Let’s face it, you will not get through this week without every Depeche Mode fan on the planet talking about a certain gig a few years ago.
And quite rightly, of course!
Depeche played at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Wednesday 17 February 2010 to lend their support to the annual Teenage Cancer Trust series of concerts.
The gig has since gone down in Depeche folklore for one thing: the return of Alan Wilder after 16 years to play the piano for Martin Gore as he sang Somebody during the encore.
The noise which greeted Wilder after he sauntered on-stage and was introduced by Gore was astonishing, even “up in the gods” of the famous old hall where I was standing.
It would be safe to say that the audience, after the shock of seeing Wilder sharing a platform with his old cohorts, cheered and cried during the next few minutes as he and Gore worked their way through a song they’ve performed together hundreds of times.
It was a “special moment”, Dave Gahan mused to the crowd with a fair slab of understatement minutes later.
The “Alan” moment obviously overshadowed the rest of the gig for most Depeche fans.
But even without Wilder’s brief reunion, Depeche’s now legendary Royal Albert Hall gig was a memorable night.
It was the first time the band had played at the iconic venue and the gig came just ten days before the end of the Tour Of The Universe shows.
The party atmosphere which was building during the evening only increased further when The Who’s Roger Daltrey made a speech about the work of the Teenage Cancer Trust and then introduced the band on-stage.
There were many memorable moments during the set, not least when the by-then customary balloons appeared during a rousing rendition of Policy of Truth.
For those of us brought up on seeing thousands of red poppies rain down on British servicemen and women during the annual and mostly sombre festival of remembrance each year, seeing brightly coloured balloons bounce around on the heads of the delirious crowd was both poignant and joyous.
Never Let Me Down Again was incredible for all the usual reasons, whilst the string ensemble for Home and One Caress created an appropriate connection between Depeche and a venue more used to hosting orchestral evenings.
But, still, maybe it was just all about “Alan” :).