This review comes courtesy of a good friend of the blog, Panos Sialakas. Panos has contributed on here before during the Month Long Period Of Rejoicing where he wrote wonderfully about Black Celebration and, in a more general sense, as unpaid fact checker and unofficial editor. Panos is a huge Depeche Mode brain and he's kept me right on many occasions. Enjoy this great review of the Athens gig (and his photos) and remember to check out his blog at http://www.pop-mart.tk/
Terra Vibe is difficult place for gigs. It’s about 40 km north of Athens, there’s no decent transportation and when there’s a bad weather, it’s really bad.
So for the last couple of days the question was simple: will the Depeche gig go on as scheduled or will it be cancelled. You see there were a series of weather projections about a rainstorm in that particular area in late afternoon, early evening. Around the time of the gig that is.
Considering the fact that the Greek crowd had experienced the last minute cancellation in 2009, you can easily understand why there was such tension this time around.
The promoter was insisting that things would go as planned and the band would be on stage at around 9.30 pm. OK then, anxious about what will happen I arrived at that difficult place at about 7 pm. The rain had stopped for an hour and the sky seemed ok, cloudy but not that heavily. There was mud though.
Still, happy to see some of my friends there…The Raveonettes did their set, some like it, I didn’t.
9.35 pm…Revolution by The Beatles, now that was a nice surprise for an intro. A minute later the band was on stage and the show started… and it was just brilliant.
Now I’ve read quite a few posts on forums and social media about the first part of the show being slow. OK, Going Backwards is not as powerful as it is on the record and Barrel Of A Gun lacks the dramatic tone of the original but the rest was just fine, particularly So Much Love, Corrupt, In Your Room (finally in its original glory) and World In My Eyes (best version since 1993).
Two days of rest were quite evident in Dave’s vocals and Mart seemed a bit more active than usual in his own set, although doing his singles only was a bit of let down. At least this time we managed to hear Home based on the original version.
Funny thing about the second part of the show, first there were the lowest moments with Poison Heart (what the hell was that?) and Where’s the Revolution (it doesn’t really go anywhere) followed by the highest moments of Wrong and Everything Counts, new intros and rhythms making old people like me wanting to jump around and sing as loud as they can.
And then there were the anthems – Stripped, Enjoy the Silence, Never Let Me Down Again. Some others and I might be critical of the fact that they’re the same old versions, but the Athens crowd – and I’m pretty sure most casual fans – really didn’t care about that, or the rain drops that were falling around that time.
The encore would be perfect if there wasn’t I Feel You, the same boring “rock on” version. Walking In My Shoes sounded as powerful as ever; the tribute to Bowie with "Heroes" was appropriate, no sentimental crap there. And no more slow bluesy crap in Personal Jesus, just reach out and touch faith!
That was it…the tension had been transformed to excitement. And when the gig finished I was hearing nothing but words of excitement and joy from people in the audience. Some were saying that was the best Athens gig.
Probably. The stage is too small for the show standards, there’s minimum interaction between band members, some songs sound the same like in the last few tours. Again, for the hardcore fans those can be huge things. For the about 15,000 fans that attended the Athens gig in difficult conditions, there are just minor details that they probably didn’t pay attention to. They “just” enjoyed a brilliant Depeche Mode show.
Thanks very much Panos.