Brian McDonnell didn’t only go to the concert and listen to Depeche Mode’s songs in 1983 at Belfast’s Ulster Hall.
The band was instructed to take a few pictures and send them back to him in a note that was thrown on stage with a roll of film.
Amazingly, the band accomplished that.
After being lost for nearly 40 years, the images have now been rediscovered after Brian’s sister, Anne McDonnell-Lawrence, shared them with the Facebook group Belfast Concert Photographs of the 1980s.
The unusual photos of Depeche Mode’s band members in what looks to be a dressing area capture both posed and unguarded moments.
At the age of 37, Brian passed away from a heart attack 20 years ago.
According to his sister, Brian was a lifelong Depeche Mode fan, who spoke to BBC News NI about what transpired the night of the event.
He frequently gushed about his favorite band, Depeche Mode, she added.
“All I can recall is him telling me that while he was at the concert, he had a camera’s film with him. He had wrapped his name and address around the film and urged others to take pictures and send them to him.
“He never imagined that he would even receive a reply. He received the film given back to him at some point, though I’m not sure when.
The only images were of Depeche Mode.
David Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Vince Clarke formed Depeche Mode in Basildon, England, in 1980.
After their debut album was released, Clarke departed the group, and Alan Wilder took his place in 1982.
In the 1980s and 1990s, they found success on the charts with songs like New Life, Enjoy the Silence, and Just Can’t Get Enough.
In 2020, the group was also admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gahan and Gore are the only remaining members of Depeche Mode, which originally had four members.
Andy Fletcher, a piano player and one of its original members, passed away earlier this year.
According to Anne, Brian was overjoyed to get the images and proudly displayed them to his loved ones.
When she was browsing through pictures of her late mother, she discovered the images in an envelope, she told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra show.
Anne stated, “I had asked a few times, but no one responded, and I tried to get them posted on a [Facebook] group I’m in with Depeche Mode a couple of times.
“So when I read the story about the Belfast gigs, I decided to rip them off.
“I enquired as to his desire for them. It has escalated since I told him the little tale.”
The Belfast Empire Music Hall’s Twitter account afterward reposted the images and their background information.
‘A reminder of Brian’
The publicity around the images, according to Anne, has “been amazing” and is exactly what her brother would have enjoyed.
She claimed that Brian enjoyed being the center of attention, partying, and singing.
“In August, he celebrated his anniversary there. We were all remarking on how long 20 years is, even though he had been deceased for 20 years.
“But in my opinion, he is telling me, “You’re not paying me any attention anymore, I want attention,” with those words. I believe he planned it.
“We just think about him every time we hear a Depeche Mode song on the radio.”
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