Today's review is provided by Daniel Cassus, a Germany based Brazilian Depeche fan who is famous for being on camera more than Depeche Mode (!) during this year's gig in Berlin on the Spirit promo tour. Daniel has written a wonderful review giving the reader a real feel of what this huge gig was like, both in terms of highs and lows. He's also provided a treasure trove of pictures - they're all his so do not use them without asking him very nicely. Thanks very much indeed Daniel.
Hi there, fellow devotees. This is Daniel Cassús, who monopolized the Berlin Telekom Street Gig broadcast from March this year. Today is my turn to review a show for the blog Global Spirit Tour project. And it’s the first German show of this tour, so the black swarm gets hyper excited over this. I’ll try to not bore you, because by now you know the setlist, the tour projections, stage design, etc.
Ever since I moved to Germany I started to indulge in seeing multiple shows, probably to compensate for all the other tours that I only saw on DVD, VHS, LaserDisc, Beta…
In 2013 I chose Munich as my first one because it was the first German show of the tour. For this tour I applied the same logic with a twist: smaller cities if possible. So it happened to be Leipzig, just over 1 hour away from Berlin by train, but a city I had never visited after 4 years living here.
I confess I was somewhat disappointed. Leipzig is much smaller than neighboring Dresden and it sells itself as a city for fairs and conventions, but apparently there were 2 other events taking place this weekend and the city was overfilled with people. Hotels were charging 4 to 6 times more than in Dresden and affordable Airbnb apartments were also disappearing from the radar very fast. With the show foreseen to end by 23h, a sleep over was the only option.
The Festwiese is what the name says: an open air field for events. It’s a great venue for a festival, but this is just one show with two opening acts. Doors opened at 16h, and the band was supposed to go on stage at 21h, the sun was scorching and people were not moving from one place to another. A few passed out. Security guys offered free water to the people in the first rows of each area. A nice gesture from a crew known to be a real family. More on the show's organization that later.
Another downside of the “smaller city” idea was that public transportation was completely chaotic during the exit. All streetcars were crammed with people against the glass.
Enough about the venue. Let’s talk a little about the opening acts because that’s obviously what you came here for, right? Ok, I’ll be brief. F. O. X. was amazing. They have a Le Tigre-Gossip-The Sounds-La Roux-Yazoo thing going on that definitely rings many bells with DM fans. The Horrors, on the other hand, were… well… horrible. Just a Strokes-meets-Oasis on a bad shoegazing day. I confess I didn’t pay any attention to them and kept playing Candy Crush on my phone to pass the time.
Sign o' times: the screens showed multiple alerts about emergency exits. Still, it was stressful to leave from the FOS areas at the end because the barriers were left in place and people were being slowly funneled out. Had there been an emergency, it could have been a tragedy (knock on wood). Also, no video about the charity:water partnership. C'mon, people you're letting me down.
"You say you want a revolution" - well, you know this is the cue to get ready. Band gets on stage and Dave makes his ZooTV-esque entrance by showing his silhouette in front of the colorful video created by Anton for Going Backwards (yes, it’s a reverse video of paint dropping on the lens, I bet Anton was influenced by my video).
You can tell Dave is genuinely enjoying himself when he does the chicken dance. Well, during Barrel Of A Gun he indulged in a monkey dance too. And then went back to the chicken dance on A Pain That I'm Used To. There was even a dog dance at some point too. You see how everything is connected with the Enjoy The Silence tour video? ;)
I was a Corrupt hater when it came out. To me, it was just DM trying and failing to sound sleazy, like Dead of Night and Goodbye. But this song gained a totally new depth played live. They also added some reverb effects on Dave’s voice that makes it special and not just a karaoke version of the studio one.
I’m still on the fence about videos like the ones for In Your Room and Walking In My Shoes. I didn’t pay any attention to the band at all during these two songs. In Your Room in particular has a Pina Bausch feel to it. Walking In My Shoes is pretty literal, down to the “forbidden fruits” part. By the way, did I mention hearing the album version of In Your Room gave me goosebumps?
I noticed the first chords of Cover Me slowed down a little compared to the promotional shows. I hope they don’t turn it into that Personal Jesus drag from the previous tours. Hopefully it just Dave adding 1 or 2 seconds of drama to the performance. That’s ok.
When I saw that Martin didn’t sing any new song and only played his 3 singles I was disappointed. And A Question Of Lust on piano yet again? But Peter toned down his inner Liberace and it was very moving. The same applies to Somebody. And Home with the full band is just pure....oooohhhhh...bliss.
Nothing new here, but I have to just state that Wrong is a killer track. This is how it should have been played on the Tour Of The Universe, preferably as the first song of some encore. It has such a build up potential in this form. I can even waive that the final verse is missing.
Before the show, we were told there would be fireworks 800 meters exactly in front of the stage due to one of the other events in the city. Great planning, uh? These fireworks went off during Everything Counts and Stripped. Thanks to a camera behind Dave, we saw these fireworks on the side screens (or else we would have to turn our heads 180º). I thought they would disturb the show, but they were not audible and created a great effect. Maybe they should adopt this for the future? It was much better than the airplanes passing by every 20 minutes over the stage during my first concert in Buenos Aires, 2009.
I noticed they beefed up the electronic parts in Stripped, I Feel You and Never Let me Down Again (did anyone notice a better bassline?). Great move.
Now I may get stoned for these next two remarks, but I actually enjoyed the video for Enjoy The Silence. Yes, the song hasn't changed since the Exciter tour, but I found the animals cute. Yes, it's another one-pony trick by Anton if compared to the Precious video from last tour, but I'm a dog person and there's a cute boxer in it. And yes, I'm aware that the In Your Room video is also reminiscent of the banned Strangelove one and Cover Me is Enjoy The Silence, Behind The Wheel, and Devotional's Never Let Me Down Again reloaded.
The second hot topic is the t-shirt gun. It's so camp - I like it! On all of the 8 Delta Machine tour gigs I saw, Dave was so exhausted during the deodorant check part, he looked awkwardly not knowing what to do with his hands anymore, already tired of waving them after 800 shows. Now Dave has his hands busy and some fun at the same time. Feel free to disagree with me on everything, but on these two in particular.
Encore time and once again Peter took his xanax and made a beautiful performance of Somebody. I am soooo gonna whisper the lyrics to this song on my SO's ears on the Berlin show later next month. Walking In My Shoes finally got the crowd going wild. "Heroes" sounded so much better live than on the bad YouTube videos I had seen so far. Save your judgement for when you see it live or on the official dvd. Dave's been saying he wants a shorter set, but they play the full album version of "Heroes", not just the short single edit. You can tell this is the most emotional moment of the show for them.
Talk about I Feel You, we all know it has been too long in the setlist, but it finally got the short intro it deserved since after Devotional. The one on Delta Machine was good too, but this is more cut to the chase. Also, either Dave struggled to sing it or someone mixed his mic too low in the first verses.
Personal Jesus also came with beefier electronic sounds and the stereo panning effects are just so awesome during the instrumental part (if you're in the center like I was). Crystal clear sound.
And that was it. Band takes a bow. Dave does a particularly long goodbye on stage. My verdict is that the performance was amazing, but the organization left a little to be desired and the overall experience was very good, but could have been better. But then again, this was just the first out of 4 shows I’m going (so far). I did drop a load of money in the merchandise stands, so they'll use my money to fine tune these small perks. I hope you enjoyed my review and see you next week in Dresden.
Thank you Daniel - what a great read.