Tuesday 9 April 2024



Photo by Stuart Cowan

Normally, when I write a review it's a fairly straightforward thing - there's some chat about the setlist, some gratuitous blog t-shirt photos, my own bad gig photos and that's that. This has been a hard one to plan however given the emotion involved in last night's stunning gig in Cologne. Every fan seemed to feel it and Dave certainly did. His performance, as full of energy and as captivating as ever, had an additional emotional edge to it and that edge, as far as I can tell, sensed by everyone in the arena, gave this concert an energy all of its own. It was a truly special night.

I was in Cologne with John H, John C and Stuart. We've been friends since we were 12 and have loved Depeche Mode for almost as long as we've known each other. They are one of our bands. Seeing Depeche with them is always a special thing for me as we celebrate the band that has been a connection between us for most of our lives. You can tell the strength of that connection by the fact they willingly agree to wear blog t-shirts. Our love of Depeche Mode brought us to Cologne for the final gig of the Memento Mori world tour and countless other fans there last night were there for the same reason we were; a celebration of the band that ties their friends and everyone else in the Lanxess Arena together. That sense of love for Depeche Mode was a huge contributor to the energy I mentioned earlier.

I'll stop beating around the bush. We all wonder if last night was the last Depeche Mode gig we will ever see. Nobody could blame Martin and Dave if that turns out to be the case when you consider how long they have been doing this and what they went through in the lead up to recording the album. Of course, we all want them to keep touring and, as at the end of the previous few tours, any speculation about the end of the band is just speculation and no more than that. A few things last night made me think we might be approaching the end though that might well have been down to emotion again - both mine and Dave's.

Anyway, to the show itself. The Lanxess Arena is a good venue though the policy of allowing us standing people in without providing stamps or wristbands is odd. The tickets for our group were on my phone so I had to go out and prove that John and Stuart were genuine standing punters before they got let back in. John H ended up having to show security the picture below to prove that he was in fact entitled to be down there. A small annoying point in an otherwise well-run venue.

Depeche Mode were on tremendous and tremendously loud form. My Cosmos Is Mine was so loud in fact that the vibrations from it made my phone think I was driving. That happened a few more times during the evening - definitely a first. The first of what I have over analysed as a hint this might be the last gig happened after Wagging Tongue. I was watching the screen (the average height of a German must be at least 6 feet 6 inches) and instead of his usual "GOOD EVENING INSERT NAME OF CITY," Dave paused and took a couple of breaths. He then said "Good evening Cologne" in a very subdued way. Now, Dave had just spent two songs twirling around and doing that odd vampire meets chicken dance so he might just have been knackered, but it seemed unusual. Perhaps it's just me.

From there, we got the standard first half of the show. Walking In My Shoes and It's No Good really are two godlike songs and the arena went suitably crazy for both. Everything Counts prompted the first mass singalong of the evening with nobody showing an interest in stopping it. Dave and Martin seemed to enjoy our extended version. My Favourite Stranger was incredible. The song takes on a new power when it's played live and last night's version was a thudding, crunching belter. I had hoped that Speak To Me would feature in this slot as I've still not seen that live, but that was soon forgotten when My Favourite Stranger popped up and slapped me around the chops. Superb.

Dave departed and Martin took over with gorgeous versions of Strangelove and Somebody. I think his Somebody last night was the best one I've seen. Tremendous. God knows how many times I've sung that song since I first heard it on 101. Martin still does it better.

Every time I've seen Ghosts Again on this tour, tears have sprung to my eyes and last night it happened again. Regardless of whether or not it has anything to do with his death, this song only makes me think of Fletch and that's clearly the case for many others too. As he does in the video, when Dave raises his hand at the "Everybody says goodbye" line, I always do it too as did many other fans last night. The song brings so many thoughts to mind - how long I've loved this band, how long I've known my friends, what we've all been through together, how much Fletch is missed and so much more. I know, it's only a song and all that but one of the things Martin has always done best is write music that inspires so many different emotions. Ghosts Again may well be one of his finest in that respect.

A blistering I Feel You restored me to my normal self. Good lord that was loud. Once again, my phone thought I was driving. "That's that for the crying David you silly arse," I thought as A Pain That I'm Used To reminded me that not all remixes are better than the original versions and then World In My Eyes started. Here we go again.

You know the story by now. It's a beautiful tribute to Andy.

Talking of tributes, I was happy to be able to snap Michael Lyons' Fletch tribute flag during the song. Another lovely tribute. 

Even though this was my 7th show of the tour and fourth of this leg, I still get blown away by the one-two punch of Black Celebration and Stripped. These songs are nearly 40 years old for God's sake yet they sound as fresh as anything else. Having the ability to pull songs like this out of the bag 38 years after they first appeared really is not fair on other bands. How can they be expected to compete with this?

Given that we had already had World In My Eyes, it was wonderful and a genuine surprise to hear Behind The Wheel too. That made me wonder if World In My Eyes had been played to make sure Fletch was remembered at the last ever show, but the more rational side of me then reminded me (not sure that makes sense...) that it was also the last show of this tour, a more than sensible reason for its inclusion. Us Depeche Mode fans overthinking things? Never. Enjoy The Silence wrapped up the main set and it was a riotous version. Bloody marvellous.

Before Waiting For The Night, Dave gave a little speech. The whole arena seemed to fall silent - what was he going to say? He thanked Peter, Christian and the road crew and then said "It's been a really special tour. We've had, obviously, some challenges at the beginning. We lost our friend and Martin and I decided to carry on and make this record." Cue a huge cheer. He then thanked us for "being with us for all these years," sounding genuinely moved. It was a lovely moment. The song itself was great too with another extended crowd singalong at the end.

The usual three wrapped things up. Just Can't Get Enough did what it does and then Never Let Me Down Again blew what was left of the arena's roof right off. Personal Jesus ended the night on a massive high. The band took their time leaving the stage at the end, rightly drinking in their much deserved adulation.

And that was that - the Memento Mori tour was over and it was time to head home.

Photo by Stuart Cowan

Will we ever see them again? For no reason other than me overthinking things, I don't think we will but I of course hope that I am very, very wrong about that. If they do call it a day, they are doing so on a high and against all odds too given what they went through before the album was recorded. Once again, Depeche Mode have triumphed in the face of adversity, this time of the worst kind, and if they don't know already, I'm happy to tell them here that every single one of us thanks them for everything they have done.

This is of course the last review of this tour review project. Thanks to everyone who has written reviews, shared them and talked about them. Thanks too for coming up to me and my t-shirt models to tell me/them that you love the blog. It's mad that anyone gives this nonsense the time of day and it is genuinely incredibly moving to hear that people like it.

I want to say thanks on here too to Stuart, John H, John C, Paul, Andrew and Colin for years of Depeche friendship and for being walking advertising boards. Thanks too to Emma, Heidi and Carolyn for their debut t-shirt appearances at the Glasgow gig. 

Finally, of course, thanks to my wife Pam for putting up with me disappearing around Europe several times and, well for putting up with everything Depeche related in my life! She's a fan too by the way and thinks the gigs on this tour are the best she's seen the band play.

That'll be that then. See you next time? I hope so.

Sunday 31 March 2024



SiGNL are an act comprising MJ and Ian who this year have released they debut singles Ksor and Mathematik as well as remixing Depeche Mode. Most of you know will know SiGNL's excellent remix of Before We Drown, which was one of the highlights of that song's remix package. The band have also remixed People Are Good and that remix is currently circulating as a promo mix in clubs. Their remix of Before We Drown really is a wonderful track on the song. In the video below, SiGNL explain their thinking behind the remix.


Prior to becoming SiGNL, Ian and MJ recorded under the name Electronic Periodic - you may recall their excellent remixes of The Sun And The Moon And The Stars and Perfect as well as other great remixes of the likes of Chorus and Winter Kills.

Unlike Electronic Periodic however, SiGNL release their own tracks. Ksor (below) and Mathematik (see end of article) are both very much worth your time. There's no doubt at all that their future releases will also be ones to look out for.

Just like Depeche Mode, SiGNL are headed to Cologne this week where they will play their debut gig at Gewolbe in Cologne on 4th April. Chris Liebing has organised the night where he will be joined by SiGNL, Ida Engberg and Dubfire for "a night of techno, some of their favourite Depeche Mode remixes and beyond."   I asked how the gig came about.

"It came about through Chris Liebing," MJ said. "He is a massive Depeche Mode fan and he'd done a remix previously for the band. We were just talking about dates we were going to see Depeche and it turned out we were both going to Cologne for the first two. He said 'why don't we do a techno night with a Depeche feel to it' and I said why not?"

SiGNL won't be DJ'ing at the event however; instead they will be playing live. After seven weeks of rehearsals, the band are now ready to go and, as well as their own tracks, expect to hear their remixes of Before We Drown and People Are Good.

I asked SiGNL what their plans were after Cologne. 

"We have enough tracks for an album," said Ian, "but for now we will keep the momentum going by releasing a track every other month or so. We might try to get them out on vinyl too." MJ added "A limited run on vinyl would be good plus we will be looking for more gigs and support slots." 

I couldn't let SiGNL off without asking some some Depeche related nonsense. I hate being asked what my Top 3 Depeche Mode songs are as that is an impossible question, so it seemed only fair that I asked Ian and MJ.

Ian: "If I thought about this too hard I'd never give you an answer! Off the top of my head, Never Let Me Down Again, you can't go wrong with Personal Jesus..."
MJ: "We can't go too obvious with Personal Jesus and songs like Just Can't Get Enough!"
Ian: "True. Stripped is really dark and moody.
MJ: "A bit like Declan Rice, the new tracks are going to become favourites. It's hard to pick one. Ghosts Again is really appealing but there are so many tracks on the album so I need to park that to the side as I can't choose. I do think Memento Mori is one of my favourite albums."

(At the mention of Arsenal's Declan Rice, I confessed to being a Liverpool fan. We agreed to disagree on the topic of football...)

MJ: "My thing is live music so tracks from this tour like John The Revelator and A Pain That I'm Used To are real favourites of mine"
Ian: "I'll go for the singalong tracks - World In My Eyes and Stripped."

We basically all came to the conclusion that if we didn't stop, we'd just end up listing every Depeche track.

Thanks very much to Ian and MJ for speaking to me. To get tickets for what promises to be an unmissable night on 4th April, go to https://gewoelbe.ticket.io/0ztmcaz3/

Follow SiGNL:

Official Site - https://signl.co.uk/

Friday 15 March 2024



Picture courtesy of HáňaPáňa Křížová

The last time we heard from Natalia Burgos was in September 2023 when she attended two of the incredible shows Depeche Mode played at Foro Sol in Mexico City. She set off on her travels again in February this year and ended up in Prague. Here is her great review of the Depeche show there in February. All photos are Natalia's unless otherwise credited.

It was October 2023 and I did not have any clear plans to travel to Europe from my home in Colombia. I had a family trip to Spain in mind, but things only fell into place by the end of that month and of course, not many Depeche Mode concert dates fitted my travel plans by then. I made a list and started checking the gig or gigs that I would to try to target (preferably gigs in places to do some sightseeing too). The concerts that suited my timeframe were Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, but I ditched the possibility because I had already been in those cities before, so the remaining options were Hamburg and Prague. Without thinking too much I picked Prague despite that fact that my weird travel timing would only allow me to go to the first date, the 22nd of February.

Anyway, I was absolutely thrilled with the idea of seeing DM there; after Fletcher’s passing, I had checked an article of the boys visiting Prague in 1988 and the photos that Anton took of them during that opportunity were gorgeous, immersed in such a special vibe. I said to myself, if I don’t manage to see DM on the 22nd at least I will have the wonderful chance to know a bit of a new, wonderful city, so by the end of November I managed to book a flight to the Czech capital.

I packed my mode travel kit: a brand new Almost Predictable Almost T-shirt (thanks David!), a cute DM tote bag with a beautiful print of King Dave in ETS that I bought in Mexico City and a Colombian CD edition of Ultra, just in the remote case of finding Martin Gore or Dave Gahan for an autograph (wishful thinking!).

Now, fast forward to February 2024, I am in Prague and thank goodness I have great devotee friends that helped me search for a ticket. I got it the day before, but I also had some problems with my stupid Ticketmaster account and for a while it seemed I wouldn't be able to complete the transfer process of the ticket, despite the fact I went to a pair of booths in Prague but they were closed. Finally, things straightened out on their own and I could see the ticket on my phone by the end of the day. Phew!

I also saw a group of ladies with DM hoodies at a restaurant, and during breakfast, a group of people was singing along to ETS, I was also lectured by a Turkish souvenir seller saying that I should better be listening to salsa instead of “gringo techno music” by judging my tote bag (chuckles).

So, at this point, I was going to a seated area for the very first time, for what I think might be my last opportunity to witness DM live. Sigh. Nostalgia and excitement kicks in.

I have to recognise that I’ve been extremely lucky, tons of devotees from South America and Australia had hopes of getting some Memento Mori Tour dates and things went downhill unfortunately.

In retrospect, I feel grateful for DM. They were the first band that I saw abroad with my very own savings and since then I’ve found pleasure in planning trips around concerts. I’ve had the chance to see them in marvellous places, from northern Moscow to southern Buenos Aires, it’s certainly has been a wonderful bunch of journeys with lots of cherished memories.

Now, let’s go to the 02 Arena, I arrived around 7pm and the organisation was impeccable, I went through the security check very easily, there were no queues and the entry was smooth and fast. In my eyes, it is a pretty cool venue, with lots of places to buy drinks and promotional merch too (I bought a plastic commemorative Memento Mori cup there). I loved the sweatshirt that had “MODE” printed on the front but it was rather expensive, I thought it was made in thicker cotton material like the one used for hoodies but it was more like a T-shirt fabric, so I wasn’t convinced in the end. I couldn’t get rid of my coat in the cloakroom because I didn’t have any cash, what a damn burden for my tropical self (in Prague you can pay almost everything with cards but this was not the case).

I also saw HáňaPáňa Křížová looking splendid in a wonderful King Dave costume, she has kindly provided some pictures of this show for the report.

Picture courtesy of HáňaPáňa Křížová

My seat was towards the right side of the stage, a bit far for my taste, but the view was fine. Humanist started performing around 7:45pm with a vibrant act that ended at 8:15pm in a packed venue.

At 8:45pm the Mode Machine joins the stage! The show started off with My Cosmos Is Mine and Wagging Tongue. The audience was initially timid but they got into the vibe around Walking In My Shoes. I am concerned with the fact that almost everyone around my area is sitting down except a bunch of bubbly Italians that are a few rows in front of me! I was feeling a bit desperate, but thankfully there was a man in the seat next to me that stood up and a lot of other people behind me started doing the same, so I could clap and dance finally - what a relief1 Sitting and watching DM live seems very odd to me.

In my opinion the sound inside this venue was pretty good, I didn’t hear any weird reverb, I am no sound expert though.

I loved It’s No Good with the donkey projection, personally I adore Ultra so anything from that era is such a treat. Policy Of Truth holds a place in my heart because it was the first DM song that I ever heard. It was on a TV commercial and it sort of introduced me to the band. By the end of this track, I was having a problem with a woman that was behind me, who was demanding that I had to sit down because she was with her son. I offered to exchange places with the boy and my neighbour (what an angel) exchanged places with the pissed off kid’s mum.

In Your Room and Everything Counts were well received and Dave pulled a young woman to the stage for a moment.  I had never seen this before, what a lucky lady! The white gloves projection makes you want to move your hands!

It was then the turn of Precious and after that, Before We Drown. I was looking forward to Before We Drown and it did not disappoint. It was very atmospheric and introspective with the brand new video projected on the background. I loved it. The audience was calm during these tracks, but when Martin sang Strangelove, the audience's mood changed to a cheerful one once again. He also performed Somebody and things slowed down a bit. After that Dave presented Martin and the crowd was cheering like crazy - there is no doubt that we all love Martin Lee Gore and Dave Gahan.

Then came a heart wrenching rendition of Ghosts Again followed by I Feel You. I never get tired of this groovy and exuberant track. I effing love it. Hotness is not only high temperature, it’s this fricking song too!

After A Pain That I'm Used To took its turn, Behind The Wheel certainly made people react. In my opinion they should have kept World In My Eyes in the setlist. It was such an appropriate track to remember Fletch and with BTW I felt as if the tribute was a bit diluted. After that however came Black Celebration - OMG! It’s the very first time that I get to see and hear it live! What a treat! I am blissful with this smashing industrial track. But the people next to me…not that much it seems.

Stripped is well received, gosh it is one of the very best DM tracks, that pairing with BC is superb. 

Then comes Enjoy the Silence with its glittery skulls imagery that concentrates everybody’s attention. I focus to appreciate this extraordinary techno hymn. What a delight for goodness sake! Martin and Dave seem very amused performing this brilliant track. I think I could levitate to it!

Condemnation and Just Can’t Get Enough followed and the audience was totally immersed. It was then the turn of Never Let Me Down Again. For me every time I hear this track live it’s like a spiritual experience, completely absorbing my attention, and I wave my arms as if my life depended on it. It’s lovely to be part of the wheat field wave, I make a short pause to admire the audience and it’s absolutely incredible, so uplifting, so difficult to put down in words. By the end of the song some people were throwing glowsticks, I had never seen that before, I wonder if the boys like that though.

Never Let Me Down Again

The concert ends on a high note with Personal Jesus, a tremendous classic for all of us devoted believers. Time goes by so quickly!

Once again, having the chance to experience DM live is such a privilege. To drop everything else for a pair of hours to appreciate this fantastic music that has brought so many people together, that’s the power, the magical allure of Depeche Mode.

So, if some devotee is out there and probably has the chance to go to any of the winter dates left, go for it! This is the time! They are in top shape and sounding great, if Martin and Dave decide to stop now, they leave things on an outstanding point of their careers.

I start walking towards the exit and without searching, I find a pair of devotee friends outside of the venue, just like it has happened to me in other DM concerts, it was a happy coincidence and we manage to say goodbye, I wonder if our paths will cross again. 

It has been a wonderful ride and I leave the 02 Arena with mixed feelings of nostalgia and joy. I’ve had the fortune of seeing them 11 times, will I have the opportunity to complete a dozen DM gigs? Will there be a next time? Yes? No? How? When? Where? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, if this ever happens, I will not be seated, I will go to standing area were the action takes place, yes please!

Thursday 14 March 2024



Blog friend, film star and general all round good guy Daniel Cassus returns to reporting duties for this review of the Depeche show in Berlin on 13 February. I'm been busy at work and unwell hence the delay in publishing this. Thanks very much indeed as ever Daniel. All pictures are his so don't use without crediting him please.

"Berlin is the Depeche Mode capital.” Yep, those words came out of my mouth and they are on film, much to the chagrin of my Los Angeles friends (I still stand that I said Berlin AND Los Angeles, but that got cut in the editing room). So it’s only fair Berlin would be the first European city to get more than 2 shows in a row. Except they weren’t in a row because there was a show in Hamburg between the second and the third one, but you get what I mean.

I arrived just as the opening act Humanist was playing Shock Collar, the song on which Dave collaborated with vocals though he is of course he is not on stage. Less than an hour later he is however, as the show begins with those bangs from the ending of Speak To Me blending into the beginning of My Cosmos Is Mine. This was my first show seen from the front, so it was the first time experiencing the full imagery and lights. The giant “M” on stage slowly gets the brushstrokes, while the band is lit from behind.

We then move into Wagging Tongue where the lights above the stage are almost like an extra band member. Walking In My Shoes is a fierce performance with the screen all up in red. With It’s No Good, Anton reminds us of his passion for animals on film by showing donkeys on a beach. So far it’s the same show they played last year.

Now comes the first change. Sister Of Night got replaced with the seemingly mandatory Policy Of Truth. As much as I adore Sister Of Night and wished for a full band performance with Dave on vocals ever since the song was released, when it finally became a reality, it was a bit of a downer in an otherwise upbeat first few songs. I confess I prefer Policy Of Truth in this spot for once. The band tweaked the ending of the second bridge so Christian could do a power drum fill, but that was the only relevant change. In fact, most people probably didn’t notice this little nitpick of mine.

In Your Room was brought back in its Zephyr Mix form again followed by Everything Counts and Precious. At the point you start to think it’s the Global Spirit Tour setlist again (and you wouldn’t be that wrong). Both songs still rock and work great, but it was the song that followed that I was waiting for. Before We Drown was a very positive surprise this winter leg brought. It takes the spot that was occupied by Speak to Me and My Favourite Stranger, neither of which I think work very well live, so the change was very welcome (don’t worry, these other two were played in the following Berlin concerts).

Time for Martin’s slot. Gone are the piano version of Soul With Me and the full band version of A Question Of Lust. Instead we get acoustic versions of Strangelove and Somebody. They’ve been playing Strangelove quite often on recent tours. This one is another I wish they played the full band version of.

Dave comes back and we get the great Ghosts Again, a song that still brings a tear to my eyes during the line “everybody says goodbye”. We’ve all said goodbye to lots of people in the 6 years since the last tour. Talking of which, we’re brought back to “GST Mode” with I Feel You and A Pain That I’m Used To, as usual, played as the Jacques Lu Cont Mix.

One change however saw World In My Eyes replaced with Behind The Wheel. The backdrop video is simply the original music video (album version recently reissued on the Strange DVD). Fletch still got a quick shoutout at the end. Wrong also got replaced with Black Celebration. This one got a slightly new intro with Peter fiddling with some chord progressions. Then the main set closes with Stripped, the slightly longer version of John The Revelator and Enjoy The Silence. No surprises on the former and the latter, though.

The encore starts with Condemnation, which seems to have become the main track for this slot instead Waiting For The Night. Then the stage goes totally colourful for Just Can’t Get Enough, a track that I never imagined they would still be playing in 2024. We then go to Never Let Me Down Again and the mandatory arm waving. We conclude with Personal Jesus, which still has the slow acoustic intro but thankfully not as painfully slow as in the “Delta Machine Tour”. Reach out and touch faith… and it’s over.

Overall I think the setlist improved from the summer leg. It was expected that it would default a bit to the “best of” setlist, but it works. And that was it. I definitely enjoyed it much more seeing the band from up front. In a way it was almost the first show of the tour I got to see Anton’s videos properly. To me the giant M on the stage works so much better than the split screen from the GST and the globe from the TOTU.

Thursday 22 February 2024



Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Depeche Mode and Berlin is always a special combination. Sarah Evans visited the city for her first Depeche Berlin experience earlier this month and here is her review. It's a great read - thank you very much Sarah. Follow her on Twitter at @sunforsarah All pictures here are Sarah's unless otherwise credited.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Is Berlin the Spiritual Home of Depeche Mode?

It's a big question and one Americans might challenge, especially with all the band history in Los Angeles; the recent declaration of Depeche Mode day, Dave nearly checking out forever at the Sunset Marquis and the legendary 101 Rose Bowl concert, so their special relationship with LA can't be denied.

But my question, takes me back to Berlin. Home of the famous Hansa Studio's, home of Black Celebration and where DM played in East Germany before the Wall came down. There are many German influences that have seeped into Martin's songwriting.

I had heard all about the German fan base with elevated adoration levels of their beloved DM, I really wanted to experience a piece of this and see if the Berlin hype would be delivered.

Therefore a mini trip to Berlin for the 2024 back end of the tour was too good an opportunity to miss. Especially as we just don't know what lies ahead...devotees you'll have your own views on whether they'll tour again!

So far this Memento Mori tour has been reviewed as being tremendous. The Twickenham gig last summer was a great day. Meeting Twitter friends for a spot of day drinking on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in a pub garden, where the DJ cranked up our excitement, not only by being a "looky likey" Dave resplendent in shiny waistcoat, but by playing DM all afternoon to a boozy swarm of middle aged UK fans in a swathe of black t-shirts. Seeing our boys again that evening after 4 years, was sweaty and glorious.

Then more recently to a more favourable indoor gig at the O2 Arena London, where up to that time (pre-Berlin!) personally this was the best I have ever seen them play.

Before we get back to why I love DM and sharing my Berlin gig experience. I need to share....strap in.....I was a late comer to the DM scene, becoming a convert only in 1996. 

"Good grief," you say, "you missed out on your teenage years lying in front of the stacking hifi system, taping vinyl onto cassettes, learning all the words to every song and you definitely missed out on Dave in his tighty whitey jeans era." 

I know!! Roxy Music, Spandau Ballet, The Cult and Stevie Nicks predominantly, were the tracks of my teenage years. The only memories I have of early DM, were in my catholic school form room, where Joanne (the only DM fan in our year) would play the boppy sounds of See You and People Are People from the double deck cassette player and she would top up the white hand painted words DEPECHE MODE that were Tipp-exed onto her green army school satchel, before we light headily sauntered off to assembly to sing 'Salve Regina'. 

Let's jump ahead a decade to 1996 and I'll introduce you to Mr E. He was the electronic DM fan and he had been there from the start through to the heady iconic Crystal Palace Devotional gig. On our second date, Mr E knows he onto a good thing with me (*winks) and takes me back to his. He then pulls out the Devotional live concert DVD. I expect it was a test, if I dissed DM, I probably wouldn’t have made date 3. 

Oh my goodness! The form room bops had been replaced by atmospheric drums, huge visual screens projecting an assortment of sensual images and Dave with arms outstretched and gyrating arse, fed his addiction from the worshipping crowd. By the time In Your Room came on, I was mesmerised. Dave sacrificially launched himself into the adoring mob below and just as Dave loses his white t-shirt, my goosebumps cause my own clothes to self-combust!! I AM HOOKED! 

For me, Jesus Dave at that very moment (whilst off his face wasn't good for his health) is the absolute zenith of his performances. My lapsed Catholicism was overtaken by the religion that is Depeche Mode, chapters and verses to be learnt by heart from the genius of Mr Martin L Gore. 

A year later Mr E and I dance our wedding song to Enjoy The Silence...of course. 

My first time seeing DM live was in 98' at the old Wembley Stadium for The Singles Tour. Mr E was almost crying when a newly clean, back to life Dave walked on stage and I was completely unaware Daniel Miller was sat near us. Holidays over the next 25 years combined oversees gigs to see the boys in Paris, Madrid, and Miami... and now Berlin.

Right, let's get into it. Berlin...

We had very civilised pre gig cocktails with Dave & Jane, two of the lovely devotees we have met through Twitter (never X). Both huge fans from teenage times and devoted travellers where seeing the Global Spirit Tour finish in Berlin Waldbuhne was their highlight from following DM. 

Mr E and I are up high on the side seats, and the excitement in the German crowd is rippling through the arena. Humanist plays as support, the drums and guitars are good and I'll certainly take a listen to their 2020 album.

I'm next to a very no nonsense German woman, who it would turn out, had the loudest claps and whooooooooops known to womankind every time Dave spun, gyrated or wiggled his bum. She was already standing and bumping along to the build-up tracks before I get to my seat. 

I ask her if the German crowd will be amazing tonight, she answers without hesitation "of course". She's probably thinking I'm a stupid Brit and no wonder we left the EU. 

I press on "why is that?", and quite simply she says; "It's Berlin" 

The stage is reset, the Germans are already bouncy, about 5 minutes before the gig starts, the energy is almost making me well up, my emotions are held together with a big breath. 

The boys walk on stage and we're off, everyone in the seated block is on their feet. What songs will get Berlin ecstatic? How will this gig differ from London just 3 weeks ago? 

Observation to start with; German fans don't leave their seats for beers and wees, there are in it for 2 hours of unbroken adoration. No one's chatting, everyone knows the words and there is a lot of cheering.

Walking In My Shoes is sublime and the Germans are now hypnotised. Mr E post-gig rated Policy Of Truth and My Favourite Stranger as his favourite tracks of the night. Everything Counts sends the Arena into a frenzy, I do love the white gloved hand visuals.

While Dave takes a break (Do you ever wonder what he does for 10 mins especially as he is getting older?, little lie down on the chaise longue maybe?) Martin sings beautiful renditions of Strangelove and Heaven.

Ghosts Again is very well received by the crowd, I was really hoping for the setlist with Before We Drown and Behind The Wheel but it wasn’t to be tonight. I Feel You gets my German gig neighbour excitable, which is a joy to me. We rock it out as if we're strippers in a dodgy communist backstreet joint. Outstanding!!

With the return of World In My Eyes I've got tears seeing the audience gesturing their love to the images of Fletch on the big screens with their fingers joined to make Andy eyes. 

As a late comer to DM, Violator and Songs Of Faith And Devotion will always be my go-to DM listen. When Black Celebration starts up however, this is my chance to really experience what this song means to Berlin. I see a couple dancing together as if they are all alone in a Euro club, totally engrossed in each other. Everyone else around me are just losing it by singing aloud and then I simply get it. It's a deep seated Berlin anthem overcoming the challenges of the past, East and West long since united but still with that bleak history that will never be forgotten. But my interpretation of this industrial track may have been influenced by spending too much time at the remnants of the Wall!

Enjoy The Silence is gorgeous – it is such a crowd pleaser; the skull visuals are perfect.

For the encore Waiting For The Night was beautiful, the arena filled with twinkling phone lights.

And then my second set of tears start as the wonderfully euphoric Berlin crowd give it all, hard and energetic arms are swinging in the air to Never Let Me Down Again. As I looked around the Arena it was triumphant from front to back, it was an OUTSTANDING wheat wave. I have never seen a crowd react in such a way!

To “We’ll see you next time” Dave, Martin, Peter and Christian receive huge applause, there’s a lot of hugging and back slapping, they truly looked like they enjoyed their performance and revel in the deep love from their German fan base. 

So is Berlin the spiritual home of DM? 

My gig neighbour's words "It's Berlin" resound, of course we wouldn’t expect anything less.


Thanks Sarah

Monday 19 February 2024



This review comes courtesy of The Dark Outside (https://twitter.com/darkoutside). For those who don't know, The Dark Outside is a Scottish label and radio station that broadcasts from deep in the gorgeous Galloway Forest Park. The link to the label's bandcamp page is at the end of this article - do make sure you check it out. As a native of Dumfries & Galloway, I love the label and I'm delighted that The Dark Outside has provided tis review of Depeche Mode's Copenhagen gig on 10th February. Thank you very much indeed. All photos belong to The Dark Outside.

It's been a while since I last saw Depeche Mode. It was 1988 in Edinburgh. 

So, er, quite a gap.

To make matters worse, it had been 41 years since I first saw them in Glasgow in 1983. 

So, fast forward a bit to 7 months ago ish when the Glasgow tickets were on sale and turns out that there was a clash and dates and planets misaligned. That sort of thing. 

Where else were they playing ? Ooh, Copenhagen. 

The Royal Arena is huge. Spotted a few Dave clones and lots of balding heads ( though, not on the Dave clones ) Nadine Shah is today's support. Really good. 

Despite the Swedish blokes on the same row going to the bar or toilets every few songs It was an enjoyable set ( disclaimer - I wasn't too familiar with Nadine Shah's music although I've rectified that now) 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos

Dave owned the stage, was a wee bit pitchy during some songs, camped it up, wiggled, hammed it up gloriously.

Martin singing Strangelove was a new one on me ( it has been a while ).

Swedish guys really need to drink less. 

Sadly, people talking through gigs seems to be a universal constant. Gits. Visuals were great although I did not have donkeys on my Depeche Mode Bingo Card. 

Thankfully they skipped the songs I really did NOT want to hear ( looking at you The Meaning of Love and It's Called A Heart ). 

Will not be leaving it so long next time.


Thanks very much to The Dark Outside. Go and visit the Bandcamp page - https://thedarkoutside.bandcamp.com/

Monday 12 February 2024



When I last ran a tour review project, Henno Teams reviewed the band's Paris Lollapalooza gig and that was a great read. Happily for us, he's back and here's his wonderful review of the Antwerp and Amsterdam gigs. Thanks very much indeed Henno. All photos are Henno's so don't steal them.

Last time you all heard from me when writing a review for the Paris show in 2018 I was 21, now I’m closer to 30 than 20 and my head does not cope with this thought well at all. A lot has happened in the meantime, the world has seemingly managed to simultaneously fall apart into a thousand little pieces and put itself back together again, as it usually does every now and then. 

Depeche Mode are no strangers to this phenomenon. Sadly we lost our dear Fletch and it seemed all was lost, but no, we were treated to Memento Mori and its subsequent tour. The boys would treat us to a new cycle of touring as a new invigorated band playing like you’d expect  few people in their twenties would. And now we find ourselves once again in the closing stages of this era of Depeche Mode. 

Last year I attended both Amsterdam shows. I had only booked the first show, luckily managed to grab some golden circle tickets for it, and I think like many others was unbelievably happy to see the boys out again on tour. The show that night was so good I did my best to snag another golden circle ticket for the second show and was happily successful. The shows were absolutely incredible and it felt like the boys were testing the waters, learning to be a band again so to speak, with the audience helping every step of the way.

This year was completely different. I had only booked Amsterdam on this 3rd and last leg of the tour, and went for the standard general admission this time around, but lo and behold my feet got itchy. I wouldn’t let this last leg of the Memento Mori tour go by with one last attempt to get up close to the band right? Right. As by now all shows were sold out and the resale price for the Amsterdam golden circle was beyond belief - seriously the pricing of concerts together with VIP experiences and these dreaded platinum tickets is becoming a big problem - so I had to make another plan.

Enter Antwerp. This show had no golden circle so a standard general admission ticket would suffice and after a few days I got lucky with a nicely priced resale ticket and off we went to Belgium! So this will unexpectedly turn into a double review! Oh my what did i get myself into, I hope you enjoy my ramblings and my photos from the shows as well.

Antwerp February 6th

As some of you may know, unlike most of the tour, the UK leg of shows were mixed by Marc Carolan, front of house engineer for Muse amongst others. Tonight Jamie would be “Behind The Wheel” again (sorry, bad pun). The Sportpaleis is no easy venue for an Audio engineer to mix live music as the venue is renowned for horrendous acoustics no matter the setup. But as it turned out there was no need to worry, the mix was powerful yet crystal clear, the Sportpaleis seemingly gave up and waved the white flag.

After a lengthy entry procedure i managed to secure myself a spot close to the b stage on Dave’s side and before long it was already time for Nadine Shah to warm up the crowd. I’m completely new to her music and thought her set was quite good, not really my taste personally, although I did say the same thing about Depeche Mode in 2013 and look what happened... 

As the clock ticks to 20:45 the lights go dark right on time, and it’s time for the big MODE to do their thing. The first few songs were a little hit and miss for Dave as he seemed to be struggling with his monitors on stage and his vocals were off for a bit every now and then. I saw Dave pointing to the side to have different levels changed and soon it seemed the problems were fixed and Dave shifted into higher gear. 

Right when Dave shifts into top gear, in comes my absolute favourite Depeche Mode song and the first time I’m ever hear it live - Policy Of Truth! And wow does it not disappoint, I almost cried a little! Now we’re in full swing and the band is sounding better than ever.

Superlatives aside, i think this is the best i have heard them sound as a band since my very first time seeing then in Lille back in 2017. This might just go into the books as my favourite DM show. And as is becoming quite clear, I’m not the only one enjoying it as the arena lets out a big cheer and starts clapping along to the intro for Everything Counts, the venue feels alive!

However, not for everyone. It has become very obvious some Tik Tok or Instagram influencers splurged out on some Early Entry tickets and had taken up the barrier besides me. Quite a shame really considering 4 people were taking up space where easily 7 could stand, but pushing me away when I danced too close. For about 80% of the show the people next to me seemed totally unbothered, looking towards an empty b-stage when the show was in full swing on the main stage. I don’t think I saw these people clap even once all night, but to each their own I guess.

As the night goes on I can’t help but feel that last year's shows feel like a rehearsal compared to this year. This is the full blown victory lap, the band is out guns blazing tonight. And as the set nears its conclusion it feels as if we are flying, all 23 thousand of us. 

By the time Enjoy The Silence arrives I feel in love, yet absolutely shattered, Depeche Mode just broke me into a thousand little pieces just to glue me back together again. It seems even the Tik Tok influencers have finally woken up from chatting on their phones and realised the show was happening behind them, despite not a single acknowledgement that they’re watching one of the very very best to ever do it though. 

After 23 wonderful songs the night comes to an end with the ever so rapturous Personal Jesus! Even the influencers are wagging a single finger up and down now, consider it a win Depeche Mode, consider It a win. 

As we head out i buy myself another piece of merchandising, i blame the band for being too good. And surprise surprise, i see one of my old DM related friends for the first time since we met in Lille at my first show, it can’t help but feel like a full circle moment. And so concludes my solo adventure to Antwerp, onwards to Amsterdam with the family!

Amsterdam February 8th

Today is different to last Tuesday in Antwerp, my tickets tonight won't allow me to get up close and it’s a family occasion tonight as well,  so let's enjoy this one together. 

The clock is already well past 8 by the time we get into the venue. Even if I had access to the Golden Circle I wouldn’t have come early today. The weather was absolutely dreadful with constant rain and whilst it’s only 3 degrees outside, the 18mph wind makes everything feel freezing. Brrrr.

We get a beer and make our way inside, opting to stand behind the front of house with the added bonus of seeing the engineers hard at work on the show. These guys are some real unsung heroes. I want to mention one of these great men in particular Jamie Pollack, front of house engineer and responsible for mixing the live show on this last leg of the Memento Mori tour. My god is he doing a great job. Not only is the sound crystal clear but it sounds powerful enough to shake you off your feet.

The show itself gets underway exactly one minute late - who cares -  and it is already clear to me from the start that Dave sounds even better tonight. His voice tonight sounds stronger than I’ve ever heard it live, and Dave seems more confident too. 

Yet the crowd tonight in Amsterdam seems unusually quiet, especially during the first half of the show, with the people in the 100 and 200 sections mostly remaining in their seats.

Even i am finding it more difficult to get into the flow of the show this time, maybe in part because I’m with family this time so I’m holding back a little, or because I’m standing in the very back. It feels more like watching the best band play instead of being in the middle of it, and very much part of it as it can feel that sometimes, the crowd becomes part of the band, Depeche Mode being a prime example. 

The band switches into higher gear again, once again Policy of Truth feels like a pivotal moment in the show, the band and the crowd are getting in sync now, time to take off once again. I think everybody is just as happy as me it is finally solidly back in the setlist. 

The second highlight of the night comes in the unexpected form of Before We Drown. It's my favourite track from Memento Mori and to be honest I never expected them to play it. It was already a treat in Antwerp, but the even better acoustics tonight make sure the song comes across much stronger. Martin's backing vocals on this song deserve extra praise, the swelling vocals together with the dark ominous synths just combine so beautifully. 

Seeing Depeche Mode live could better be described as a religious experience, it never gets old, we sing the same songs again and again and every time we leave the shows feeling stronger. Screaming along to I Feel You for instance, there’s something visceral to it, you feel part of the music, part of the experience and you can feel it reverberate in your bones. 

One would begin to question, will we ever get enough? By the time Martin, Dave, Peter and Christian take us for one more ride with Never Let Me Down Again, you know all is well. No we Just can’t get enough, ever. 

One more time the show must come to an end, one more time we get an invigorating performance if Personal Jesus but tonight I’m sad. How long before they’ll be back? As this is seemingly the last leg of the Memento Mori tour, we start questioning again whether or not it’s the last time. Given the absolute stellar form they’re in, you’d think they will definitely be back for one more round but then you have to as the question - how long will the wait be this time? Hopefully I’ll get to write for you again, and hopefully it wont take 6 years again. 

So of these two shows on this 3rd and final leg, which one was my favourite? Even though the performance by the band was slightly better at my home show in Amsterdam, Antwerp will be the one to beat for a long time coming, nothing beats seeing a band like this up close, it will Never Let You Down (Again).


Thanks Henno!