Thursday 27 July 2017


All good things must end and on 23 July in Cluj, Romania, the first leg of the Global Spirit Tour came to an end with a spectacular gig which included Mr Gore's birthday celebrations. Peter Fenn (@PJFENN) was there and he wrote this superb review which is a fitting end to the first part of The Global Spirit Tour Project. Thank you very much for that Peter. Thanks also as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group for letting me be the fox loose in their hen house of Depeche Mode treasures.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Forgive me if I indulge. April 7 1986 -  I still have my precious ticket stub. A 3000 capacity venue in Whitley Bay and it was shamefully half full - I was one of the youngest there at 13 for my first ever concert. I will never forget the thrill of hearing those alluring strains of Black Celebration.

Our boys would visit Whitley Bay one last time before the music became truly for the masses. That grey clad set shoehorned into an iron shed in a north eastern seaside town would soon, improbably perhaps, wind its way to Pasadena and the rest is history.

That enraptured teenager didn't quite follow suit and go onto to conquer the world (instead he moved to London to become a civil servant). However, 31 years later I'm somehow in Romania, still here and barely less excited as I was back then as Revolution rings out and the boots stomp across the screen once more.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

My partner and our friend Sue ( who lives in Romania) weren't up for getting too close to the stage so I made my way fairly close on my lonesome having enjoyed some beers and a stroll to the venue with homey 'Steviemick ' and his wife Louise ( who I was lucky to meet in rain soaked Bratislava earlier in the tour). There are advantages in solo standing as it opens you up to conversation with fellow fans. It was great to spend time ( and one or two more beers ) with Romanian devotees, one or two had been to the London show so we had some collective memories to share. The ladies next to me were clutching roses for Martin, while I felt like a (very) minor celebrity as a few fans grabbed a selfie with 'the guy from London'.

There are so many highlights but this evening was an opportunity for Romania to show just what Martin and his unsurpassable songbook means to them as we shared his 56th birthday celebrations. As he ran through his mid show slot, all around me posters were held aloft and roses thrown. So much love on display, rounded off by a Gordeno backed rendition of 'happy birthday' .

The fans embraced the set from the opener but there is always a special thrill as we reach the exhilarating new intro to Everything Counts following on the heels of a blistering Wrong. Thus begins the majestic run in to the encore where all inhibitions are shed and we collectively wave, jump, sway and maybe shed a tear as the band imperiously crank out the masterpieces.

As the band take off for their breather the place erupts in chanting their name, spine tingling adoration ringing out. They return after what seemed quite some time with birthday boy opting to stay with set staple Somebody. Couples embrace, singles look on wistfully and Martin delivers once more. Perhaps the band are emboldened by knowing they are moments away from a break in the tour with I Feel You and Personal Jesus seeming more intense than ever. Dave bows down at various points as if overcome, sinews straining as he gives it everything he's got. Our heroes hug before they leave us in our exhilaration, damp with sweat and the cooling rain now falling as the sky flashes with electricity.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

So the first leg is over. The accumulated memories always rush back of course and now I have many more wonderful ones to take their place among their number. The pangs of what it felt like to huddle round the radio in anticipation of the first play of a single , bunking off school to have that new album on release day, my poor dad driving me and my mates all the way to Birmingham and back for a show. And embarrassingly, the school fancy dress day when, in homage to Martin, I went bare chested with bondage chains across my scrawny frame (improvised by removing the steel links from my mother's hanging baskets...)

But despite all that personally defining baggage, tonight feels very much like the vigorous present. Depeche Mode's triumph is to have shaken off the threat of becoming a nostalgia act with imperious surety- remaining more relevant than a band nearing its 40th birthday has any right to. And my triumph (and yours ) is to embrace them as we find them now. We've been through a lot together. In the warmth of a balmy Romanian evening I'm thinking as long as we all keep this thing going we might just be ok. 


Thanks Peter!

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