Rose Bowl 20th Anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary Rose Bowl gig in Pasadena, CA. As we all reflect on this monumental Depeche Mode landmark, let’s also look forward to a bright future!

As I sit here and write down my thoughts on this milestone in DM history I find myself conflicted between the sappy notion of their uphill battle for respect to the idea that they are still around, relevant, and in the studio recording a new record now.

If you look at their career up to the point of the Rose Bowl gig you’ll see that they released and toured 5 albums, released 20+ singles, and were considered one of, if not, the most influential bands of the budding alternative music movement. And that was just between 1981 and 1988, which is amazing for any band, but especially a band who were never really understood…. and who would go on to play 101 gigs this tour and end the tour by selling out the Rose Bowl! Amazing.


I could go on and on about this, but, in all honesty, I am not the best writer and won’t bore you with my ramblings. As we fans celebrate this moment, let’s not forget about how far the band has gone from that point, where they are now, and how they continue to progress and challenge what is Depeche Mode as they move into the future.

As we all cringe when people refer to DM as an 80’s band, let’s look back at that era and really appreciate not only this show, but also the impact they created that really made them stand out from the rest. Of course they would go on to become even more massive and make amazing records through the 90’s and 2000’s, but it was that 80’s foundation they built with hard work, talent, and some luck that got them to be one of the most innovative, influential and beloved bands of all time.

As the Rose Bowl gig would go on to be a key moment in launching our obsession with the masses and they would even go on to sell out even larger shows, they’ll still always feel like our little secret that we choose to share with the world from time to time.

For a great walk down memory lane, be sure to head over to the official site to check out the great presentation that has been put together for the fans. Lots of great stuff from the archive to revisit the day.





  • G


    i wish Gahan would remember and watch 101 and sing like he used to instead of growling and snarling all over the stage like a combination of james brown/jagger and elvis

  • R!tA


    Congratulation..!!i'm sorry to not have lived that show..but only from the music video and the film "101"'s like to be there...not only today..but everyday..!!!..thanks DM..truly made "music for the masses!"

  • Wayne


    'i wish Gahan would remember and watch 101 and sing like he used to instead of growling and snarling all over the stage like a combination of james brown/jagger and elvis' Be stuck in a time warp you mean and not evolve as a singer/performer? The way he used to sing in the 80s especially, with that deadpan voice suited the band at the time. However, musically, Depeche are very different to those days. We should also remember that 101 was heavily dubbed.

  • Vikki


    In honor of the 20th anniversary, I'm driving out to the Rose Bowl tonight, parking as close as I can get to it and blasting from my car the full concert (101) from start to finish. Think I'll be the only one there paying homage?

  • justthefacts


    um, they did NOT "sell out the Rose Bowl"

  • Vanessa


    Milwaukee, WI will be paying homage as well!!!

  • Whocares


    i wish Gahan would remember and watch 101 and sing like he used to instead of growling and snarling all over the stage like a combination of james brown/jagger and elvis Third time lucky ? I just hope our fellow DM fans in America realise just how lucky they are ;-) Mind you we've had our moments in the U.K :-) But to all those who were there, well I can't even imagine what it must have been like. Long live 101 ;-)

  • Andy


    To me it was a turning point in my life when I realised what I wanted to be. I wasn't there unfortunately but made a pilgrimage there on my first visit to LA to pay homage. I just cant believe its 20 years... seems like last week :D Time to do it again boys? I know I would definately be in attendance!

  • Jogo Mez


    Although the Rose Bowl has 93,000 + seats and even more back in 1988, based on the ticket manifest for this sort of event, it was indeed a sell-out. The seats behind the stage cannot really be sold and the sound or mixing equipment on the other side of the stage eliminates even more seats.

  • John K


    As someone who was there 20 years ago it seems like yesterday. I've been a DM fan for 25 years so when I saw them at the Rose Bowl it was not the first time seeing them live. But out of all the shows I've seen it truly was their most memorable. From the opening bands like OMD, Thomas Dolby and Wire to the crazy food fight that ensued, it was a concert like no other. I think the highlight for me was when they performed Blasphemous Rumours. It started to thunder and it seemed like god himself was reacting to the song. I'll never forget that! It's funny - 20 years later I actually work here in Pasadena and I drive by the Rose Bowl everday on my way to work. As I was driving in this morning I was listening to 101. Long live DM!!

  • G


    response to wayne: evolving as a singer/performer is what he did with devotional. He had an edgy rock voice but still sang the songs with class. Compare I Feel You sang on devotional live to playing the angel live. PTA is a shocking vocal performance. Is he elvis or james brown? I love Gahan but he has almost become cabaret with his cheesy lets give it up for andy fletch fletcher and so on.

  • Wayne


    But Dave at many shows on the Devotional tour sounded a hell of a mess by either forgetting words, not singing words...... I Feel You is a crap song anyway, so I am not really the best person to comment on that one, although in that particular instance, I do actually agree with you. But to go the other way, compare the awful version of A Question Of Time from 1994 (musically and vocally) to either the Singles tour version which was more a nod to the original, or the 05/06 version which sounded amazing. Maybe we can agree that there are pros and cons. The bit you mention about Fletch, well, he did the same thing for Alan Wilder in 1990 and he's being doing it for Martin for a few tours too.

  • dave


    It's such a shame that only dm fans know what an historic event it was.Only this week I have been reading all about cold play,who are a very good band ,and how they are only one of a select few bands from England to brake the U.S. market,was there any mention about dm? No, just the spice girls,kim wild,david bowie,how craig david tried and failed how robbi williams nearly did it.But no mention about dm playing the rose ball or sold out dodgers stadium 2 nights on a row or new york yankes stadium.Just a small bit of recogition would be nice .

  • Djzn


    I think 101 was way too planned for recording. Almost the entire album is a playback, and it is really boring. Live performances like Hammersmith '82 and "the Ultra parties" are much stronger with or without additional musicians. Touring the Angel the songs sound so floppy, half of it being playback, somethings you cannot even hear right because of the playback. I think DM is not a very good live band.

  • Eternal Darkness


    Depecheee mooode! Depecheee mooode! Depecheee mooode!

  • justthefacts


    "Although the Rose Bowl has 93,000 + seats and even more back in 1988, based on the ticket manifest for this sort of event, it was indeed a sell-out" I wonder why they had to move the stage forward then, so that the place didn't look as empty, AS STATED IN THE FILM DM are (or at least were) good enough that fans don't have to make up shit or attempt to re-write history, OK? They made "a ton of money" at the gig, lots of fans enjoyed the show, but it was NOT "sold-out"

  • jam007


    I just turned 7 years old when my sister and her friend took me and I'll never ever forget this show. The food fight was amazing. hahaha.

  • Alex


    "I wonder why they had to move the stage forward then, so that the place didn’t look as empty, AS STATED IN THE FILM" This was for another gig. Yes their manager was saying this on his cell while on the plane, but that was about a gig in one of those small 'route 66' towns, Nashville maybe, or the like, where they weren't really known well.

  • Toshi


    At that time, I had ben listening to the boys for almost 10 years, and seen them grow from a school band to a pop band. 101 was like leaving the nest and learning to fly. In many ways it was an end for those faithful that were there in the beginning, and a new beginning of something so much bigger. Wow, I can't believe it's been that long. Hi Mart. Alles Gute, Junge.

  • Wayne


    It might have been Philadelphia Alex.

  • Phil


    I think from the comments we can see that since the rose bowl the die hard fans are not as vocal as the riff raff flamers who are never happy. I will be watching 101 today to celebrate the greatest band on earth and one of their greatest moments.

  • Jeff s


    i was seventeen at the time when i saw dm for the first time on the music for the masses tour at Whitley Bay ice rink in the UK --- that was a lasting impression that has stuck with me for life --- long live the mode.

  • TDO


    I just thought I'd chime in on this subject, as I was in the front row at the Rose Bowl, and can be seen with my friend and girlfriend at the time inside the cover of the album and DVD...we are the ones holding the drawing of DM (my friend drew that). Anyway, I am still a huge fan and will always be...Happy 20th...I'll never forget it.

  • david gone


    wow, what i'm reading is amazing. some people really need to do more with themselves other than debate whether or not the Rose Bowl was sold out. Regardless, without question, it was a turning point for the band. For the good? That's another discussion. :-)

  • Mute013


    Although I live in the UK, I did pay a visit to the Rose Bowl in May 1994, just to see where it all happened. I saw at the beginning of the tour in UK, but I just needed to see where it ended. Was it a sell out? Yes and No. The stage was placed so that 75,000 tickets could be sold 60,000+ tickets were paid for and a good few thousand where given away as prices and to press, industry people etc. So it was at capacity! As close to sold out as you can get.

  • Ghandi


    I think some certain people are criticizing Dave's vocals and the Rose Bowl gig just for the sake of doing so. The fact that makes Rose Bowl so memorable is not wether it was sold out or not. It is the monumental ending to the tour of a beatiful album. The dedication and the devotion that is portrayed by the fans made Rose Bowl what it was. The fact that fans clung on to their memories of the Rose Bowl event for so many years and showed their appreciation for the music that reached to the hearts of the masses in 1994, is just another manifestation of a close and sincere relationship between DM and its fans. It is founded on the principles of acceptance of Depeche in all of its greatnesses they conspicously have and flaws they may have. That is the essence of the Rose Bowl. And yes, it was big. Everything counts in large amounts.

  • Gary


    Having been a dm fan for 27 years and been over 20 gigs I would say dave's vocal ability can waver and was at its deepest and worse on the singles/exciter tours but was pretty much back to its best on touring the angel judging by the three gigs i went to and the live here now cds

  • Wayne


    'I think some certain people are criticizing Dave’s vocals and the Rose Bowl gig just for the sake of doing so' For most of us, the simple fact is, that for the Rose Bowl gig, we weren't there. Most people only go on what they see on the film or hear on the album (the latter not really being a great thing to judge the gig on imo), but I am sure that views would differ greatly if they were there. The most atmospheric DM gig I have been at was Zeebrugge in 93, yet if you listen to or watch recordings from that show, you'd think it was absolutely dreadful, but there were so many other factors involved, the music and the band on stage was just part of it.

  • james


    yup depeche mode should deserve better honor. i'm from the philippines and only DM rock my world




  • Sabine


    To Wayne: I just read the posts today .. I was in Zeebrugge 93 concert .. Having been to many of DM concert before and after 93..I do agree with you about the special atmosphere of that RAINY concert !

  • doalds


    I was there at it was full except the seats behind the stage.

  • Michael Schirmer


    was at the Rose Bowl in 88 and it was by far one of the best live experiences I've had in my life. i go to to a lot of show and the Rose Bowl was one of the "perfect storm" shows where everything happened so amazingly perfect that it became a spiritual experience. When the rain came during "Blasphemous Rumors" I was going NUTS. So, so good. I was 18 years old and now at 38 I am still buying their records and seeing their live shows. They are still a vital part of todays pop history....

  • Debi


    I was there. My first big concert and I can remember it well. It was beyond words. I do miss Alan though. And can't wait to see them tomorrow and Monday at the Hollywood Bowl!

  • Tuffyturf


    I was there, the concert was opened by Wire, then Thomas Dolby came on and then The Cure rocked it! Then DP played, and it rained, people say it does not rain in S. Calif..but it did that day! It was so epic, I was only 18 and I met the love of my life at that concert. People took all the TP rolls out of the bathrooms and lit them afire, and threw them toward the stage..nothing malicious, just an alongated stream of fire..That was the best concert I have ever been to. Hope to do it again someday.. Now I am 40 and my love is gone..but DP is still playing, so there is still hope