Wednesday, 28 June 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, STADIO OLYMPICO, ROME, 25 JUNE 2017

This review has been written by Chris Snoddon from Belfast, a man who not only has great taste in music, but also in football teams. I really am kicking myself not not going to any of the outdoor Italian gigs as they all sound incredible and Chris really gets that across here in this great review. Thanks very much to Chris for writing this and thanks too to the team at Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos for once again letting me raid their stash of photos. 

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos FB group

It was decided after visiting the Stade de France during Tour of the Universe and the Olympic Stadium Berlin on the Delta Machine Tour that our gig list for the Global Spirit Tour should contain another behemoth of a stadium, and where better to go other than the great Stadio Olimpico in the Eternal city. I had dreamed of visiting this place ever since I witnessed my beloved Liverpool FC hold aloft the European Cup there in 1984, but really never had any great reason to be there until now.

After another day in the Roman sunshine of walking around on my already sightseeing obliterated feet. we decided to meet up around 5pm at the Scholar Irish Pub on Via del Plebiscito with Home board members Michael “Excitermode” Lyons and Mike “Coops” Cooper, along with a few others as it was close to the bus route that would eventually get us to the Stadio Olimpico. After a few pints and some bad timing where none of us actually met up, we had a rather crammed bus journey to the stadium where we disembarked and again headed for the beer stalls. The stadium itself was beautifully set within a backdrop of trees and we made our way past the Mussolini Obelisk to the entrance where everything was extremely casual and light hearted with security staff, before entering the Stadium via Curva Sud. 

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos FB group


As I went into the huge stadium I could still see a lot of the blue seats that were not being used as the Stage set up was placed to the right as I entered on the half way line and not at the usual goal end. This had the effect of rendering at least a quarter of the stadium unoccupied. Algiers had already been on and played their set by the time I made another quick beer stop and fortunately bumped into “Coops” and his partner Nic in the drinks line. Just as we had then started to manoeuvre ourselves into the best position we could at the “Fletch” side of the stage the intro started and the Roman crowd started to get excited. 

Going Backwards started us off in the sweltering heat with Dave and Martin both sounding glorious with their harmonising.  The energised So Much Love then set the crowd around us alight, not that we needed any encouragement. The set list continued as it has through 95% of the previous shows with all tracks, even Corrupt and Barrel Of A Gun, two sings that  some fans had wanted removed from the set list getting great receptions. World In My Eyes as always proved to be a real crowd pleaser and Dave sounded really strong through In Your Room where I focused on him and not the detracting video accompaniment. The band were very tight and have really got to the top of their game with Martin confidently performing A Question Of Lust and Home to the jubilant masses who filled the air with sound at the final sing along. 

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos FB group


Poison Heart made the mood slightly subdued after Martin's segment, but that soon rectified itself with a fantastic rendition of Where's the Revolution, the crowd now at this stage of the tour fulfilling their duty to boom out the chorus at the end at Dave's request. My personal highlights of the tour so far followed with the creepy new start to Wrong and the tech'd up Everything Counts before the crowd pleasers Stripped and a monumental Enjoy The Silence worked the Romans into a frenzy. 

By this stage and having known the set list and what was to follow I was already hyper at the prospect of throwing my arms about from side to side like a complete lunatic and, as always, Never Let Me Down Again didn’t disappoint. With its anthemic finale and Dave manning the catwalk, the atmosphere was electric and this is one of the key reasons probably thousands of us Mode fans keep coming back time and time again for more. For me anyway, it's like a drug that I cannot get enough of, with an urge to keep experiencing over and over again. I was certainly not left deflated on his occasion. 

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos FB group

Martin returned for the encore with Somebody, a track that had mobile phone lights held aloft and then the newly intro'd Walking in my Shoes lifted the audience even further again. Bowie's mid paced “Heroes” was beautifully performed and then the two final tracks livened up the gig even more. An energised I Feel You and the magnificent Personal Jesus sent the audience into musical ecstasy. The lights came on and we waited to all meet together and watched the rush that then came for the exit gates. It was surreal watching 50 odd thousand trying to get out of the stadium at once. When we finally got outside the wait for the bus was agonising until we realised it was after midnight and no buses would be coming. Unfortunately for me and my friends, the walk back to Trastevere from the Stadio Olimpico wasn't a pleasant one, not for my feet anyway. 

That however can never take away what was for me a wonderful experience in the Italian capital with a great crowd and utterly fantastic performance by the band.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Chris!

3 comments:

  1. This was my 10th DM gig, my second outside of the UK (previous was Milan, in 2005) and my 2nd outdoor gig (after Crystal Palace).

    Strangely, despite being further from the stage than ever before, the whole experience was absolutely phenomenal. The sound quality was crystal clear, volume was just right, and the videos were a godsend - given that I was so far away - and not the distraction that I was anticipating from previous reviews.

    Personal highlights were not what I expected : In Your Room, Everything Counts and Home : all three brought a surprising lump to my throat.

    The Italian crowd is great - they have no reservations.

    I'd spent an hour earlier that day camped outside the band's hotel (Hotel De Russie) and was rewarded with a brief sighting of Peter, Christian, Fletch and a 'slight interaction' with Martin (spoiled by his surly bodyguard who refused me a selfie!)

    Ever since 1998 I've always assumed each gig will be their last, but they defy expectations and keep returning. I'll be surprised if they're doing this all again in 2021, but if they are, I'll be there. And Rome is as good a place as any to see them at their best.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment - sounds like you had a great time. Like you, I'll be in Italy in 4 years time!

    ReplyDelete