Sunday, May 22, 2011

Depeche Mode w/ Nitzer Ebb: June 29, 1990

This was the second time I saw Depeche Mode, at the same outdoor venue as the previous show in support of Music for the Masses. DM's momentum had been growing steadily for years, but after the 101 documentary and the huge Rose Bowl concert it showcased, things seemed to really be taking off. This time the band was supporting Violator -- that great big album with that great big "Personal Jesus" single. Nitzer Ebb, who had recently released their third album, Showtime, opened to an appreciative crowd.

I don't remember many details of this show. Dave Gahan demonstrated his usual whirling dervish dance moves. I think we might have been denied "People Are People" once again. I recall "Enjoy the Silence" being pretty great. Oddly, what I remember most is some tipsy boys flirting with us in the parking lot and throwing popcorn through our open car window.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Echo & the Bunnymen: January 29, 1988

Like the INXS show I recently posted about, this was another fairly intimate show at the University of Michigan's Hill Auditorium that I feel fortunate to have seen. This turned out to be the last tour by the classic lineup of Echo & the Bunnymen that included drummer Pete de Freitas, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1989. Having endured a number of personnel changes and a hiatus, the Bunnymen are active today, but only guitarist Will Sargeant and singer/guitarist Ian McCulloch remain of the '80s version of the group.

The opening act was the Leather Nun, whose affected abrasiveness provided a very odd counterpart to the Bunnymen's slightly psychedelic pop. The Bunnymen were in good form and played many of their singles, including "Lips Like Sugar" and "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo" from their then-recent eponymous album. I remember them really rocking "Do It Clean," from their debut, Crocodiles. I also remember a girl in front of us who danced in a crazed way during certain songs, then would basically collapse into her seat for awhile.

As we often did for shows at Hill Auditorium, my friend and I waited out back to sneak a peek at the band as they boarded their tour bus. I remember McCulloch looked really worn out and not particularly happy. And that was likely the case; he left the band later that year to launch a solo career.