Depeche Mode returning to Prague in 2023 for their biggest show

The electronic band, now a duo, will be at Letiště Letňany as part of their just-announced Memento Mori tour.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 06.10.2022 10:43:00 (updated on 06.10.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Electronic music band Depeche Mode will come to Prague as part of their just-announced world tour. They will be at Letiště Letňany on July 30 to support their upcoming album, “Memento Mori,” due out in Spring 2023. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Oct. 10.

Previous shows in Prague have filled the capacity of its stadiums, but the outdoor show will allow for larger crowds. This past summer, for example, some concerts drew over 50,000 people to Letiště Letňany, not counting those who listened from outside the gates.

The band now consists of vocalist Dave Gahan and keyboard player Martin Gore. Founding member Andy Fletcher passed away earlier this year. There are also touring members who are not officially part of the group.

Gahan commented on the upcoming album, the band’s 15th studio album and the first since “Spirit” in 2017. “We started work on this project early in the pandemic, and its themes were directly inspired by that time. After Fletch’s passing, we decided to continue as we’re sure this is what he would have wanted, and that has really given the project an extra level of meaning.” Gahan said.

“Fletch would have loved this album. We’re really looking forward to sharing it with you soon, and we can’t wait to present it to you live at the shows next year,” he said.

The Memento Mori tour will be Depeche Mode’s 19th tour and their first in over five years. The band’s most recent outing, the 2017-18 Global Spirit Tour was its longest to date with the band playing to over 3 million fans over the course of 130 shows across Europe and North America.

They came to Prague twice in during that tour, playing Eden Arena in May 2017 and O2 Arena in January 2018. Both shows featured a mix of then-new material such as "Where's the Revolution" plus hits like "Personal Jesus," "Never Let Me Down Again," and "Walking In My Shoes." The band so far has played a total of 11 concerts in Prague.

Depeche Mode has strong connections to Prague and a fan base that goes back to the 1980s. The band played at Sportovní hala ČSTV (now called Sportovní hala Fortuna) in Výstaviště in Prague 7 on March 11, 1988, over a year before the Velvet Revolution.

Originally, Chris Norman of the band Smokie was supposed to come, but he fell ill and had to cancel. Norman’s management offered Depeche Mode to state-run concert company Pragokoncert as a replacement.

They likely did not know much about Depeche Mode, as the music wasn’t widely available through official means – though two albums had been available as imports at the Polish Information Cultural Center.

Fans, tough, new then from the active bootleg music scene and from underground clubs. There was even a slang word for Depeche Mode fans who wore black clothes and emulated the band’s hairstyles: "Depešák."

When word got out that Depeche Mode was coming, interest was enormous with hundreds of thousands of fans seeking tickets via official and unofficial channels. But only 15,000 lucky people were able to see the show, as that was the stadium capacity.

Police even warned ticket vendors to be on the lookout for drug addicts and other anti-social types and said that security measures around the concert would be extreme. But in the end, there were no significant incidents aside from some pushing and shoving from people trying to get up front at the start of the show.

The band returned a short while later for a now-famous photoshoot. The band then had four members – Gahan and Gore plus the late Andy Fletcher and drummer Alan Wilder, who left the band in 1995. They came with their photographer Anton Corbijn to shoot black-and-white pictures for the 1990 photo book “Depeche Mode: Strangers.”

Pictures show the band at the cafe and waiting room in Prague’s main train station Hlavní nádraží, at Franz Kafka’s grave, and other spots in the New Jewish Cemetery in Žižkov, at the winter stadium on Štvanice, on Charles Bridge, in front of a record store, at the tram tracks on Josefská Street, at a phone booth, and on the steps leading to Prague Castle.

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