An old New Wave rock band that’s never released a No. 1 song in the U.S. is selling more concert tickets than the biggest pop stars in the world.
Depeche Mode, the British synth-pop group formed in 1980, is having one of the most remarkable tours in modern music and its most-successful concert run ever. The band sold 1.27 million tickets through the first nine months of 2017, more than Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber or Bruno Mars — much younger pop acts at the peak of their fame.
In October, the band became the first act to sell out four consecutive shows at the Hollywood Bowl, an open-air theater in the hills of Los Angeles that’s hosted everyone from the Beatles to Luciano Pavarotti. Now Depeche Mode is back on the road for its second tour through Europe this year and will head to Latin America in 2018. Not bad for a group whose album sales peaked more than 20 years ago.
It is interesting that Depeche Mode would be one of the only bands of their era to survive, and to prosper, but their current success attests to the simple fact that older people have more money to spend on things like events.
They also have three core musicians that haven’t changed since the group was founded, unlike the many other bands that have broken up over and over.
But it is the tenacity of their fans that has kept them going.
Yet Depeche Mode’s late-career surge is also a tribute to a band that has carefully nurtured and expanded a loyal army of fans known as the Black Swarm (or Devotees) who follow it all over the world.
It’s interesting; before the Grateful Dead had Deadheads, there were no bands whose fans had a collective name. Now everyone does it.
I remember the band from back in the day, but they never clicked with me. I remember that Just Can’t Get Enough had the sound of a hit, and there are probably a few other songs I’d recognize, but that’s about it.