celebration and Music for the Masses were also the first DM albums I didn’t buy on release day , although I did quite like them eventually. Violator was great but somehow didn’t feel like of its times.. although it has stood the test of time brilliantly, maybe more so than my favourite album A Broken FrameI´m totally with you! I even left the fan-ship (i mistyped it "fan-shop" at first) during the SoFaD era!
I was sort of a fan from the beginning. Saw them live at Zeche in Bochum in 82 where thy played to ca. 300 kids. The audience was half coiffed hair, pastel sweatshirts, white cotton belts with one end dangling down the side and half bemused regulars who didn´t know what was going on.
One year later my class-mates where buzzing: "I´m skipping sports this afternoon, the new Depeche Mode album is out today." Now they played Philipshalle in Düsseldorf where we were about 7.000 fans. The normies were gone, the hair was now spiked and black was the colour. It was my first "big" concert and it was amazing!
Next year they had two top ten hits and the show felt basically the same, except the audience being more aggressive and rude.
People Are People quickly got on my nerves and I felt slightly detached from the anything-but-subtle-poetry of Blasphemous Rumours. It was not blasphemy that irked me, it was the manipulative, wooden-hammer lyrics. I began to actually dislike Martin Gore!
I skipped the following tours and showed only interest in the singles at this point. Shockingly I didn´t buy Black Celebration, nor Music For The Masses on release. I had discovered Cocteau Twins by then and was quite busy with immersing myself in the 4AD catalogue.
When 101 rolled along during the early acid-house revolution and with it came re-hashed singles like Little 15 (no more "little girls" for me, please! And keep your piano plink-plonk off the b-sides!) I really felt they were done.
But then they managed to turn the ship around with Violator. The production of that album managed to be totally of its time, yet somehow removed from it. Sure, the Mode had always flirted with stomp-rock before (I never really loved Personal Jesus). But Violator elegantly merged all the DM-tropes they had forged during the previous nine years.
I mean: Imagine, this was their 7th album in 9 years! What a whirlwind of insane creativity!
I saw them again live playing a sold-out 20.000 arena and it was glorious. I remember people losing their shit to a DRUM-MACHINE-SOLO!!! A late triumph for synth-pop!
Sadly it was the last triumph of this kind as Dave began to believe he was Kurt Cobain (Cobain, Corbijn...what´s going on here!?!) from now on.
Seeing them play the same arena during the Devotion tour was such a depressing sludge.
I felt the same leaden disenchantment I had experienced with Simple Minds in this arena a few years earlier. When they morphed from golden Gods to sweaty, pompous Bono-clones before my disbelieving eyes.
After I was fully on board again with Violator and re-aquaniting myself with Black Celebration adn MftM I was now finding myself beached...never able to go back again.
I agree to an extend. "Sparke in the rain" would have been a different beast with a different producer back in late 1983 (Trevor Horn could have done a good job on it - and he did really like the band back then too!) - Some of the unproduced demos from the early sessions for the album sound amazing and ready build on the sound of "New Gold Dream", however Steve Lillywhite took them in a different direction...For me SM went over the edge with Sparkle In The Rain. While it still had some amazing moments, it all sounded leaden and earth-bound. Most of the translucent, shimmering, weightless qualities they had before had been thrown out the window.
It's probably the last Simple Minds album I like all the way through!Once upon a time is incredible!!!!
I did though I didn’t go full Stan until about ‘89 - was lucky enough to catch the World Violation tour which was close enough to ensure most of the big hits got an airing alongside all of Violators brilliance. With each tour post Ultra you get less ‘imperial’ and more ‘infill’ but they are still a terrific watchI've come to the conclusion that if I was a fan in the 80s (basically if I was alive) I'd most likely hold an attachment to that imperial phase, my favourite albums are the run from Black Celebration to Ultra, BUT, because I didn't experience those era's first hand, I don't have that attachment, but I can understand it must have been a great time to be a fan, and to see the quality in the song production lose that brilliance that Alan Wilder brought those songs disappointing.
I became a fan in 2006 when they released Best of Vol.1 and I really loved Playing the Angel, which was the latest album at the time, and I loved discovering their entire back catalogue single by single, album by album, also I loved the SOTU era as well because I got to see them live and enjoyed the album a lot more than I do now. As much as I still enjoy them, I actually wish I got to experience that imperial phase.