Wednesday, 21 June 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, COMMERZBANK ARENA, FRANKFURT, 20 JUNE 2017

Today's review is provided by Nikolay Sabev who attended his seventh Global Spirit Tour show last night in Frankfurt. When he's not following Depeche around, he dj's as DJ N:Mode and you can check out hos music here https://soundcloud.com/djnmode . Nikolay's written a superb review of the Frankfurt show and here it is for your enjoyment. Thanks Nikolay. All photos are Nikolay's unless credited otherwise



My concert day started with an early train from Zurich to Frankfurt (also known as Mainhattan) that took about four hours. The heat that I experienced around the Swiss stop of the Global Spirit Tour was following me all along the way to Germany where a few hours before the concert the temperature was 35C – not cool!

I checked-in at my hotel near the Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) at about 13:00, went to see some friends for lunch and headed towards the stadium around 18:00. Frankfurt was my seventh concert on the Global Spirit Tour. I had decided to take a seat for a change, however, I managed to exchange it last minute for a FOS2 one with a girl in front of Commerzbank Arena who had a spare – the view (and energy) was much better so  it was a good decision on my end.

It is difficult to describe a show that was more or less identical with the previous ones I had seen during 2017 (excluding Glasgow as that was a one-off very intimate and unique event). When I say identical, I mean exactly the same setlist each and every night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Hannover for Strangelove but I hope Martin will sing it again at some point … maybe during the winter gigs depending on  how the routine is going.

Anyhow … it must be said that the Frankfurt crowd really made the concert a special one. After witnessing a very passive and quiet audience two days ago in Zurich, the one at Commerzbank Arena was on their feet from the beginning – I even looked around during Corrupt and majority of the seated fans were up and dancing – beat that!



Algiers were interesting but not my cup of tea – it seems that my favourite support band so far on the Global Spirit Tour are The Raveonettes. The Atlanta-based guys kicked off playing at 19:30 sharp and played for 30 minutes. The Beatles intro came on at 20:41 and here they were – Depeche Mode making an appearance at a city where they have a very solid following. It was obvious that the crowd would be on top form even before the guys hit the stage as everyone was evidently enjoying the punchy techno selection by Martin. 

As usual (on this tour), the show was flawless. Dave was in a great mood (as always) and the rest were feeling the energy at the venue from start to finish. Fletch requested a fan after the end of So Much Love while Dave was using the towel every few minutes. It is worth mentioning that in my opinion Going Backwards is one of the strongest tour openers they’ve had maybe since Higher Love in 1993 – I really feel this song. So Much Love is also a killer one – it sounds very solid live as well. Barrel Of A Gun sounds better on this tour than the previous one but to be honest, playing BOAG and A Pain That I'm Used To with the same arrangement two tours in a row is a little disappointing (at least to me). Corrupt works surprisingly well live and unlike many other places on this tour, in Frankfurt people were singing along with Dave on this one. 

The new (old) arrangement of In Your Room is providing this classic track with some vital new life that was much needed as since the last few tours people were getting a little tired of it. Next up was World In My Eyes and that is one my highlights on this tour – it just sounds so good live with the new intro and its overall arrangement. I also love the fact that it is just the band + lights with no video projection – very stripped-down performance. As usual, Cover Me ended with a crowd “clap” participation which Dave seemed to really enjoy – maybe because he is on the songwriting credits, who knows.



Martin performed A Question Of Lust and Home (as usual) which both sound great and I kind of understand his decision to keep them on a regular basis. They are two of his most popular solo tracks and Home especially really engages the large crowds / masses they are playing to. However, I would always welcome some new additions to this slot (i.e. Higher Love last tour was incredible).
Poison Heart and Where's The Revolution are not my cup of tea, especially the former – just don’t feel this song at all – I hope they will replace it with something else for the Winter Leg. WTR - I don’t mind too much but it doesn’t seem to work that well live – not sure why. 

Everything Counts and Stripped have been discussed a lot. The new intro of EC is a killer one and the Frankfurt crowd once again exploded once they heard the first notes of the original arrangement. The singalong went well this time (unlike Zurich) and Dave was quite happy (and proud) of it! Stripped is a legendary one – I just love this intro and it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it – I am very happy they play this one as it is one of my all-time favourites. Last tour, I got lucky to attend the second night in Madrid where they played Stripped for the first (and only) time on the DeMa Tour. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook Group

Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again worked perfectly fine as usual - all audience members clapping and traditionally waving hands during the latter. The video projection for ETS is a weird one but I don’t mind it too much – just trying not to focus on it for longer than few seconds as it doesn’t really develop into something. 

The encore was standard setlist-wise. The crowd loved Somebody and along the traditional LED mobile flash lights, you could see some old-school fans with lighters – loved it! Walking In My Shoes always works well live in my opinion, I’m happy to see it at the encore on this one – it really brings back the energy into the set. I find the video projection interesting – maybe because I lived in Berlin for four years and some of the filmed locations resonate with me. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook Group


After it was dropped in Hannover 2, "Heroes" was brought back both in Zurich and Frankfurt which means it will remain in the main set (at least for a while). I really appreciate that Dave loves Bowie and he really enjoys performing this masterpiece but for me it is still weird to accept that they perform a cover track live. I guess the last time they did that was with Route 66 … long time ago.

The last two songs – I Feel You and Personal Jesus - did their job and every single fan got what they paid for – top class entertainment!

To sum the concert up, it was another flawless show from the band – they seem to be feeling comfortable in their comfort zone and  are definitely not planning to leave it. Well, it seems that (so far) it works perfectly so  there's no room for criticism!

Next stop : Berlin!

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Thanks very much Nikolay - a great review.

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