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REALITY CHECK

DEPECHE MODE: 101 WAS THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR FILM THAT BROKE THE MOULD FOR MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES. CLASSIC POP MEETS THE TWO STILL-PROUD FILM-MAKERS, DA PENNEBAKER AND CHRIS HEGEDUS…

In 1989, Depeche Mode released a film that captured their leap into the stadium league. While support for the band had been building across the decade – and they’d been reliable chart regulars in Europe since 1981 – the Music For The Masses Tour represented a defined step forward and, significantly, the crowning of the group as the biggest cult band in the USA, the world’s largest music market.

Documentary film-makers Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker were approached to capture the moment on camera and join the four-piece for the final leg of the tour, culminating in the 101st show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on 18 June 1988. Depeche Mode: 101, released on video the following March, proved a critical smash – and more. For while the pair, working with their son Frazer as producer and co-director David Dawkins on additional camera, were reliable choices – DA had created Bob Dylan’s legendary Don’t Look Back, after all – no one was expecting them to come up with a new TV format in the process… How did the commission to work with Depeche Mode come about?

CH Bruce Kirkland [who represented DM in the USA] called us up and asked us if we were interested in making the film. I think all of us said “Depeche who?” I had just had a baby, but DA flew out without me to Portland, Oregon [May 1988] to see them in concert and we decided to do it… while we were still trying to decide on a concept for the film!

DA I thought they were an interesting band. When I went to the concert, most of the crowd didn’t look like they went to other shows. It was like they had their own special audience.

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About Classic Pop Presents

In our latest special edition 132-page magazine we explore the world of synth-pop pioneers Depeche Mode. We follow the band’s epic story – decade-by-decade – from their genesis in Basildon as synth-loving adolescents with Vince Clarke at the helm, through to the present day as a globally famous three-piece with over 100 million record sales under their belts. Classic Pop Presents turn the spotlight onto classic albums from every era of the group’s evolution including Speak & Spell, Black Celebration, Violator, Songs Of Faith And Devotion, Exciter and latest LP Spirit – plus, we go behind the scenes via exclusive interviews with Depeche’s Martin Gore and Dave Gahan, as well as producers Tim Simenon, Ben Hillier and James Ford. We also sit down with the two directors of pioneering tour film 101 to hear how they captured the reality of ‘Mode on the road’. Also inside, we deliver our definitive Top 40 Depeche Mode playlist as well as highlighting some lesser-spun gems; we survey the band’s videography and revisit their mammoth global tours through the years. Add to that our in-depth feature on Depeche’s many collaborators, our investigation into collectable vinyl from their back catalogue and much more besides – it’s an unmissable issue!