A Policy Of Truth – Royal Albert Hall was more than just about Alan Wilder

Let’s face it, you will not get through this week without every Depeche Mode fan on the planet talking about a certain gig over ten 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.

(Read about our own commitment to this wonderful charity)

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’d 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 early stages of the evening, only increased further when The Who’s Roger Daltrey made a speech about the amazing work of the Teenage Cancer Trust and then introduced the band to the 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” :).

7 thoughts on “A Policy Of Truth – Royal Albert Hall was more than just about Alan Wilder

  1. Kay says:

    Great review! I was there from a very expensive box seat (worth every penny) drinking champagne and making new friends who’d travelled from Helsinki and Brussels. I threw a DM balloon into the crowd that a someone I met on Twitter gave me – so many memories! Really wish there was a live DVD of this night so I could relive them…

    1. admin says:

      @kay – yeah, agree on the live DVD… Perhaps even as an ongoing way for fans to contribute to the TCT charity. But perhaps the tight nature of the venue, and the big DM stage production going in, meant there wasn’t room for a film crew to do it justice. Oh well, we’ll never know… Just have memories instead!

  2. Andy McMinn says:

    On the Monday before this gig i received a text message from a good freind saying you really need to get to the Royal Albert on Wednesday because it will be a special night , i told my mate i couldnt afford to get there due financial restraints and my wifes Birthday being the next day on the 18th…I asked why it was going to be so special and the reply was “Alan Wilder” will be appearing on stage !!!!!!!! It was the hardest secret i have ever had to keep , i just wanted to tell every DM Fan i knew but it was top secret so just couldnt do that , felt very priveledged to know before many people and when after the concert had taken place social media went crazy about Alan Wilder making an appearance , it was actually quite funny watching the response and comments , many people may say “I Was There ” but i can say “I Knew Before You” 😉

    1. admin says:

      @andy – haha, yes, i can imagine it was hard to keep it to yourself, but well done 🙂

      what’s interesting now, six years on, is that the appearance and the mix that Alan did for In Chains triggered massive bouts of “ooh, will he, won’t he return for good, maybe even as a producer”-type chatter, which continues to this day.

      I just wonder if the euphoria that greeted Alan’s appearance might have been slightly bitter-sweet if fans had known then that it would eventually lead to nothing.

      There are, of course, theories kicking about from every Depeche fan on the planet as to why…………………. 🙂

  3. Kaiser Edward Appah says:

    A truly great night for music and a special night for all lovers of Depeche Mode and what they mean to a hell of a lot of people, especially my generation,who grew up with the band in the 80s.No disrespect to Vince Clarke,I believe Alan Wilder added more depth and character to the DM sound and RECOIL grew from that sound. Nobody can deny the Impact of the Wilder effect,even after 15 years of stage absence his SPIRIT,belongs in DM, more so than Vince Clarke for most fans. Thanks for the memories DM and I hope you can pull of some thing special for 2020.Adios and see you.


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