Tuesday, 10 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, MATTRESS FIRM AMPHITHEATRE, SAN DIEGO, 6 OCTOBER 2017

This venue definitely wins the title of Venue Name Of The Tour - spectacular stuff. Equally spectacular is this review from Rob Rohm from Orange County, California, a man who really knows his Depeche Mode. Rob's review is a great read which I know you'll all enjoy. Thanks very much Rob for the write up, pictures and videos. Thanks too to the by now surely fed up of me stealing things gang at Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group whose pictures I've credited. Don't want to get in trouble.




October 6, 2017 - Mattress Firm Amphitheatre is the name of the venue hosting Depeche Mode on this warm fall night in Chula Vista, California. The name of the venue can cause you to do a double take. Although it's named after one of the largest mattress retailers in the US, it evokes sexual imagery and innuendo more than anything else. What better place for Depeche Mode to perform songs such as Corrupt, In Your Room, World in My Eyes, A Question of Lust, and Stripped. 

Although the venue sufficiently warned fans to get to the amphitheatre early to avoid traffic, it was truly a traffic nightmare getting in to the show. My home is located in Orange County, California. It's about an hour and a half drive south to Mattress Firm without any traffic. The last two miles took more time than that. Unfortunately for us, we trusted the judgment of Google Maps for the quickest route into the venue. It guided us to a back route in with a single lane that was barely moving. The traffic coming in the traditional entrance was heavily bogged down as well but at least they had 3 lanes of cars moving. We made the mistake of having a few drinks at our hotel with friends before we left. We left our hotel at 6:30 for what should have been a thirty-minute drive at the most. After sitting in traffic for over an hour with no end in sight, my wife and her friends suggested that I walk the remainder and meet them inside. They knew I was to review the show for The Global Spirit Tour Project. I didn't want to miss a minute of the action, so I took them up on their offer and walked over a mile to the venue in my Doc Martins (Try Walking in My Shoes! Sorry, couldn't resist).

As I walked up to the venue I heard the opening act Warpaint but by the time I got inside they were done playing. Luckily I had caught them earlier in the week at Martin's hometown gig at the Santa Barbara Bowl. This is my fifth time seeing the band on the Global Spirit tour and 41st show all-time starting back in 1986. I was lucky enough this tour to see them at a private rehearsal with 40 others in Hollywood at S.I.R. Studios in April. They only performed 10 songs for us at the rehearsal but it was there that I first saw the exact 22 song set list that they performed in Chula Vista at the base of Martin Gore's microphone stand.



Once inside the venue, I took a peek at the merchandise booth to see if there were long lines (there were) and if there was anything new. I also checked to make sure they're still selling the cool Master and Servant shirt. I bought souvenirs at their Paris gig in July but haven't bought anything yet from the shows I've caught in the States (Vegas, Santa Barbara, and San Diego). I'm hoping they open a pop-up shop in Los Angeles for the Hollywood Bowl shows as they've done in New York and select shows in Europe.

I grabbed a beer and said hello to a few devotees before heading to my seat. For this show my ticket was third row from the stage on the left side (Martin's side). I texted my wife to check on her whereabouts and they were still slowly making their way to the venue. It was too late, the Beatles' Revolution was playing and they were still stuck in traffic! It was 9pm and the band was taking the stage. 

The Spirit feet march into the show opener Going Backwards with its vibrant backdrop. This timely and relevant song is one of my favorite tracks on Spirit and a perfect way to kick things off. So Much Love and Barrel Of A Gun follow and my wife still hasn't made it into the venue yet! I'm glad to be inside watching but bummed when Peter Gordeno straps on the bass guitar and the band breaks into A Pain That I'm Used To. At the Santa Barbara show, my wife had told me that she really likes that song. It was actually a bit surprising to me that she said that but the version they perform on this tour is definitely one that you can't stop yourself from dancing to. Luckily she shows up mid song and immediately begins dancing and is quite happy with our view.

She is just in time for the Mattress Firm Trilogy: Corrupt, In Your Room, and World In My Eyes. On Corrupt, Dave's performance combines elements of hard rock, marching soldiers, and a sultry rock god all in one



In Your Room is one of my top ten favorite Depeche Mode tracks. Thankfully the band has reverted to playing the album version of the song which is a lot more powerful in my opinion. The song is accompanied by one of Anton's video creations but sitting up close my focus is on the band's performance and not the video.

World In My Eyes completes the Mattress Firm Trilogy with the crowd fully engaged. My wife commented about Dave putting his hands above his head to form the hand gesture shown on the cover of the World In My Eyes single. She mentioned first noticing him doing this in Paris.

Cover Me is accompanied by Anton's video footage used for the single release with Dave walking around Venice Beach in astronaut gear. This one is hard not to pay attention to the video. It's another one of those videos that make you question how much trust they give Anton but it is interesting I suppose.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

I missed A Question Of Lust to make a beer run but it sounded great. I am surprised how little Martin's songs have changed this tour. Usually he mixes it up more. We did get to see Judas performed in Paris, but that's been the only set change I've seen in person so far this tour. It is rumored that there will be significant changes during the Hollywood Bowl shows. I'll be at the last 3 shows there. Home sounded great as usual and we actually had a pretty good round of ooohs going after the song was over.

Poison Heart really takes me back to the intimate rehearsal I saw in April. We were standing right in front of Martin during that performance and to watch his guitar work and emotion as he sang the backup vocals was pretty amazing.

Where's The Revolution is the fifth and final song they perform off Spirit. The visuals on this song are great as is the performance. Dave marches up the stairway to the second level stage area with his silhouette in front of socialist imagery provided by Anton.

Wrong and Everything Counts get the remix treatment and are fantastic performances and lead into my all-time favorite song, Stripped. I typically try to avoid filming too much but I did record the complete song for this one. I wanted to have a full clip of Stripped live as it may be one of the songs that gets changed up in Hollywood.



The last two songs before the encore actually elevate the show to the highest points. Besides being the classic powerful Depeche Mode songs that they are, Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again are both crowd favorites. The audience interaction is at its best during these two songs and is highlighted by the classic waving of hands during Never Let Me Down Again. At this show Dave does not use the t-shirt cannon during the song.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

The encore consisted of five songs as usual starting with Somebody performed by Martin, Walking In My Shoes featuring another Anton Corbijn video, the "Heroes" David Bowie tribute, I Feel You, and Personal Jesus.

I had a fantastic night at the show despite the pain I wasn't used to of getting into the show. I read some negative comments from some fans on social media after the show and I will say this: As with anything in life, your mode (mindset) will go a long way in determining how much you enjoy the show. The band definitely doesn't disappoint. It's amazing to see them perform at such a high level with so much energy and enthusiasm after all these years. I'm proud to say I've been a Devotee since 1985.


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Thanks Rob!

Monday, 9 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY BOWL, SANTA BARBARA, 2 OCTOBER 2017

This review has been provided by Kristin Pinnatore from Fremont, California and in it Kristin gives us the full lowdown on what it's like to see Depeche Mode from as close to the front of the crowd as it's possible to be. I love the effort Kristin went to to get that spot and it's so cool to read about fellow Devotees helping make sure she got what she wanted. Read on and enjoy. All photos are Kristin's unless otherwise stated (i.e. stolen with much thanks from Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group)

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

It’s not every day that we get a chance to cross something off our bucket lists. To be fair, my personal bucket list isn’t even that long - I prefer not to dwell on my own mortality. But if I did maintain a serious bucket list, seeing Depeche Mode from the front row would be at the top of it. Front row center, if I’m being honest (or greedy). The problem is that there’s been virtually no general admission at North American venues for the last several tours, and certainly none near me. Prices for such coveted seats are sold at a ridiculous price in the states, too, and I’m a school teacher with a family. It’s been a dream for a long time, but only that. Dream on.

By pure luck, last spring I had the chance to buy a general admission spot at the legendary Santa Barbara Bowl. And slowly, a plan comes together. With the support of my husband (who isn’t even a huge music fan, let alone a devotee like myself), we plan a 5-hour car trip down the California coast, bringing supplies so I can camp out at the venue the night before the show, hopefully securing the front-of-the-line spot. 

I arrive at the venue at 9 PM the night before the show, stay in the car for an hour and then set up a lawn chair and blankets at the gate. First in line (for rather a long while, I’m afraid). But I’m good at entertaining myself and between a strong internet connection (hurray for Netflix!) and some snacks, I make it until about 2:30 AM before drifting into a light sleep.

When the semis come through the predawn Santa Barbara neighborhood at 5 AM, it’s like the circus has come to town. Ten enormous unmarked long haul trucks and three RV’s maneuver their way through the parking lot as I watch. More fans start to trickle in at about 6 AM as well. We start a numbering system to keep track of the line, because frankly the venue has no idea how they want us to line up. I find out that there is an “early admission general admission” ticket that I do not have, and that anyone with the early admission is getting first crack at the rail. So much for my extreme efforts to be first in line. I miss the olden days, without all the levels of tickets. But despite my disappointment, I’m determined to enjoy being as close as possible to the action.

The people I meet in line are seriously some of the nicest people I’ve ever come into contact with at a live show; in my mind they are “The 6 AM Crew”. Most have been to multiple shows on this tour already and are old hands at getting the best spot possible. I know I’m outclassed in every way here and am resigned to having some heads in my way. Hopefully their owners won’t be tall. It’s not until I get back online at home that I realize how many of these folks I already “know” from the fan sites, reviews, and forums on which I lurk!

The line continues to be a struggle for the venue when there is confusion about the “early admission” and “regular admission” to this so-called “general” admission. It gets sorted, but not until after 5 PM. The early admission folks (maybe 30 people?) are registered, patted down and allowed up The Hill to the stage area.

I’ve heard horror stories about The Hill at the Santa Barbara Bowl. But nothing could have prepared me for it. After I’m finally let through security and begin my climb, I quickly understand why I’ve been told so often about it. You have the choice of either a LOT of stairs, or a STEEP walk up. Either way, I’m in no shape for it, less so because I’m short on sleep. People are passing me and I see any front row hopes I might have entertained dissolving into a wheezing, heaving asthma attack.

By the time I make it to the merch and food area, I’m dizzy and gasping. And because we’re not through yet, there is another flight of stairs to get to the general admission floor. Somehow I make it, and when I turn the corner and see the stage, there are three different groups of people from the 6 AM Crew waving at me to say they’ve saved a spot on the rail for me! 

Seriously, folks. DM people are amazing. I always knew that but now I’m seeing it first hand. I’m shaking with gratitude, excitement, and the adrenaline rush of practically killing myself on the hike. But I am front row center! I simply can’t believe it! I will never be able to say thank you enough!


Because of the hill, I’m still coughing when Warpaint takes the stage. I haven’t had a chance to check them out before and they are a welcome surprise, with an edge that feels appropriately matched to our general expectations of Depeche. The lead singer tells those of us in the pit that we’re very lucky because there haven’t been pits at the North American shows, and I know I feel incredibly fortunate. But there’s also a sense of solemnity in our luck. Less than 24 hours prior, a gunman struck down 58 concert goers in Las Vegas. Many of the folks I’m sharing these first rows with - people I’ve been chatting and comparing DM notes with for hours - have just come from Vegas, where DM played on Saturday night. Some stayed in the same hotel as the gunman. We’re all aware that the targeted victims were doing exactly what we’re doing now - enjoying live music with like-minded folks - and didn’t make it home. 

Though this is sobering, we don’t have time to dwell right now, as the set change is quick and opens the floor up a great deal more. This is good, because without a catwalk (the Bowl is too small for one) I was a little worried about Dave’s ability to fully prowl around. Now there’s clearly more room for the whole band. 

Suddenly the lights drop and the Beatles remind us that we wanted revolution ages ago and we’re still waiting. After a minute the Beatles fade out and the Spirit marching feet appear to the deeply primal beat of Cover Me (Alt Out). The bass is so intense when it arrives that it hits us smack in the throat with a physical punch, eliciting grunts from a number of us, as though we are already getting in touch with our caveman mentality.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
The band enters and takes their places, while the screen behind them shifts from marching boots to a colorful Pollack-y background. This is possibly the last time I will pay attention to Anton’s visuals for the evening. I’m seeing this show twice more from further back next week, so I’m going to seize this front row opportunity and pay attention to the men on the stage. When you can see the individual bits of glitter on their arms, you know you’re close and I’m not throwing away my shot.

Dave demands all eyes on him, anyway, because our master of ceremonies is taking the stage on his raised platform. After the first verse of Going Backwards he’s down and on the main stage, literally skipping with malevolent delight at just how much of a mess we’ve made for ourselves. His wrist flips and sassy flouncing announce his disdain for our backwards ways, and his sneers say volumes about exactly how much confidence he has in our ability to fix things. Media photographers are allowed in the front section of the pit for the first three songs, and Dave preens and poses for them, channeling Keith Richards and Elvis, with a smidge of Joel Grey thrown in for good measure. 

When I first saw the setlist I couldn’t really appreciate the build up it creates, but I love it live. I didn’t really understand kicking off with Going Backwards, other than the fact that it’s the opening track on Spirit. On tour, though, it’s a dire warning and a plea that sets the tone for the evening. 

So Much Love isn’t my favorite song off the new album, but it works well as a second live piece. With it’s frenetic pace, it takes the End of Days energy of Going Backwards and gives it a jittery, panicked edge. Dave doesn’t seem completely comfortable with all this love in him - or at least his concert persona doesn’t. He vamps and sneers through it all, almost daring us to believe he could bear to love us.

Dave has a little ballet for the intro to Barrel Of A Gun that he uses throughout the song. Big arm motions and wide steps add to the sense of nihilistic glee that he infuses this song with. He’s still mugging at the cameras and posing provocatively.



Next up is A Pain That I’m Used To, the Jaques LuCont remix. I have to say I’m a fan of this remix. I think it has a drive that the original lacks and the intro is great live. If there’s any song I think DM could drop, though, it’s this one, since they performed it on the Delta tour. It’s a great song and a great version, but it’s the one I’d love to see swapped out.

However, I am thrilled with the inclusion of Corrupt in the Spirit setlist. I love this song and think it’s highly underrated (same goes for In Sympathy and Scum. I make no apologies). It’s the perfect vehicle for Dave to go full-on sleaze mode, pointing to individual crowd members and telling them to their face that he wouldn’t touch them with even his little finger. The rock god persona is complete - now he’s rejecting the fans with “I could have you, but who would want you?” abuse and we eat it up. He’s laughing at us, and at the whole silly set-up. Dave knows the score and he’s letting us in on the joke.

In Your Room builds as it always does, whether you’re listening to it through headphones or live. It’s a no-fail recipe for getting the masses worked up, and the boys pull the marionette strings beautifully. World In My Eyes follows, so this is familiar territory for fans.

Next up, you can tell that Dave enjoys the space to really sing Cover Me, and he sounds great. The appearance of this one on the permanent setlist surprised me, but placed where it is, it’s the perfect transition from Dave to Martin. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Because now here is Martin, to sing us our prayers. It’s not bedtime yet, so the selections are less lullaby and more praise/worship/meditation. A Question Of Lust seems like precisely the right question - all this sex and sarcasm from Dave has led us to a fundamental moment - what are we going to do with all this frenzied energy? Martin thinks he knows. Home is all of us coming back to ourselves - the ultimate goal of meditation - and of course, Martin is at home here in Santa Barbara, too. We’ve all, unexpectedly, found our home in this small bowl in the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains.

Home successfully turns into a big singalong, the European-style kind I’ve read about, mainly because a few of the 6 AM Crew have set a mission to make it happen. I’ve never been in the tinderbox of a crowd sing along before and it’s euphoric. I’m “Ohhh-oh-oh-OOOOOOOHHHHH”ing along with the best of them and Dave appears to see what all the fuss is about. He takes his position as gothic band leader and conducts us supplicants in our tune. Big grins all around.

But Good Times Dave isn’t back for long. Next up is a vicious rendition of Poison Heart that drips with scorn. Yes, he’s sure of the poison in our hearts and minds, but it’s with all due respect, so it’s OK. He couldn’t be more done with us, and the crowd laps it up and begs for more.

The placement of Where’s The Revolution in the setlist confused me when I first saw it, too. It seemed awfully late in the show for the first single off a new album. The boys clearly know better than I do, because it arrives at the perfect moment. Up until now the selections have thematically explored power issues in all their myriad forms. Now it’s time to do something about it. Sadly, we’re letting DM down, people - where is that revolution?

Maybe it’s our own fault. Wrong is full of mockery, especially when the lights drop in the middle and Dave shows off his yoga skills by basically folding in half.


The classics return with a one-two punch of Everything Counts and Stripped. Hardcore and casual fans alike are singing along and it’s at the end of Stripped that I have my eye-lock moment with the rock god. It’s discomfiting when the man you’ve gazed at longingly since you were 13 looks back at you. As I told my husband, “When Dave Gahan looks in your eyes, they stay looked into.” In that moment, I’m back in high school. All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, indeed.

We’re in the thick of the hits now and Enjoy The Silence gets the giddy reception it deserves. Christian has his drum solo and even Martin boogies down during the bridge. Dave’s pacing the upper stage and giving a little stage time to the rest of the boys. Fletch, as always, is metaphorically eating a banana.

Never Let Me Down Again is the barn-burner it always is. It’s impossible from where I’m standing to take in the spectacle of the wheat wave arms that the climax of the song always brings, but I know it’s happening. 

The two minutes or so between the band’s exit and their encore is fairly deafening. Then Martin appears and the word Somebody flashes on the screen. This is the song that really made me a devotee. I’d heard some of the band’s other tunes on the radio, but after 13 year old me danced with my crush to Somebody in the high school gym, I was forever in thrall to DM. Martin executes this rendition beautifully. Afterwards, Dave returns to point out his sparkly silver boots while daring us to go Walking In My Shoes.

I’ve been looking forward to “Heroes” since the first time I heard that it was being covered on this tour. More than any of the songs from the Spirit album, I think the “Heroes” cover will most embody this particular concert experience for me. Seeing my musical heroes in this place, in this way - because of the support of my family and new DM fan friends - well, this experience is proof positive that we can all be heroes, just for one day. Shout out again to the 6 AM Crew for making a girl’s dream come true!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
At this point I’m exhausted but the boys from Basildon still pull out I Feel You and Personal Jesus - and not that version with the painfully slow intro from the Delta tour. No, there’s no dragging this one out - we dive right in and the energy that Dave displays proves that he continues to be a musical force of nature. He’s been going full steam for two hours and on this final song he stomps the stage, throwing his body around, and continuing to take up more room than you’d think his slight frame would.

Before I know it, they’re taking their bows and heading off into the night. The time has flown by and somehow it’s all over! After hugs and thanks and many “See you next times” to the 6 AM Crew , we surge back down the ridiculous hill, and scatter in all directions.

A few random observations: Christian’s live drumming is integrated really well in this setlist. I know DM’s having live drums was a difficulty for some fans, and I can understand the arguments. For me, the driving rhythms tied together the setlist and it’s clear from the interactions that Dave loves having real drums on stage. 

I wasn’t in a good position to report on general sound quality at the Bowl, though I was told it sounded great all around the venue. Up close everything sounded quite good, without any serious proximity distortion.

Dave is clearly, as always, the man to watch. Martin is busy with his guitars and harmonizing, while Fletch is busy in the background being Fletch (I say this with all love to Fletch). Spirit Tour Dave is much more snarly than Delta Tour Dave was. His movements are bigger; he ape-walks the stage and stomps like a man caged. His physicality is truly something to see. 

My tour with the boys continues nearer to home. I’ll be back to report on the Oakland show, so for now - thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!


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Thanks Kristin

Sunday, 8 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, STARPLEX PAVILION, DALLAS, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017

The Dallas review comes courtesy of Tara Salt who many of you will know as something of a Depeche superfan. Tara has been to almost as many gigs on this tour as the band have, usually with fellow reviewer Amanda Chaffee. Tara's Dallas review is a great read and, like her, I can't believe people are sitting down during a Depeche Mode gig. That's madness. Thanks to Tara for the write up and for the superb pictures too.



I have been watching Depeche Mode play live in Texas since the Exciter tour. I made a lot of DM friends that tour and I’ve always had a great time going back to see and party with them whenever the band hits town. Earlier this year when tickets went on sale, I had to make the decision to drop Texas from the list of shows I planned to see because the VIP Front Row package ended up being over twice the cost of the last tour. So why am I writing this review of the recent Dallas show? Because Irma got in the way you see..

In the second week of September, I sat at my desk in my office carefully monitoring the hurricane situation in Florida. Things got worse and eventually, the Tampa DM show was cancelled. I spent two hours on the phone cancelling the Florida hotels, concert tickets and flights and rerouting all of our plans to Texas. I felt an odd mix of upset and excitement but I was just relieved to have our new plans in place. Through Ticketmaster, we were still able to buy front and third row so this pleased me a lot. I do like to see the band up close. I’m a self admitted front-row-aholic, just because it’s such a drastically different way of experiencing the show. David makes it hard to be further back because he’s really awesome about playing around with and giving attention to fans he recognizes throughout the show.



Prior to attending the Dallas concert, we set off to a pre-show dinner that was set up for all of the Texas fans at a Mexican restaurant. It was wonderful to walk in and see the Texas DM crew all in one spot. We got to hug, talk, and catch up with each other. We then headed off to the venue. A good friend of mine, Erik, dropped us off as he went to find parking. Amanda, Joanna and I set off across the beautifully lit up parking lot towards the venue entrance. The sun was setting, painting a brilliant pink sky. The Ferris wheel in the background just made it all look so peaceful. 



The Dallas crowd took a while to warm up. They seemed to open up and really enjoy the show by Cover Me. Amanda and I were third row on Martin’s side and were horrified to see a large swathe of people sitting down in the first two rows. Some even left mid way through the show and never came back! On the bright side, this just made it easier for David to see us and so the singalongs commenced. The best was during Poison Heart where David held out the microphone to us and we sang mightily together for a verse. I have really enjoyed these moments throughout the tour. I have to mention that the heat that night was pretty intense so that might have explained the less ardent crowd. I was happy to see the enthusiasm really step up for the last half of the show. In North America, the singalongs after Home haven’t worked well. Only Toronto, Montreal and the second night of New York managed to get it done right. Having said that, the North American crowds seem to particularly adore and respond to Everything Counts. The Dallas crowd responded very well to the song that night and sang for a long time after the band had finished. It’s by far one of my favourite song versions on this tour and it was great to have such enthusiasm about it from the crowd that night. 



It is important to note that on the day of the Dallas show, Depeche Mode released their own version of "Heroes" as a Highline video session to commemorate its 40th anniversary. Bowie, having given the band so much inspiration over the years, is celebrated with a gorgeous rendition of the song included on their setlist every night. It’s been a joy to watch David sing this as he is right in his element and pretty much smiles throughout the entire song. David usually interacts with the crowd during "Heroes" but in Dallas he kept largely to himself, perhaps because of the momentous day. It made this performance of the song more personal, intimate and moving. Peter also comes down from his keyboards and joins Martin on guitar so it’s a fantastic emotional song to watch live with everyone so involved and up front. The band seemed in good spirits that night and gave it their all and the crowd responded in kind. I was happy to have made it to one of my “hometown” shows since the Texas fans are always a fun crowd to be a part of. It made my tenth concert of the tour definitely memorable.

See you next time Dallas!



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Thank you Tara

Friday, 6 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, T-MOBILE ARENA, LAS VEGAS, 30 SEPTEMBER 2017

Tragically, this is the third review in this project that is written with a senseless massacre as its backdrop. As with the London attack in June on the night Depeche played the Olympic Stadium, the Devotee masses were close to unspeakable events costing tens of people their lives. In Las Vegas, concert goers lost their lives needlessly and horribly -  concert goers just like us, just like the Depeche fans who were at the T-Mobile Arena the night before and, tragically, the Ariana Grande fans who died in Manchester. To have one such event over any year is horrible, to have two beyond belief. I guess writing a blog that deals with a set of events over a year is going to be affected by external factors, but this blog's connection to people all over the world who are all connected by music really does make these events stand out as stark reminders of the random tragedies that can affect us all. Mercifully, none of the Depeche fans who traveled to the Las Vegas show were caught up in events there. That may be a trivial concern when weighed against the loss of innocent lives and it's probably irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but I felt I had to mention it. Apologies if this is a clumsy intro to what is a wonderfully written and poignant review, but I couldn't not say something.

Anyway, Mads Kruse says all the above better than I can in this review. He sums up the joy of a Depeche Mode gig perfectly, as he would have done anyway, but reflects on what happened the next day too. Thanks very much for this Mads. On a different note, it's nice to have Mads join the ranks of Liverpool FC fans reviewing gigs for this project, following me and Chris Snoddon. I think that makes it Liverpool 3 Man Utd 2 in terms of reviewers. Just as it should be ;)




This review has been very difficult for me to write, and I've started over countless times. Because, how do you even begin to describe going from the wonderful emotional high after the DM show in Vegas, and then less than 24 hours later, seeing people killed and injured at another concert in the same city, worrying about the safety and whereabouts of friends in the area.

I guess I'm still in a state of disbelief that this even happened, as it seems so surreal that someone can come up with such a calculated and evil plan and go through with it, with no regard to the consequences. Destroying hundreds of lives of people just there to celebrate music.

We are indeed going backwards, watching men die in real time...but Martin Gore: We DO feel something inside.

However, the review of the show must go on, so we'll rewind to Saturday evening, when everything is still innocent and happy.

I had been looking forward to the Vegas show since it was announced, as I always have DM-visits to Sin City on my "Must Go"-list.

For some reason, they've always shied away from the arenas there, picking small intimate venues with GA, like The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and The Pearl at Palms (excluding their first Vegas show in 1994 at the Aladdin Theater, holding 7,500).

So although they bowed down to the almighty dollar for The Global Spirit Tour and booked T-Mobile Arena seating approximately 15,000 people, I still had high hopes for an excellent show.


Mads at the Arena

Approaching the arena, you see the humongous LCD marquee outside over the main entrance displaying the DM Global Spirit Tour Poster, and if that wasn’t getting you into the right mood, the surrounding area called The Park, with plenty of selections of "hydration" and live music would.

We arrived and entered early, as we had VIP tickets, so we didn't see the crowds assemble, but I can imagine it was pretty entertaining outside. 

After the VIP reception, we found our seats, and watched the opening act Warpaint.

Since I was at the Salt Lake City show, I'd already seen them, and I insisted on my wife and two other friends should sit down and see them, because I think they're great.

You could see a lot of head bobbing among the crowd already seated, even is they weren't exactly watching the four girls play.

The arena fills up, and Beatles' Revolution starts playing.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of that opening, so I'm happy when the boots starts marching to the beat of Cover Me, and we can get on with the show.

Set list is no longer a surprise, and there's no need to go through the songs one by one, so instead, I'll list a couple of observations from my (somewhat inebriated) memory of the show.




First of all, I was there with a DM virgin, so I was keeping a close eye on him and his reaction. 

I could tell from the first cord, that he was blown away by the sound quality and the clarity of Dave's vocal.

I remember from Salt Lake City, how I was surprised too, after having watched so many muddled YouTube videos, where it sometimes sounded like Dave was out of tune. Not live. Dave was spot on!



My friend was stomping at So Much Love, confused during A Barrel Of A Gun, feeling the sex in Corrupt and grooving with the Jacques Lu Cont's remix version of A Pain That I'm Used To. Add the opener Going Backwards, and DM had in just five songs already shown him a glimpse of their wide range.

From where we were seated, 5th row center stage, the crowd energy was superb. Lots of fans were surrounding us. There were lots of singing and dancing. The heavy price tag of the tickets was happily forgotten.

After the beautiful Cover Me and while waiting for Martin to sing his first two songs, a guy somewhere behind me immediately gained unlimited street cred by shouting for Boys Say Go. I responded with my request for The Sun And The Rainfall, surprisingly to no avail.




After Martin finished Home there were sporadic attempts for the sing-along, but Dave has already accepted it ain't worth it in the States, so he just thanks Martin and introduces Peter, Christian and Fletch. Too bad, because it's really a magic moment when it works.

Next follows my restroom break. Poison Heart does nothing for me, so it gives me a chance to unload and refill. That usually brings me back in my seat in time for Where's The Revolution, giving me a couple of songs to get ready for the show to go in over drive.

I don't know who's responsible for the new intro to Everything Counts, maybe musical director Kerry Hopwood? But whoever it is, he or she deserves a medal.

It's amazing and right down my alley. Imagine if they went straight into Get The Balance Right after the grabbing hands sing along is over. They could totally do it when Dave signals to Christian to start hitting the bass drum during the sing along.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Back to the show.



It's funny how Dave and Peter during Everything Counts almost heckle Martin before Martin's first keyboard part comes up. He has messed that up a couple of times on the tour, so now, they almost freeze, while staring intensely at him, waiting to see if he gets it right. Then everyone laughs.

The arena is jumping (from my vantage point, anyway) through Stripped, Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again. What a way to end the main set, but I could definitely do without the shirt gun. It's taking too much away from the most iconic and sacred Depeche Mode moment/ritual.





Before the encore, the arena lit up with cell phone lights. Appropriate for what Martin was to deliver next. Somebody always goes down incredibly well in the States considering it is a ballad sung at a large arena show.

I think they could easily swap "Heroes" and Walking In My Shoes, and get a better flow in the encore, but that's just me.

Personal Jesus is the perfect end to a great show. The crowd hopes for more, but it's "See You Next Time", and the lights come on.

My virgin friend took his time as we left the arena, and I had asked him what his overall thoughts were on the show and the band.

After being in deep thought for a while, he came up with the following nugget: "No one else plays music like this. I don't really know how else to describe it".

I just nodded, and smiled. He got Depeched.

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Thanks Mads.

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, AMERICAN AIRLINES ARENA, MIAMI, 15 SEPTEMBER 2017

For this review we welcome back Amanda Chaffee of the And Then blog whose Dave towel catching exploits you will call recall from the Montreal review earlier in this series. After seeing the Tampa gig cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, there were fears that Miami would not go ahead but, thankfully for Depeche fans, the show went on. Here is what Amanda thought of it. I'd like to thank her for the great write up and the superb pictures. You can see the full set here - click


After the last-minute cancellation of the Tampa show due to Hurricane Irma, fans were on tenterhooks waiting to find out if Miami would go on. I was staying with a friend in New York who would be heading to Miami to visit family regardless of whether there was a show, and I desperately needed to find out whether I should book straight to Nashville or stay in New York. The prospect of hoteling alone in either city for $200-300US a night was daunting. Mercifully, the band and venue confirmed Miami would go on two days before the show, so I played Hotwire roulette and made my way down. 

There seemed to be disagreement among fans on whether this show should go on, and I wondered if the turnout would be affected by people unable to return in time after evacuating. My fears were unfounded – devotees of South Florida turned out, and the arena was full. Despite this, the crowd was not the most exuberant that I have seen. Perhaps given the events of the previous week, people were already worn out. 



Some people to the left of me left their seats midshow, and were gone for several songs. One man sat in his chair on his phone for some slower tracks. Mind you this is front row, directly in front of Martin Gore himself. Rude! At least this meant I got to dance with my friend Mike and his wife for a couple of songs, after they scooted into the empty spaces... 

Depeche cranked out the standard set list, and as I’ve seen with several of the less bonkers crowds, people didn’t quite warm up until Cover Me. There was an interesting moment at the beginning of Wrong where Martin and Dave were lurking in the dark. Something made Dave laugh and the mic caught it from a distance. It echoed a bit and added an additional spooky layer to the song’s creeping intro. The band seemed in good spirits in general, with Dave slapping Fletch on the ass at one point near the end of the show. However, the energy of Toronto/MontrĂ©al (excellent crowds) and New York (Dave giddy in his home town) versus Miami was notable. It’s a perfect example of how the crowd can take the band from a great show to an electrifying one. 



I think one of the most memorable moments came just after the lights went up. Mike and I were chatting and given set lists by a crew member. A fan who had been in the center section saw us with them. She said, “Where did you get such a treasure??” with incredibly genuine, wide-eyed wonder. We told her the crew had given it to us. She went back to her friends and we kept talking. She came back through to exit the arena, and Mike casually handed her his copy. She was in utter disbelief – so much so that she clasped her hand to her mouth and started crying, while giving Mike a huge hug. She was so grateful for a memento of a show that was clearly very special to her. This act of kindness and her pure reaction to it made me reflect on my journey thus far – this tour, and as a fan. I remembered the days when I would have been that girl, awed by something my friends and I see as fairly common these days, due to our experiences. The brain works in odd ways to create new plateaus of normality. Things that were once awe-inspiring become common place – maybe taken for granted – and the once completely unimaginable is somehow miraculously achievable, even if rare. 



Experiences like this are a reminder that we should be grateful for every opportunity we have to just experience this wonderful band of brothers throwing themselves into their work on stage every other night. Setlists, rare tracks, front row, guitar picks, going backstage, winning meet and greets, sing alongs with Dave... all of those “extras" are icing on the cake. Amazing – sometimes addicting – icing on the cake. Given the state of the world, and the band’s history, being able to see Depeche Mode perform at all is still a treasure in itself. Other fans are not so lucky. And if we're real – one day, we won’t be either. I’m writing this weeks after the initial show (sorry, David!), with 14 ‘Spirit’ shows complete, and I'm still not bored. I am incredibly grateful, happy and looking forward to the rest of my home gigs as DM closes out California

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Thanks again Amanda

Thursday, 5 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, AK-CHIN PAVILION, PHOENIX, 27 SEPTEMBER 2017

Today's review is provided by Sara Lauder from Sierra Madre, California who is a fellow Depeche Mode Facebook takeoveree - check out day 181 for Sara's posts. Her review of the Phoenix gig on 27 September is a cracking read which I know you'll all love. Like me, I imagine you'll be instantly jealous when you read the phrase "6th row tickets" and the word "Rosebowl" in the same sentence! Also, Sara solves the mystery of why this venue is called the AK-Chin Pavilion which was something that was puzzling me. Thanks very much to Sara for the review and for the wonderful photographs.



Disclaimer: I am writing this “review” as follow up to my diary “review” almost 30 years ago at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena when I was 15 years old. 

In an attempt to have no spoilers of this tour by looking at no fb posts or photos, or when live feed pops up automatically it’s plugging ears and eyes tightly shut “lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear it.” Having never written a review of a concert....and after a couple glasses of wine....here goes.....I’m gonna be off the cuff, totally non-formal and just write as if it was my diary entry and hope you enjoy it. 

Reverse and then Fast forward: June 18th, 1988 at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena ----> September 27th, 2017 at Ak Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ.

Side note: Ak Chin you ask? The venue is sponsored by the Ak Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa (Ak-Chin) Indian Reservation located 37 miles south of Phoenix.

1988- my brother stood in line at Music + early in the morning to buy tickets to the Rose Bowl concert and they had some sort of drawing for the order of tickets sold. He was lucky number one and we ended up with 6th row tickets.

2017- Innovative marketing approaches for tickets sales was impressive to me as my degree is in advertising and I appreciated the creativity. Yet, that bit me in the ass as I bought a couple CDs and shamelessly posted to Facebook in an effort for people to sign up and bump me up further in the virtual line. I really didn’t like competing against my friends and eventually gave up but was still 60ish in “line”. Ticket buying took on a whole new level of adrenaline and nervousness. On the morning of presales, Ticketmaster failed and my presale code didn’t work so we opted for Phoenix in a desperate attempt for good seats. And that we had! 12th row or so. 

June 18, 1988:

“The Depeche Mode Concert!! The concert was so rad! I can't explain it! The Wire was OK, Thomas Dolby was weird, OMD was awesome and Depeche Mode was SO cool! 

The lead signer Dave Gahan threw his shirt over by us and Chris almost got it! It was fun though! But Shelley couldn't go! Between the groups there was a BIG trash & food fight! It was funny! Oh well, better go! 

September 30th 2017:

I saw Depeche Mode in Phoenix!!! So rad. 



The DM concert momentum and excitement escalated from Europe but I could not click but rather scroll furiously in attempt to avoid as I wanted as many surprises as possible. Spoilers were even more challenging to avoid when DM reached NYC, Madison Square Garden. They slowly traveled West as friends posted and I avoided successfullyish, “Well if you ever plan to motor west, just take my way it's the highway that's the best”. It almost felt like that -- Route 66ish.

As typical, the day before...this sums it up on my Fakebook (<----not a typo) post: “Every three years or so I feel unusually, physically different-- loss of appetite, nervous, drop things, chew my inner cheeks, give up on nice fingernails, fumble words, and just a unique feeling like nothing else. The common factor- this all occurs the day before (and day of) my first Depeche Mode concert of the tour. And although, I never use acronyms, I guess I do when I'm seeing Depeche Mode in Phoenix TOMORROW!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! And so far, only a few set list spoilers. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 

Finally! My turn! Correction. OUR turn, my first road trip with my boyfriend (Martin - not Gore) and his/our friend, Steve. We started out at 6 fucking 30 AM from the Pasadena area with a pit stop and a bit of dusty off-roading in a 4-door sedan to buy a date palm in Indio. 

I had trepidation about the Phoenix crowd as a few friends who follow them on tour for 15+ concerts opted out of that location. I asked why and they said the crowd was blah on the last tour. I have scaled back on my multiple shows this tour (and overseas experiences in London) and have a new experience of seeing my first concert of the tour with Martin and Steve for their first DM concert. Even more perfect, Becca came into our row 12 (row G) with her full beer attending solo. So I was the meat in the sandwich of DM concert newbies with feelings of excitement of their first experience yet nervousness that the set list will measure up for fairweather DM enthusiasts. Steve has a tragic story in the 80s of a botched attempt taking a limo (with a bit of debauchery) to a Depeche Mode concert yet arriving late only to see the last 10 minutes of the final encore. Finally seeing DM live in Phoenix from the opening song to the final encore was “some great reward” for him. 



The height of adrenaline for me at Depeche Mode concerts is the build up of Martin Gore’s electronica selections for pre-concert music between the opening act and the moment we all covet. Most might not notice the intensity building with a misty stage and beats building up in loudness and energy. It’s an amazing f’ing build up, get the F back from the toilets, get your drinks, and be ready and as the music intensifies it gets you (well me at least) from sitting to gyrating, heart pumping and hugging your neighbors, jumping in anticipation knowing at any minute you will see their silhouettes entering the stage. 

So the graphics started.....the Revolution cartoon boots walking and they opened with a new song, Going Backwards, which fit for the coming days. A nice selection of songs to begin with for us Devotees, but my newbies and others around me didn’t seem recognize anything until the 9th song, A Question of Lust sorta maybe. I heard chatters from a group of women behind me, “when are they gonna play (I don’t recall) but thought it eluded to “something we know.” But Martin (reminder- not Gore) was getting into the rhythm of A Pain That I’m Used To and said it was an instantaneously catchy song. And Becca to my left (her first DM concert) was howling like a wolf throughout the show, “Owww, owwwww, owww, ow, ooooowwwww”! I love the different cheer styles scattered in the crowd around me. Also loved what I always hope for, <5’5” people in front of me. And on this day, I got just that and had a perfect view of the stage all night. 

And finally...Home. Beautiful song. Beautiful lyrics. Beautiful voice. Beautifully performed. But I noticed the absence of the Home chant and quietly sang it myself anyway knowing I couldn’t pull off a crowd participation on my own. “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh--OOOOh (high note)! Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh--OOOOh (low note)!” Repeat until Dave Gahan cuts the loud crowd off. My concern about the setlist was confirmed for those seeking the DM 80s band who are known for People Are People and Just Can’t Get Enough and were hoping for a 2 hour set of all the well-known hits...and I get it. I looked behind me to a sea of blue seats. The enthusiastic women sitting behind me had disappeared before the encores. Not only them, but half of the 13th row behind me had left, all before the most popular Depeche Mode songs concluded the show. WTF? 



Those well-known hits came in the encores and it was surely a crowd pleaser. Despite the early exit of those behind us, this Phoenix crowd actually never let me down with the arm waving, sing-a-longs, iphone “lighters”, encore break cheering and most standing around us. My Martin noted that from all the concerts he has been to (Devo to X to Englebert Humperdink) this is the most audience participation he has ever experienced. 

This “review” wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Missy (a beloved and generous Devotee) who unexpectedly, tragically left us earlier this year. At the last tour she gifted her handcrafted DM necklaces to anyone who wanted one with a package of donation cards (which we collaborated on) for another Devotee, Carl who passed away while tornado researching. During World in My Eyes I clutched the two Missy necklaces I was wearing and a chill/goose bumps ran up from toes to head. We miss her and there’s definitely a void but her friends and I concur that she is here in Spirit at every show on the tour in the front row...and why not....maybe even sitting on their laps backstage. MissingMissy. 

My highlights: the screen projection with 3/4 screen walking plank, odd animal graphics, avant-garde videos, nice venue, great seats, amazing energy from Dave Gahan, surprisingly better crowd than expected, reuniting with a DM friend (Hi Kimberly), my first and one of two Depeche Mode shows this tour, extended trip to Phoenix and my newbie sandwich to the left and especially the right. Next up.....Hollyweird Bowl!

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Thanks very much Sara

Sunday, 1 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL PAVILION PRESENTED BY HUNTSMAN, HOUSTON, 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

I genuinely have no idea how this venue came to have such a bizarre title. Anyway, moving on, today's review is provided by Wendy Grew from Kansas City, Missouri. Rather wonderfully, Wendy stepped in to review Houston when a Depeche fanbase wide plea went out from me and many others to get a reviewer lined up for Houston. Happily Wendy saw this and has written a great review for us with a twist - rather than tell you all about the gig, Wendy has given us access to her videos of it, meaning you can see Dave and co in action to judge the gig for yourselves. A cool idea - thanks very much Wendy. Fletch's dancing during I Feel You in the video below is surely a tour highlight. The videos are of course all Wendy's so don't nab them. Thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group too.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

“Good Evening Houston” This is Wendy, your guide to the Houston Depeche Mode show last Sunday at the Cynthia Mitchell Pavilion. 

I've been a DM fan since the 80’s. Violator was my first DM tour (my Dad took me) and I have been to multiple shows every tour since. During the Devotional tour, thanks to the bass player from Stabbing Westward, I got my first of a handful of future backstage passes. That night, also in this same venue, Martin Gore beat me in foosball after the show. I think I may have the honour of being the only person to mention Depeche Mode in their Doctoral dissertation for their Doctorate in music. Frankly it was a goal to get them included one way or another. I drove 13 hours one way for this show from Kansas City. Totally worth it! That is the short summation of my DM cred, the long one could take pages; now for the stuff you came for. 

What can I say that hasn’t already been said before? We all know the setlist including  Dave adding the chorus of Grand Master Flash's  The Message to the end of Barrel Of A Gun. I got sang to during Corrupt. (Not posting that video because I don’t have credit. But you can see it on my FB page). Yadda, Yadda… 

What you Devotees want is video, and I have it! I had the privilege of having a front row seat on Fletch’s side of the stage. So I took advantage of my great spot to bring you some highlights. 

(I blame my vertical filming on my excitement, forgive me.)

In Your Room:



World In My Eyes:



Cover Me:


A Question Of Lust:


Where's The Revolution:




Never Let Me Down Again:


"Heroes"



Had a couple moments with throughout the show with Fletch. This is one where he points at me and waves during I Feel You. Around :41 second mark.



Somebody (part 1)


Somebody (part 2)


Stripped:



Martin dancing at the end of Home:

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Thanks very much Wendy.












Friday, 22 September 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, ASCEND AMPHITHEATRE, NASHVILLE, 18 SEPTEMBER 2017

Depeche Mode's return to Nashville could only be documented by one person - Linda Dorland. Linda is a long term Depeche fan and is well known on the Home forum as a huge fan and someone who is quite obsessed with Mr Gahan. This Depeche show was to be her first ever DM live experience, so I was thrilled when she volunteered to review the gig for the blog. As you'll see, she had a few personal struggles which threatened her attendance at the show, but happily, and much to everyone's delight, she got to go along and see her heroes. This is a great read for a number of reasons, not least the hugely personal perspective it is written from, and I know that it's going to be one of the stand out reviews of this whole project. All pictures are Linda's so please don't steal them, and if you find a video of Dave speaking to Linda at the gig (read on for that), let me know.Enjoy.



PAIN AND SUFFERING IN THE SOUTHERN HEAT - DEPECHE MODE ROCKS NASHVILLE TIL IT HURT AND WE MAY NEVER BE THE SAME

Let me start by saying I had never seen Depeche Mode live. Yes a DM virgin, this was my first show, here in my home city of Nashville. They had been here in the 90's to not a great turnout at a now demolished horrible venue way out of town too. I had bought seats for the Delta Tour in Atlanta but I don't travel well and wound up having to sell them and not go. I was devastated. I created a page on my Depechemodelover.com website titled Bring Depeche Mode to Nashville hoping that would help, maybe someone would see it (note that page now changed). Miracles happen, here they come finally back to Nashville in our new city owned outdoor venue right on the river in the heart of downtown Nashville surrounded by music bars, huge hotels, in the most vibrant part of Nashville. We disappointed them years ago I am sure. So will Nashville rise to the occasion? More importantly this is a small 6800 venue, we have seen the great shows they have done in New York and in Europe. Will they disappoint us?



When I bought my ticket through that stressful and expensive US fan presale, I lucked out with second row center, and rented the hotel closest to the venue to make it a real experience. But since then I got injured, back and hip in pain a lot, and then I developed an eye issue requiring surgery, meaning I could no longer drive and not see as well either. Well there goes the concert I thought but I did not give up -  I mean this is fucking Depeche Mode! So I rented two nights at hotel, got friends to transport me, extra medication for the pain etc and off I went. Because of my condition I could not go alone, and got a ticket from the venue on row 3 right behind me so I could take a strong male friend to help out. This should work, right? And with the presale lineup, ticket costs,  hotels, etc it only cost me nearly two thousand dollars to go. What? Yeah and I was laid off from work during this time too. But it is Depeche Fucking Mode FFS. Had to go. My favorite band, right here in my hands. Will Nashville live up to this? Will Depeche Mode deliver?

Nashville has changed drastically since the 90's, we still have our country music for sure but rock n roll has emerged strong, they keep calling us the "it" city with tons of people moving here every day, lots from New York and California, with emphasis on music and video. Our lazy downtown on the river has turned into something that resembles Las Vegas but without the gambling - a downtown party zone. The Ascend Amphitheater is positioned next to the river with magnificent views of the Nashville skyline all around. It is actually a city park except when concerts are there, and a nice intimate size for a rich concert experience, but I am pretty sure Depeche Mode is the biggest act they have had in their 2 year history. One of the managers actually said they were shocked to get the booking. Yeah, so were all of us too ! Down the street is the Bridgestone which holds over twenty thousand fans for concerts. But this small size made for a fabulous experience.



No I am not going to talk about any of the songs. So many reviews already, blogs, tweets, we know the setlist by heart and every piece of praise and every complaint about every single song. So I knew what I was going to hear and in which order too (although Martin surprised us with A Question Of Lust, thank you Martin !). And I have seen every single video of this tour so far. After seeing all those huge concerts in Europe and then New York, how can this small event in Nashville even compare? 

Oh hell they rocked Nashville till it hurt. I mean they KILLED us. And the crowd! Tons of out of town lifetime fans there as well as locals, a great mix. Due to the heat I sat out the opening act in the VIP lounge with air conditioning, then headed out in time for the boys to take the stage. I had made a sign that said "My First Depeche Mode Concert", not very big as the venue only allows signs the size of printer paper. So here I come hobbling on my cane with my friend carrying the fold up walker for me to use to support myself in case people are standing. WHAT? Did I think I was ever going to sit? More on that later. So first I was recognized by Depmode, who was the sender that evening for the relay on Home. Surely you all know about HOME and those cool concert relays. He even took a selfie with me and posted it (horrible photo of me). but what fun that was. Met several other forum folks too, Depeched sat next to me and one named Lillykiss from the past. As I was arranging my "cage" around my seat, just for fun I held up that sign I had made , turned towards the crowd and panned it across, and to my surprise I got this huge round of applause and cheers. Wow what fun was that ! More on that sign later too. Here come the boys.. How is Nashville going to react? 

Did I think I would ever sit? Hell no. The entire crowd was standing the second the drum beats started, even before Revolution started. And chanting, screaming, cheering, clapping. We sounded like the huge venues they had played and this kept up the entire concert. Some people dancing in the aisles (til security made they go back to seats), and sing, OMG it seemed everone knew the words to all the songs even "Heroes" and everyone sang. Loud. It was unbelievable, and I think the crowd really surprised the band, especially Dave. We carried on one of the fan refrains so long he finally asked if we had been watching the internet? Guess he thought Nashville would not know about the fan sing a longs. We sang till he had to cut us off. And the Martin songs, quite often sadly a bathroom break for some people, I did not see any one leave, we stood and sang with him and cheered and held up our hands for him. It was amazing and Marty looked really happy. 



Now about Dave. As you guys know me well, I am a big Dave addict. My personal Jesus would be putting it mildly. And I have seen every video of every concert. And here there is no catwalk, not a huge stage, so.....WOW. In person he is more than amazing. Much slimmer than I thought, he pranced across that stage in constant motion like a proud peacock, working that mic stand like crazy, talking to the audience, pointing at people and of course giving a lot of attention to the ladies up front (one of which was me). Let's get back to my sign. After the first 2 or 3 songs (wish I could remember, but I had to wait until there were lights on the fans) I held up the sign for the band to see. Dave saw it instantly, pointed at me with a big grin on his face and said something I could not hear. Home member depeched thinks she heard what Dave said when I held up that sign, something like "no longer a virgin" or she's a virgin. Yes I desperately want to find that video or photo. Pretty sure it was at the beginning of So Much Love.

Hoping someday I can find a photo of video of that moment. Crappy little sign I had made overnight on printer paper with a marker the hotel loaned me. Who would have thought? And what a special moment, the long time fan next to me ( a screamer by the way) turned to me and said "You got a shout out ! But with everyone screaming non stop for two hours, who could hear? Oh year, we gotta talk about sound.

The Ascend is noted for great sound in any seat and I think they live up to it. Quite often center front seats get blasted with so much that it is distorted. Not this time, sound was loud but fabulous, The only issue was on those few songs when Christian gets crazy on the drums and a few where there is very loud bass, the stage is on a concrete base connected to the concrete floor under our front seats so I mean I have never felt anything like that before. Not only the loudness of those moments,which I expected, but it vibrated in our chests I thought my ribs would shatter ! Kind of like an out-of-body experience. The sound was good the entire concert.



Notice I have had little to say about Fletch or Christian and Peter. The stage is so high for those up front I could just not see them that good (and using basically one eye as well), Fletch seemed to be into it though, and I could catch a glimpse of Peter and Christian in some songs. They all seemed to be enjoying this concert.

I had bought my first cell phone (seriously, never wanted one before with everyone in US with land lines), but I bought an iPhone 7Plus which is supposed to take fabulous videos, and I had intended on capturing the whole concert on video. Oops add another eight hundred dollars to the concert cost. Holy fuck these videos better be worth it. And then we realized as I am only 5 feet tall, and with the injury I could not hold the iPhone high enough so my friend had to hold it and do some of the recording. This phone comes with two built in cameras, so you can actually take a photo while also recording video, but alas he did not know how to properly use that feature, so we lost five songs, he started the video then went for a photo and the video stopped after about 5 seconds. Rats. But the ones we got are wonderful, at the bottom I have put the link to my Youtube page where they are loaded. And we also got some good photos on both phones which will get loaded later, but some are already on my facebook page.

Well guess I better talk about some of the songs anyway. After hearing months of complaints about various things in the setlist, the projections, etc. I was surprised. That split projection screen was actually pretty cool, although since I was sitting center it was lined up correctly. And the videos, funny but I did not find them distracting, maybe because I had seen them so many times on videos already. As to the setlist, there was not a weak song at all. Even songs that get bashed by old time fans were hits here in Nashville. I Feel You and A Pain That I'm Used To were just as popular as the others. Martin's songs got a better than average response as far as dancing and singing along I thought. The cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" was a crowd pleaser a well, again a lot of singing along but with some reverence. Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again, 2 of my all time favorites, seemed to also be 2 of the hottest for the crowd, but then this crowd loved every single song they performed. Which is why it is nearly impossible for me to review the songs, every song was just so good. 



I have to stop for a moment and say something about Depeche Mode fans. Never in my life have so many people I have never met in person reached out to me via this site, the HOME forum, on youtube, instagram, The Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos website, and then in person at the concert with so much support and love. I went to this concert really too injured, too medicated and too sick to even be sitting in my yard much less staying at a hotel alone and tackling a loud concert in humid heat, I actually almost fainted in the waiting line to get in; and were it not for all this support and love I might have never made it. There is no way I can say how much I love each and every one of you, all the fabulous Depeche Mode fans around the world included, I have So Much Love for you. In my dreams I would create a moment where all of us could meet at least for a moment and dance the night away together.

Back to the concert. Lots of emotions, my first ever time to see them in person, Had this been a year ago, I would have been the one dancing, knocking over chairs, prancing down the aisles, I would have gone nuts. Visions of panties being thrown on stage. So there is a tremendous sadness that life stepped in and dealt me some roadblocks to my ultimate happiness. Sure I am sad for what I could not do, what I could not feel, that I could not sing loud enough, or stand on my chair, or jump and dance and all the things everyone else was doing. But maybe that was my reward, by having to be more still, more "in the moment" within myself during the concert. I really "lived" the concert, it was like the music was not just on the stage, it was within me as well. And watching the band especially my dear Dave, I could "feel" his energy, his joy in performing. Although singing along, I could hear him singing not just with my ears but the words and the vocals seemed to also be in my heart, I felt truly some type of spiritual experience during some of the songs. Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again usually make me cry even here at home, or at least jump and sing and laugh. But there I could not experience them that way, and instead it was like I actually became part of the songs, I could look at those silly hot pink painted farm animals with Dave in front of them and suddenly they weren't silly at all, I actually "got it". Enjoy the Silence. Enjoy the Moment. Live each moment for what it is, even if it is looking at a hot pink bunny rabbit. 



I heard notes in the songs I never noticed before. I wanted to cry but was too dehydrated from the heat, no tears would flow. But in my heart I cried with sadness and happiness. I finally saw the band I love. The only band I ever want to listen to. All I ever wanted, All I ever needed is here in my arms. I got to see them, hear them, feel them, experience their joy in performing, and was surrounded by a large group of like-minded fans who danced for me since I could not. I want to be back there with them right now. Again and again. And now I understand why fans of this band travel thousands of miles during a tour to see them over. I get it. I would do it too if I could. And now I know when I go back and watch the videos from past tours I will see things I never saw before and hear things new to my ears. No longer will I "listen to" or "watch" Depeche Mode, now I will feel them, the music will go inside me, the videos will be more than pictures. As I watch each video I will re-live this one magical almost impossible night in Nashville Tennessee that has changed me in so many ways.

When I agreed to do this review, everyone asked me to review it as an experience, since there aren't many DM fans that have never been to a concert. So here's my experience. Nothing was going to keep away. The concert was a winner for everyone. The band won, they got a crowd better than I am sure they expected in a beautiful venue. The crowd sure won, a fabulous concert that will go down in history as one of Nashville's best concerts with a lot of people moaning for years "I should have gone". . I won over obstacles, nothing that life threw at me was going to keep me away from my Depeche Mode. I went there a Depeche Mode virgin. Only now two days later can I feel what I could not feel that evening. This is a great band. Not a good band, a great band. Growing up in the South I have lived with heavy Southern rock music , even worked a recording studio for a year or so, and record stores for years. But I have never seen a band like this one. Yes I loved the original Depeche Mode and stuck with them through all their trials and changes, always a fan, but still feeling they were lacking something, they had not reached their true identity, They for me had not peaked. They still had miles to travel. Well folks they are there. I have never seen a band so unique, so different, with so much more talent than most realize, the genius writing of Martin Gore, words to songs we all could live by; the almost impossible performance of Dave on stage with his now mature but beautiful voice, the ever- energizing and comforting presence of Fletch, there to guide us and let us know all is right. 



That night in Nashviille, Music City USA, I heard music as it should be, loud, strong, vibrant, energetic, just a magnificent concert. Depeche Mode came to Nashville to perform what I bet they thought was going to be a relaxing break before Texas. And they indeed seemed to be having a great time performing. But the fans had a different idea and when you mix the energy of fans with a talented band you get a performance of a lifetime. Some very seasoned music friends of mine said it was the best concert they had ever attended. Ever. Depeche Mode came to Nashville to perform a concert and instead they rocked Nashville so hard it hurt and we will never be the same. I know for sure I won't. 

Review respectfully submitted by Linda Dorland (DepecheModeLover), Nashville native. Inspiration for this review credited to Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher. May their songs continue forever.

Linda's Facebook album can be found here - CLICK

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What a great review. Thank you so much Linda.