October 25, 2010 | 11:16am
While Dave Gahan and Martin Gore garner most of the accolades in Depeche Mode, Alan Wilder was the quiet architect of their sound for a number of years, playing a vital roll from 1982 till his departure in 1995. Following his departure, Wilder shifted his focus to Recoil, which is his heavily submerged synthesizer project.
Though the first recorded Recoil material emerged in 1986, Wilder's current tour of North America is his first ever live outing of Recoil as Wilder has teamed up with producer Paul Kendall. A large projection screen and a few laptops and analog synthesizers littered the stage as a huge roar came from the crowd when Wilder made his way on stage.
The performance was an audio and visual assault as each track had video or set of images playing in the background. While the crowd recognized a majority of Recoil songs, everyone went nuts when Wilder started to play the opening sequence of the Depeche Mode classic "Never Let Me Down Again" that made me think Gahan would emerge from the back and start singing. Wilder also mixed into the track a snippet of another Depeche Mode song "In Your Room".
Ending the show with a bang, Wilder threw down a mutated mix of "Personal Jesus" that drove the capacity crowd at the Galaxy nuts as they simultaneously chanted "Reach out and touch faith" like they were at a Depeche Mode concert. The standing ovation Wilder received from the crowd had to remind Wilder how much of an impact he has had on Depeche Mode fans during his tenor. Wilder had recently joined Martin Gore on stage in February earlier this year to play "Somebody" during a benefit show in London. One can only imagine if Wilder would rejoin Depeche Mode and they decided to play some classic albums in their entirety.
Getting a ringing introduction and endorsement by Alan Wilder, Daniel Myer's Architect
project won over the crowd with his barrage of synthesizers and electronic beats. Slyly injecting morsels of Depeche Mode classic songs also greatly helped his cause. Conjure One
seemed to stumble slightly as their vocalist/bassist didn't seem like she was really playing bass since the notes and timing appeared off. When Recoil finished their set, not a person left the building as Martin Gore later appeared for a DJ set. How often do two members of Depeche Mode hang out in Santa Ana on a Sunday night?
Personal Bias: I would have attended the show if it was just a Martin Gore DJ set.
Crowd: Black clad devotees (i.e., Depeche Mode Fans). Most of them clutching that rare vinyl Depeche Mode album in hopes of catching a signature.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Why did Alan decide to play the Galaxy?" It was odd, but I was glad Wilder decided to visit Orange County as many cities were omitted from his tour.
Random Notebook Dump: The doors opened early at 5pm yet the show didn't start till 8pm. This fact wasn't really advertised anywhere which gave me the false impression it would be an early show.