Thursday, 20 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, OTKRITIE ARENA, MOSCOW, 15 JULY 2017

This review has been written by Mariah Perezhogina who lives in Moscow. Everything I've read about the show so far says it was an excellent gig and Mariah's review confirms that, giving you a real taste of what it felt like to be in the crowd that night. I think we have our first full on Dave Devotee here too - or at least the first person to write about it! One of the really cool things about this project has been the amount of interest people have had in writing for it and Mariah's blog is as good example as any of why I'm enjoying this. Thanks very much Mariah. Thanks once again too to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook group who are not only dealing with the increased attention following Michael Rose's great Takeover day, but are also having to put up with my continually pilfering pics.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Holy Communion In Moscow 15.07.2017

This Saturday was perfect for the show. Warm enough, a little cloudy, meaning that people came to the stadium to queue in the morning. I was there at 2 PM and my number was… 271. 

Everything was well organized. The crew was friendly, helpful, we enjoyed every single minute. 

For the moment DM came to the stage - at 8.30 – the atmosphere of friendship and pure delight was everywhere. Even among security. People of different ages attended fan-zone, talking to each other before the performance. And then the show began…

As is now traditional on this tour, the show started with the leisurely pace of Going Backwards. The crowd burst into screams from the first note. DM had their classic very-serious-look. “Red-shoed” and “crimson-jacketed” Dave, appeared at the stage. The mood of Going Backwards and its bright culmination perfectly led to the So Much Love. To my mind, (after having attended almost 30 Depeche live performances) the sound on the stadium Otkrytie Arena was the best. Even in the fan-zone.

So Much Love. Right. Very rousing. “Unjacketed” Dave drives everyone crazy. And we love the way he moves for us tonight)) So much love around – nothing else to say. Just… “Thank you! Hello, Moscow!” I always appreciated the fact DM never say a word in other languages. Kind of “thank you” or “hello”. Always in English. I do respect it.

The videos made for these two songs were incredible  - both very stylish concepts.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

After a couple of new songs, the 20-year-old Barrel Of A Gun arrives. True fans went absolutely bananas. Hard, emotional with Dave showing his excellent shape! A Pain That I’m Used To seems aq logical song to follow BOAG. After that, the crowd is ready – time to serve up something special. Next dish is on the go: delicious and sexy Corrupt and In Your Room. The most difficult thing is to decide whether to look at the band (at Dave mostly) or at the screen with IYR's passionate and sensual video showing the dancing couple.

One of the most recognizable songs – World In My Eyes – such a lively hit helps to forget about the tears in my eyes (after In Your Room don’t judge me). I wish Dave could be my personal dance coach…

Everybody was really excited about Cover Me. The video connects with the good old themes of Enjoy The Silence, the song with its increasing tension, stadium full of lights… absolute joy for us.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group

We then came to the traditional Martin slow part: time-proved touching and warming ballads A Question of Lust  and Home. Comments not needed. The stadium holds its breath, thousands of lights still burning (45 000 people came to the show so imagine) while the sky is getting dark. Martin’s shy smile is priceless. Later when we were following the crowd to the metro station, this huge crowd was singing Home. Significant.

“Scarlet-waistcoated” Dave comes back with a Poison Heart and Where’s The Revolution. Fans prepared big and small red flags for WTR. Some hold their cell phones up with red screens. Even some girls were wearing red shirts. I’m not sure Dave had an opportunity to appreciate the preparations… He was far back on the stage at the screen. 

After that it was time for rock action – Wrong. Explosion. Great to hear this masterpiece from 2009. Performing was passionate as… never. Fan-zone went totally crazy. Everything Counts finished us off! People didn’t try to record, they were dancing. I’ve never seen so many people dancing together. Respectable gentlemen were shaking their hands and butts – can you imagine?)

Stripped. Dave unfortunately didn’t let us see him stripped down to his pants. I always wanted to know: how many people sing “Let me see you stripped down to the balls”? Am I the only one? Anyone else?

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

The predictable classics Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again didn’t let us down of course. And we didn’t let DM down too. Despite the fact they were tired – it was obvious – the energy flew like water from the stage. Dave was everywhere: next to every member of the band, at the screen, on the runway. Three  T-shirt gun shots from the runway – three happy and proud possessors of special T-shirts.

Somebody. Martin’s voice is hypnotizing, seriously. Moment of magic, you find it hard to breathe with this song. The guy standing next to me started shouting: “It’s my wedding song! We will dance at our wedding next week!! To this song!!!” Well, congratulations, what could I say.

That was followed by "Heroes"  which Dave sang perfectly. He made this gesture... Like to keep calm. Not to scream. He wanted silence. And in the end... It started raining. Dave was looking into the sky... Marvelous.

I Feel You was like an orgasm for my ears. Walking In My Shoes with the video-clip - I was amazed. Personal Jesus… a killer. Warm hugs by Dave… The whole world stops, you see it like in time lapse. It that all? Finished? Maybe some more? No? Why? Ok, see you next time. Will there be a next time? Yes))

Before the performance began we had an official information about another tour date announced – 02/25/2018. We are going to have one more show in Moscow. Just imagine our happiness!

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Thank you so much Mariah.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, SKK, ST PETERSBURG, 13 JULY 2017

After a quick post festival break, Depeche Mode returned to live action at St Petersburg's SKK in front of a capacity sold out crowd of 25,000. Polina Lipezina was there and she wrote this great review for The Global Spirit Tour Project. Thanks very much to Polina for this and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group for letting me run riot with their hard work.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

It seems like there is more emotion than a detailed concert description down here! It’s a pretty strange contradiction: I don’t really like St Petersburg much, but the opposite is true when it comes to the concerts in this city. On the Delta Machine tour my favourite concert ended up right in this place. This Thursday, July 13th, it was really warm in St Petersburg and that was great news for all of us who came to the concert early in the morning. We were relaxing on the grass, talking about everything in the world, sometimes connecting things to what we all came for: Depeche Mode. Despite having early entrance tickets, we ended up really exhausted due to the slow and horrible delays getting into the venue. Eventually, we finally entered the concert hall, to be greeted by quite a surprise. Having entered an indoor area, no one would ever imagine that you might need an umbrella and raincoats… this time they were a must! The rain, that had started outside, had soaked through the roof into the concert hall 30 minutes after the crowd was let inside. The roof was leaking! It was embarrassing and it was scary because it could have caused the concert to be cancelled. I hope with their future tours Depeche Mode will never use this horrendous concert hall! I doubt there will be any repairs or changes done to it anyway. But let us return to the main part happening inside this piece of Soviet architecture…

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

After a wait of approximately 1 and a half hours after the crowd was let in, Maya Jane Coles walked onto the stage, playing on this tour for the first time. During the concert in this venue on the Delta Machine tour, the crowd kept shouting out “Depeche Mode!” during the warm-up, which was pretty disrespectful towards the warm-up band. This evening, they were better behaved. Maya was radiating with light and love towards everything she does. Whatever she did made you close your eyes and dissolve in sounds. In some moments, I caught myself thinking that I didn’t want it to end. On this tour I heard all the warm-up bands, except for Horrors, fell in love with Algiers, but Maya… I cannot state as a fact that Maya was better than Algiers, they are all different and cool, but on July the 13th she gave us 40 minutes of awesomeness.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Despite that, later on we had a much bigger thing to come. I know that for some people the centre of attraction is Martin. They cannot take their eyes off him for two hours straight, following his guitar swapping and his keyboard playing for the whole show.  For me though,  the hero, this center of attraction, unsurprisingly, is Dave. But St Petersburg has changed everything this time. This is the first concert where I saw not only Dave on stage, and this is surprising. It’s surprising for myself. I was standing right across from Martin and he looked incredible. Everything he was doing was with great love (yes, that’s a revelation to me). David was amazing of course. He was obviously in high spirits, I’ve never seen him smile so much!. But I have to point out that there were less pole dances and other wigglings… There was a tape on Dave’s lower back… Please get well! 

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
From the point where I was standing, I could also see Jez’s work, who diligently tuned guitars and additionally swapped them for Martin. At one point,  Kessler and then Jennifer showed up. Sometimes it’s really interesting to look inside the little corner of the band’s world, even though you’re just standing in a fan zone. The Setlist didn’t bring any surprises (could there be any on the final 6 tour concerts?), but is anyone upset by that? There were a couple of moments I’d like to point out. First was Dave’s catwalk scene during Everything Counts  where he was tapping with his foot to the rhythm of the drums, just like in Just Can't Get Enough on the previous tour. Has it happened even before this time? Sccondly,  in the fan zone there was a girl who that night came to Depeche Mode concert for the first time. She said, it was long awaited dream - during Going Backwards she was standing full of tears… Dreams do come true.


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Thank you very much Polina. 


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, NOS ALIVE FESTIVAL, LISBON, 8 JULY 2017

Depeche Mode's second festival headline slot of the Global Spirit Tour took them to Lisbon for the NOS Alive Festival which also featured the likes of Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes and the XX. A diverse line up but there's only one real winner there ;) Yvette Trubuill from Birmingham was there to review the gig for the blog and unfortunately, the show she saw was beset with a few sound and visual issues. I guess that's the downside of a festival perhaps. One thing I wanted to capture in this series is the full range of experiences a concert goer gets and, like Rachel's Bratislava post (here), Yvette's lets us see the other side of the likes of my usual "Oh my God best band ever" nonsense! Thanks very much for the great read Yvette and enjoy Warsaw. Thanks too as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group for letting me roam their archives stealing pictures.

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Saturday in Lisbon started out grey and overcast but still warm, a perfect day to go and see Depeche Mode. Seeing Depeche Mode in glaring sunshine really does not seem right. 

We got to NOS Alive at about 5pm and wandered around. There didn't seem to be many Depeche Mode fans around at this point just the odd person in a t-shirt. At around 6.30 we spotted Kessler and an entourage appear through a backstage gate and walk off into the crowd. Probably off looking for counterfeit t-shirts!!

As the evening wore on and the sun went down it became more noticeable that Depeche Mode were there. More and more black clad people were appearing and the DM t-shirts were much more apparent.

Imagine Dragons were the last band before DM and the singer, Dan Reynolds, told the crowd what an honour it was to play on the same stage as 'the greatest band in the world'. He cited DM as being an influence on the band. I thought this was a lovely gesture and befitting Depeche Mode's status as an influential band. Imagine Dragons were very popular among the crowd especially the younger members so as they came off stage there was a massive retreat of people. So we decided to move forward to try to get a good viewing point. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group

I'm just over 5' tall so getting a spot to see clearly is always difficult. We walked down the right hand side of the crowd and worked our way in and found the perfect spot where I could see clearly without having to rely on the screens. The excitement was building.... just 10 mins to go... Revolution started and we were getting closer....

Depeche Mode walked out on stage and the place erupted! Going Backwards started up and so did the most vomit inducing bass line. It completely drained out Dave's voice and everything but the drums. Thought at first it was just sound teething problems but when Barrel of a Gun started it got worse. Dave's vocal was completely lost and the bass was making me feel quite ill so we decided to move and headed a bit more into the centre to see if the sound improved. 

Moving improved the sound slightly but I gave up my clear view and was now relying on the screens. A Pain that I'm Used To was so much better sound wise although the bass problems were still evident. It was at this point that it became very obvious that the live screens were actually running slightly behind the band. While this can lead to some funny moments it can also be very frustrating to someone relying on them to watch the band. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

In Your Room and World In My Eyes were faultless as ever. Cover Me was superb, it's my favourite song from Spirit, so I was really pleased that they'd kept it in for the shortened set. Dave's vocal was spot on again. Then it was Martin's turn - I had my fingers crossed for Judas and I got it. It was fantastic, loved every second of it This was the first song that the sound was perfect and didn't have the horrendous bass drowning out parts of it for obvious reasons. It was superb and I was so glad he sang it. 

I'm sure everyone knows it was Fletch's birthday so we all sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday at this point and he seemed very happy about it. The whole band were full of smiles, they all seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves. 

Where's the Revolution is better live than on record I think, and once again was great. Dave really seems to enjoy singing it and the crowd really got behind him too. I suppose with every shortened set list there will be something that you wish was included instead of what was chosen and I would have preferred Corrupt to Wrong. I've never been the biggest fan of Wrong to be honest, but it makes perfect sense to leave a single release in rather than an album track when you are playing a festival. I can't fault the delivery of it though. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Everything Counts, Stripped, Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again - these were the ones that most people are waiting for and they didn't disappoint. The crowd were singing along and giving it their all. There obviously were a lot of people who were not there for Depeche Mode, that's the nature of a festival, but they caught on to the arm waving during NLMDA quickly enough and made it feel like a gig full of Devotees.

Encore time: Martin gave another superb performance of Home, giving it his all as always. The screen film for Walking In My Shoes is fantastic on this tour, it's so good in fact that I find myself watching it rather than Depeche Mode themselves. A perfect film for this song with the perfect sentiment. Then we had the stomping finale of I Feel You and Personal Jesus. I love how they decided to play Personal Jesus as it was meant to be. The loss of the extended beginning is for me a plus. And then they were gone......

Depeche Mode were fantastic but the bass sound problems, which continued throughout the performance, and the screens running slower disappointed me. I have watched the show again and the sound problems are not obvious. It may have been just where we were standing but there was definitely a problem with the right hand speaker stack. It sounded like someone was beatboxing over most of the performance. It is however obvious on full views of the stage that the screens were lagging and for someone like me who relies on the screens it is frustrating. These problems put a downer on the show for me which is a shame but I was still glad to have been there and seen Depeche Mode again. 

On the way back to the hotel I got a text from a Portuguese friend who was working on the smaller Heinekin stage to say he had managed to get backstage on the large stage that DM played on and got me a setlist which me very happy. 

Yvette's setlist

My next show will be Warsaw where I have a seated ticket and so will hopefully have a clear view at last.

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Thanks very much Yvette.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, BBK LIVE FESTIVAL, BILBAO, 6 JULY 2017

Today's review comes courtesy of Brian Doyle from Dublin who spent what seems to have been a wonderful weekend at Bilbao's BBK Festival, one night of which saw Depeche Mode headlining. Brian is a member of the rather wonderful Amalgamated Wonders Of The World whose dark electronic ambient meets drone music you really must check out - https://amalgamatedwondersoftheworld.bandcamp.com/ . Thanks very much to Brian for this great review and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook group for letting me grab their pictures for my benefit. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group


Arrived in Bilbao Wednesday evening, Depeche scheduled to play Main Stage Thursday night, the first of three nights at Bilbao’s annual music festival, capacity 35,000, 12,000 of which are camping, and has been running since 2006. Taxi from the airport directly to the gates of the Boutique Camping 400 metres at the top of a mountain overlooking the BBK Live Festival and the beautiful Bilbao Valley.

Wednesday night was chats and whisky with some very pleasant festival goers from Tel-Aviv, Tennessee plus two young American Air Force guys, all excited about seeing Depeche Mode for the first time. They quickly organised and officially anointed me DM#1 as I have been to every tour since Black Celebration and I know ALL the words. We bonded & vowed to get close to the stage, enough to see the white of their eyes. Crowned.

Thursday we availed ourselves of the free bus service from the top of the mountain to the city below for a walk around Bilbao and in particular to see the Guggenheim Museum where Jeff Koon’s ‘Puppy’ was on guard outside and watched every morsel we ate for lunch in the glorious warmth of the northern Spanish sun. After a refreshing cold shower and beer back on the top of the mountain we entered the venue around 6pm and found a sweet spot in dappled sunlight under the trees at the rave in the woods where Honey Soundsystem were playing big lazy beats and expectant tripped out sounds. We built sculptures from branches and twigs before heading off to check out Austra, checked out of Austra and had some tasty foods and another beer from the multitude of queueless convenient bars.

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

I had patrolled the venue earlier that evening to listen for a good position to hear DM from, preferably were we could also see the stage. All stages at the festival are without doubt the loudest I have ever experienced and I did not want my DM with any overspill of noise from other stage. Location location location secured, we waited for the night to fall and just as the last of the rose tinted sky faded to black the band came on. We were one third away from the stage slightly Fletch side. The side screens were out of synch with the sound so I avoided looking at them and focused on the stage. The band were in top form by the third song and the new projections were all fantastic. The set list is infamous to all at this stage but I love each and every moment. I had avoided ALL spoilers so was well surprised. The festival crowd are used to listening to and watching a wide variety of other acts and reacted to every word, beat, wiggle, wave, touch, crotch grab, rabbit, chicken, spaceman and transsexual as you would presume an expectant audience would. Ecstatic.

The set was tight and lean with some exclusions from their regular show as is common at a festival. Highlight for me was perhaps Everything Counts, perfect explosive music for midnight at a festival, plus all the standards updated and well executed. Our five year old son asks me to sing him to sleep with Somebody which I have done all his life. Enjoy The Silence is a reminder of a bout of narcissism I was once proud of. I Feel You is simply an all-time all time live favourite. The songs played tonight from the latest album are pure and honest, even important, and sound as such. Without religion we need all the considered and thoughtful parables one can muster in preparation for ‘the world we live in and life in general’. Depeche Mode deliver, they are possibly the best they have ever sounded in my humble opinion, psychedelic can finally be surely and truly added to Depeche Mode’s amassed collection of genre allocations. My clearest memory of the show, my take home postcard souvenir is of a red and green hungry pig staring at me, staring like I was a rasher, or a rasher lover, I cannot be certain, but he was on to me for sure.


Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group
We scored big time at the rave in the woods just after DM ended and the rest is superstars.

The Avalanches were top fun, Justice had their problems but blew me away regardless, Gus Gus were to die for, and finally, for that first of three nights, The Black Madonna played an acapella version of the almost perfect Cover Me and once again we were floating in space.

Day Two: I know, right!?! After a quiet restful day on a picnic blanket napping under the trees Fleet Foxes at 8pm took us back to a warm and loving Woodstock for a bit, The Killers played their songs, Royal Blood proved they are real royalty and finally just before 2am Trentemoller provided another perfect festival moment with his new show sounding more like The Cure than The Cure do. His band play a blistering tripped out combo of riffs from I Feel You into Personal Jesus with a touch of Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime. Complete. Thick mist descends on the mountain festival and we make our weary but wired way back to Boutique Camping in zero visibility. Final beer and a smoke as warped DJ sounds of Sylvester & Human League waft up the valley. Heaven.

The Mist

Day Three: Awake with Depeche Mode on my mind. Spend the overcast day with Depeche Mode on my mind. WTF just happened!?! How, when and where can I see them again ASAP!?! But the legend that is Brian Wilson in the evening sun distracts me away from DM dreams to actually living the dream, Brian announces “this is the best song I ever wrote” and God Only Knows reminds how privileged we all are with our city skipping country hopping festival tripping lives. This bliss is sustained throughout Andrew Weatherall’s immaculate set and Die Antwoord on the Main Stage at 2am takes me right back to fond memories of early days of rave and first highs with their explosive retro futuristic bombastic act before finally succumbing again to the gospel according to Andrew Weatherall. Amen.

To my travelling companions, my friends –

Thanks KateKate for being my Somebody.

Thanks Caomhan & Thiago for Having Big Fun.

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Thanks very much again Brian. Remember to go and check out Amalgamated Wonders Of The World 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, VELTINS ARENA, GELSENKIRCHEN, 4 JULY 2017

A huge indoor Depeche show in Germany is only ever going to be a good thing and the Veltins Arena is a place made for a gig on the Global Spirit Tour. Mark Henderson is today's guest reviewer and he's written a wonderful blog - make sure you go and tell him how much you loved in on Twitter where you'll find him hiding as @MNH1974 . It seems that Mark's trip was destined to be a good one the second he checked into a rather special hotel room. Thanks very much Mark.

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook group

The background 

By way of a very short introduction, I’ve been a DM fan since 1990, with my first show being the band’s final performance of World Violation on 27 Nov 1990 at Birmingham. I’ve seen on every tour since, but only on the Delta Machine Tour did I finally manage to a) see them in mainland Europe (at Stade de France), and b) see them more than once on a tour. That’s something I was determined to repeat on the current tour. 

The (bad) planning 

My wife isn’t a fan, so last October I asked my usual “gig partner” if he fancied a DM Euro trip. Despite him not being a DM fan, or even knowing many songs, he kindly agreed, and we settled on Paris as our destination (easy to get to, somewhere he hadn’t been before). Having booked tickets and flights, he then realised he couldn’t attend the show after all! However, he still wanted to go somewhere, so I booked tickets for Gelsenkirchen - the show after Paris. Lucky me, two shows instead of one - it would entail a rather busier few days than I’d planned, but so what, it’s Depeche Mode, right...? 

The build-up 

Having returned from Paris (amazing show) on the Sunday night, we flew out to Dusseldorf on Monday evening. Being given Room 101 at our hotel was certainly a positive start! 


After a moderately quiet evening, we then took the train to Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday lunchtime, arriving there early afternoon. Following a relaxing couple of beers in our hotel terrace garden, we set off to find a bar in town to sink a few more before show time. Gelsenkirchen has bars and restaurants, but (with the greatest of respect) it isn’t exactly in the league of Dusseldorf (aka “the longest bar in the world”). However, within 5 minutes, we noticed a small bar up a side street near the main train station...and much to my excitement, there were DM fans standing outside. We made straight for it. I think this bar is called “Rosi” and is situated on the corner of Weberstrasse; it’s quite small but cool, and they were playing DM songs continuously. We ordered beers and soaked up the atmosphere as more fans arrived. One or two had specially-made t-shirts (e.g. “Schalke04 101”) and the excitement was palpable. About an hour had passed when one fan told me “nice shirt”, in reference to my 1993 Devotional t-shirt; thankfully, he spoke excellent English and we had a nice chat. Tom (or Thom?) was originally from Gelsenkirchen and was justifiably pleased that DM were finally performing in his home town. 

Mark on right

Pre-concert 

After a few more drinks, we made our way to the stadium (which was easy - on the 302 service, and our hotel even gave us free transport passes). We arrived at the Veltins Arena at round 7pm. I was a little surprised that there weren’t many pop-up bars outside, and had to queue for quite some time to get drinks. However, the access through security etc. was very smooth, and we took our places in the general standing area at around 8pm. I liked this stadium – it’s big but had quite an intimate feel, and having a roof helped with the lightshow. I’ve also noticed that there seems to be more thought going into how well fans can see the stage – so there were certain seating sections not being used at the back (also the case in Paris). 

The floor area was filling up nicely (we were further back than in Paris, slight shame but no big deal). Algiers had already begun performing – maybe it was our distance from the stage but they didn’t seem to connect quite as well as in Paris. I liked them, though – very confident performers and the singer has a powerful voice. 

The stadium continued to fill up, and the Charity Water / Hublot video appeared; the cheers went up. I was then asked again about my t-shirt, by a nice lady who enquired what year it was from (I always thought Dave’s long hair gives a good clue..?) Then the techno songs helped to build up the crowd to fever pitch until round 8:50pm, when the Beatles Revolution kicked in (when I first heard this song was being used, I had misgivings, but I actually enjoyed it – if anything, it acts like a “last call” for any fans not yet in the arena). 

Mark and that t-shirt - left

The show 

I doubt I could ever truly do justice to what may have been the best concert I have ever been to. The show itself wasn’t necessarily any better than Paris, but the crowd here were like none I’ve ever experienced before. From the opening beats of the intro, it seemed like the whole crowd were on their feet – at some other gigs you might see the fans in seats dancing after, maybe, the halfway point, but here they were up from the start and just never sat down! There were even girls sitting on friends’ shoulders near us. My dream of experiencing a German crowd had come true and they definitely did not disappoint! 

Much has already been written about the setlist, songs, etc, so at the risk of repeating anything, here are some brief thoughts:- 

· Intro: the beats, then the bass kicks in....just perfect – simple but so effective. 

· Going Backwards: I love how Dave pops up on his balcony. Proper showmanship. This is such a good opener, their best in years I think. 

· So Much Love: good choice from the album, which keeps the momentum going. 

· Barrel Of A Gun: an example of how confident they are in what (I think) is a pretty great setlist – it ebbs and flows, with faster and slower songs. Same goes for Wrong and..... 

· ....Corrupt: such a curveball, in a way. Putting the final album track from 2 records ago into a new set? Hell, why not, it’s a great tune 

· In Your Room: at last, the best version, hurray! 

· World In My Eyes: love the new intro and the whole song sounds better, more “electronic” than on the last couple of tours. 

· Cover Me: love the album version, but takes on a whole new vibe in the live arena. One of those songs where, towards the climax, you feel something really magical is happening, like the whole crowd is “going” somewhere, if that makes sense.... 

· A Question Of Lust/Home: lovely versions, the crowd sang every word and the usual post-Home chant was tremendous. 

· Poison Heart: nice but also short enough to ensure there isn’t too much of “lull” at this stge. 

· Where’s the Revolution: I do like this song, but at this point in the show it didn’t seem to quite have the “oomph” to get it going. Maybe putting it earlier in the set might be better? 

· Everything Counts: brilliant. The new intro is wonderful. Crowd went NUTS for this. 

· Stripped/Enjoy The Silence/Never Let me Down Again: powerful crowd-pleasers. Incredible arm-waving and the t-shirt gun came out. 
"
· WIMS: catchy new intro is seemingly already a crowd favourite, being chanted by them after the song has finished....video quite mesmerising too. 

· "Heroes": a slow-burner but a lovely performance, with Dave blowing a kiss skywards at the end. 

· I Feel You: a good example (particularly for my rock-loving friend) of just how powerful a live act DM are. The bass and drums were absolutely off the scale and left the arena shaking. 

·Personal Jesus: awesome finish. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook Group


After the bows and hugs, Dave left the stage with an amusing “call me on my mobile” gesture to the crowd. 

The stage videos were pretty good, and I didn’t find them off-putting or anything; but I’m happier just watching the band, really. 

The band is on terrific form. They seem to be playing with more purpose and intensity, for example by cutting out those previously over-long instrumental parts in certain songs. They’re clearly enjoying themselves a lot – Dave is absolutely flying, in fine voice and full of energy. 

My friend thought it was the best stadium show he’d been to. Result! 

Post-gig 
Back we went into Gelsenkirchen, and to (my new favourite bar) Rosi...quite a few fans came back for what was the local after-show party; they had a good dance while we sat outside and chilled out with a few more drinks. No idea when closing time was! 

On Wednesday we travelled back to Dusseldorf and kept the post-gig blues at bay by visiting some bars in the Altstadt that night (and into the next morning) – Dusseldorf is such a great city, whether you want cool and trendy or loud and silly... 

We flew back to Leeds on Thursday night - which rounded off a pretty intense week for me, but one which I would happily re-live again and again. 

So there you have it. This review is honest, but unashamedly positive – I’m thankful DM are still here, every gig feels special to me and I just hope there are more to come for me... 

Danke Gelsenkirchen, danke Dusseldorf, und danke Depeche Mode!


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Thanks very much Mark. Yet ANOTHER gig for me to add to my must do list next tour



Monday, 3 July 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, LETZIGRUND STADION, ZURICH, 18 JUNE 2017

This review has been written by Jan Cvengros, a long time friend of mine on the wonderful Home forum. We've had a few technical issues hence the Zurich review appearing later in the running order here, but it's been worth waiting for. Thanks very much to Jan for the great review and pictures - enjoy everyone.



I love the gigs taking place in the city, where I currently live. You do not have to bother with the flight and the hotel. You just take the tram and in 20 minutes you are at the venue. The weather on Sunday June 18 was just great. Maybe more than enough. Cloudless sky, searing sun and queueing in black clothes are certainly a killer combination. But not for me. I took shorts, white shirt and a cap but the devotion (or obsession?) of some Depeche Mode fans still keeps me astonished. Black attire was everywhere and I even spotted some leather jackets (temperature certainly reached at least 35 °C). I came to the venue just before noon and got my number from an Italian girl, who was there since 6 AM. Being number 11 seemed fine to me. The queueing passed actually quite fast, I met a couple of old friends and got to know some new people. It was great to meet Claudia (Miss Kaleid) from Milan and Glyn (Spooks) from Geneva again. Hard to believe, but 8 years ago, the three of us and Giacomo (Last Violator) made a car trip from Zurich to Luxembourg for the warm up gig of the Tour of the Universe.

As the gig is pretty much same everywhere, I would like to write a bit more about other aspects of the concert. Glyn had an early entrance ticket, which he still had to pick up at 1 PM. We came to the Live Nation stand just before one and Glyn got his number from German fans, who actually spend the night in front of the stadium. Well, so you pay 200 Euro or so to be first in the venue, yet you still spend the whole day and night to be even “more first”. Hmmmmm, what comes next? 

But there is other thing I wanted to point out. Glyn got number 36 and he was one of the last ones that came there on time to really secure the front row spot (i.e. die-hard fans creating a great atmosphere in the front section). There were altogether 200 EE-tickets available and the remaining owners of the tickets actually came as late as possible. As they had to pass our gate on their way from the Live Nation stand to their entrance to the stadium, it was easy to recognize their shining Early-Entrance badges hanging on their necks. Most of them passed just before the entrance time and they looked, hmm let me think, just not to offend anybody, they looked like someone, who has nothing to do with Depeche Mode but can easily afford expensive tickets. And that is what I truly loath about the current ticket policy.

Approximately 200 of the Early Entry Ticket holders just before entering the stadium

The whole event was perfectly organized and I know what I’m talking about as the organization in Bratislava a few weeks earlier was a massive catastrophe as the crowd dashed towards the front section without any security or ticket check. In Zurich we just had no choice. Enter slowly, pass the security and walk toward the front section. I love the Letzigrund stadium, which is not a massive building as it is buried in the ground. That means that when you enter the venue from the street, you find yourself actually at the top tiers and you have to walk downstairs to get to the standing area. A rather unexpected thing happened right after we got in. The entrance was at the side of the stage, so I thought, it will be a short run. Well, the security sent us to the other end of the venue to take the stairs down to the pitch and then back to the stage again. It was a decent distance and not very fair to those, who did not expect any sporting event. When I hit the front section as the first from our gate, the early entry folks were already there centered mostly in front of Dave’s mic, at the end of the catwalk and in the corner in front of Fletch. Yet there were some free spots on the catwalk. I chose the right side somewhere in the middle of the catwalk. 

The sun kept on shining also inside of the venue but the time passed pretty fast. I certainly belong to biggest critics of any warm-up bands and I never truly understood, what is the point of sending a band with a club experience to a stadium gig, where they get completely lost. Over the years I can hardly think of a band at the DM gig that would make the waiting for DM enjoyable. So naturally, I had the worst expectations also in Zurich, but Algiers had some good tunes and a couple of good tracks. They could just cut the lengthy instrumental parts and the man at the keyboard/bass should get his limbs under control but otherwise it was pretty good. 

The final half an hour before Depeche Mode pretty much suggested what to expect during the gig. The crowd was quiet and reserved, enjoying the drinks and chatting. It is just not in the nature of the local people to create an atmosphere similar to those in Italy or Eastern Europe. An atmosphere, that is so important for the overall experience at the Depeche Mode concert. After living in this country for some time now, I would say it’s like the Swiss people think: I have paid for the ticket, you make the show. Don’t expect anything from me. It’s not my job.

Finally! The band is on stage

There was an uproar as the band entered the stage and there was a reaction from the crowd every time Dave suggested, that he can’t hear anything. But otherwise the audience was very reserved, including the front section. First I thought, it might be just me, but various fans in different areas expressed the same opinion. This was obvious during the sing-alongs on Home or Everything Counts. The miserable efforts faded before they even properly started. Despite that, Dave was in great shape giving his best and he tried really hard to motivate the audience. He did his usual show repeating the now well-rehearsed set of events (going to the catwalk on the same songs, going to the screen on the same songs, going to Christian’s kit on the same songs …). Depeche worked like a well-oiled machine and it only screeched once as the trio at the keyboard (well just one of them, guess which one) screwed a simple tune at the end of Everything Counts. Even Dave noticed that and send an ironic comment to the band from the catwalk. You can see it in this video starting at 5:50 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LPb7LJKK58.

On the catwalk

My overall impression compared to the gig in Bratislava did not change much. The setlist works fine, the highlight remains the second part of the gig after Martin’s two-track intermezzo. For me it was not Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence or Never Let Me Down Again but Wrong and Everything Counts, which create together an incredibly powerful combo. I also still feel that the encore just does not work well. Martin’s slow track, a disturbing and distracting projection on Walking in My Shoes, a non-Depeche track, exploding-drums-remix of I Feel You and a compulsory Personal Jesus just did not manage to crown the concert. And if you missed it in the previous sentence, I want to emphasize again that Christian’s fight with the drums was unusually loud and pretty unbearable. We could hardly hear Dave’s singing. Please get rid of that song. 

The concert and the whole day passed incredibly fast. And it was a great day with beautiful weather and the greatest band in the world. However, the older I am, the less urge I feel to go to other gigs just for sake of going to more gigs. It might be the missing element of surprise at DM shows that is responsible for my lack of excitement. Or maybe the age. But when the band comes back to Europe in the autumn, you can be sure I will not miss them.

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, STADE DE FRANCE, PARIS, 1 JULY 2017

There are few bigger dates on the Global Spirit Tour than the Stade De France one, so to make sure it's covered properly, you need someone who knows what they're doing. Happily for me, Mr Halo, Kevin May kindly agreed to cover his second show for the Global Spirit Tour Project and, believe me, you are in for a real treat. He also provided the stunning pictures for the article too. Once you've enjoyed this as much as I know you will, go and tell him about it on Twitter. Links to his social media sites can be found at the end. I'd also like to thank Kevin for the blog promotion with his choice of t-shirt. Very cool! If the junior Mays stay fans long enough for the next run, I'll ask if we can get child sizes. Anyway, enough from me. Here we go...



I am making a fairly confident guess that the vast majority of those both writing and reading this wonderful series of reviews for the Global Spirit Tour are not newbies to Depeche Mode.

They probably range from hardcore devotees who go to ten or more gigs on a tour and collect every format of every bit of new material, to those who probably take in one show each time and buy the latest album.

We, both readers and scribes of this series, generally know our stuff and can relate in some way to most of the reviews, and we all certainly have an opinion about the band and how they are performing.

For this review, my second in the series (I penned a piece about night #2 of the tour in Amsterdam - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/live-review-depeche-mode-ziggo-dome.html), I wanted to come at it from a different angle, primarily because I had two newbies in tow.

And this particular pair of Depeche debutants happened to be my two kids, aged 12 and 9 respectively.

They certainly know of the band (their father is obviously a fan and just happens to be writing a book about them - so there's a fair amount of discussion at May Towers about all things Depeche!) and they both have opinions of sorts about songs.

Ella, the more senior of the two, is typical for her age - she likes Katy Perry, Little Mix (she saw them at the O2 in London a few years back) and Justin Beiber, claiming they are all "AMAZING" compared to the 1980s-formed boys from Basildon.

Sam, alternatively, recognises many songs and even says he has a few favourites: World In My Eyes and Personal Jesus, for example.

I've played them many live clips and enthused about how seeing Depeche at a gig is a wholly different experience to listening to the recorded output.

At this point, I usually get something along the lines "well, i'm too young - I'm never going to get to go" or "yeah, whatever, Dad".

I was determined to prove them both wrong at some point...

* * *

Late last year, as the first gigs on the tour were announced, I figured it was time to act - getting some money from a speaking engagement, snapping up tickets for the Stade de France show and deciding to make a weekend of it, with both elements kept as a surprise.

Through a combination of stealthy tactics and a few small lies here and there (they were told I was doing a speech in Manchester for my day job), eight months later, we found ourselves getting off Metro Line 13 at one of the stations close to the stadium.

I’d already had a funny conversation earlier on the Metro with Ella, who was asking “huh, how can something be ‘almost predictable’?” when she noted the t-shirt for David McElroy’s blog that I was wearing for the evening.

I explained it was a line from a Depeche song – “oh, right, okay...”, she remarked before, in that way kids do so well, moving on swiftly to something else of more interest to her.

The game was nearly up though.

Having already been taken aback somewhat as they boarded a train to Paris, rather than Manchester, we got within a few hundred metres of the stadium before my daughter asked why a group of men (old school ticket touts!) were holding up bits of paper with Depeche Mode written on them.

It’s time to confess.

Within minutes of them slowly absorbing the news that they weren't going to be "watching a sunset from a famous hill in Paris" after all, but seeing Depeche instead (“NO WAY?!?!?!”), they were immersed into the pre-gig world of hundreds of fans milling around the stadium.

"I can't believe how many people are smoking!", says Ella. Welcome to France :) ...

Sam, innocently and rather amusingly, asks: "Are they going to sing all the songs in French?"

It's easy to forget, as fans of music generally for many years and regular gig-goers, how alien and surreal the experience might be for a kid.

The Stade de France and its surrounding pedestrian areas are easy to navigate, and within minutes of moving quickly past the merchandising stands (come on, lads, it's pretty hard to feel revolutionary against the "system" when being bled dry for a tour t-shirt - sorry, rant over), we are in our seats.

As fans, especially during active periods for the band, it is fairly typical to get wrapped up in the Depeche Mode universe.

Many live and breathe the meanderings of life for the band - examining set lists, checking pictures on forums, wondering about the crowd configuration at shows, looking for hints of strains (or not, it seems, at the moment) between band members.

But in the heads of two kids who are about to experience Depeche Mode for the first time, the questions come thick and fast, covering every type of issue:

· "So, there are three in the band [looks at my DM-branded beer cup], but five are going to play? I don't get it."

· "Does the song Personal Jesus mean they are really religious?"... Let's not get started on that one!

· "Will the neighbours complain if it's too noisy?"

· "What happens if they need the toilet?"

· "The front cover of your book has four people on it. Why did the other guy leave?"... Let's also not get started on that one!!

Thankfully, Algiers (who are excellent as the support act) create enough noise and visual interest from our vantage point on the second tier, between the stage and halfway line of the pitch, to stem the flow of questions.

It is perhaps the general atmosphere of the huge stadium that they absorbing like sponges by this point, as the Martin-curated techno set builds ahead of the first strains of Revolution by The Beatles.

Much to their delight, after exchanging messages, I point out a friend who waves up at us from the Golden Circle.

And then, Depeche finally arrive shortly after 9pm (giving rise to perhaps the most frenzied reaction I've seen so far on the tour, at least where we’re perched), with the now well-known run of songs that make up the first half a dozen songs of the set.



A Pain That I'm Used To is the first where the crowd appears to unanimously get to its feet, including - much to my surprise - both of the kids.

There is clapping and cheering, a few questions here and there ("Does he always wiggle his bum like that?"... "Err, yeah."), but, perhaps most wonderfully, they have taken the plunge into our little world.

Never underestimate the impact of live music, whatever its form - it can truly surprise and thrill, especially to those that rarely experience it or, as in this case, are witnessing the power and passion of a Depeche Mode on top of their game and clearly enjoying themselves.

The wonderful In Your Room triggers the first "that's a bit weird" about Anton Corbijn's visuals but any confusion or distraction is soon forgotten as the opening bass line of World In My Eyes rings out and both the Stade de France and son Sam cheer loudly.


Dave’s first foray on to catwalk at the close of Cover Me brings about a huge cheer, plus an “oh no – is he going to fall in at the end?!?” from one of the kids.

Some brief fan punditry coming up:

Judas is a very welcome addition to the set, replacing A Question Of Lust and ensuring Martin gets a gentle and genuinely moving "if you want my love..." chiming around the stadium.

Home has its usual and loud sing-a-long at the end but I feel there is (after seeing three gigs so far on this tour) an awkward dialling down of the momentum, not least after two slower numbers from Martin.

Perhaps this is the point where Everything Counts or another old fave (maybe even Where’s The Revolution) should get their airing, rather than the plodding and lesser-known Poison Heart.

By now, close to 10.15pm, Paris has finally fallen dark enough for the light show to really kick in.

It’s a bizarre sight to see both kids singing “WRONG!” at the top of their voices and pointing to the sky, clearly picking up on what the crowd is doing around them.

By the time we get to Enjoy The Silence, a song that the kids actually know the words to, much to my surprise, enjoyment and total immersion in the show takes over.

Ella leans over and shouts: “Will they sing the ‘I’m taking a ride with my best friend’ song?” – again, surprising me somewhat as I never realised she even knew the song.

Martin still says how incredible it was seeing an entire crowd waving their arms in unison for the first time on Never Let Me Down Again, back in 1988, so it must be equally breathtaking for a child to witness 70,000+ people doing it for the first time.

I’m not usually one for hyperbole, but it is a moving experience for a parent, seeing their children lapping up the experience, waving frantically along with everyone else – perhaps finally getting what all the fuss is about.

The encore (“oh, they’re coming back – YES!”) glides through with the rendition of Somebody, with mobile phone lights twinkling everywhere, a stomping Walking In My Shoes and a gentle "Heroes" before the final pair of I Feel You and Personal Jesus.



As the final “reach out and touch faith” comes and goes, with both jumping in the air and shouting at the tops of their voices, there is the immense relief that eight months of mild subterfuge and planning worked out, and pleasure knowing that it really was worth the effort.

It is arguable that they would perhaps have the same level enjoyment at any other large gig – experiencing an enormous crowd and the living passion that live music can create amongst the fans attending.

But this is something else – there is also an emotional connection for them as they know how much this band and the buzz around it (not least with my decision to spend a lot of time writing about it) means to me.

And, yet, weirdly, the most satisfying part of the whole experience was not something that happened in the stadium on the night of the gig – it was the following morning, when all I could hear was them quietly talking about it and sharing their favourite moments as they woke up.


Kevin May is a UK-based journalist who usually writes about the travel industry and technology. He is also the author of HALO, the forthcoming book from Grosvenor House examining the story behind Depeche Mode's classic album, Violator.

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Thanks very much for that Kevin. You're possibly now officially the coolest Dad on the planet. At least until the next Little Mix gig...