Monday, 30 October 2017


The final show of the North American leg of the Global Spirit Tour saw the band land at Rogers Place, Edmonton which is where today's reviewer Tracy Anderson comes from. Tracy is a fellow blogger and she runs the site In Search Of Rock Gods which I very much recommend you all visit as it's a treasure trove of musical goodness. As well as writing about rock gods, Tracy also draws them and the wonderful drawing of Mr Gahan below is one of her own. Tracy's magnificent review captures the excitement of seeing Depeche Mode for the very first time and she caught them on the finest of form. All pictures are hers too so don't steal them or we'll come after you. Enjoy.

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, Pastel Pencil by Tracy Anderson

Ok, I don’t know what just happened, but something happened that I never imagined could ever happen… I’ve just seen a concert with energy that approached the level of U2 in Dublin levels!!! And it wasn’t even U2… Whaaaaatttt???!!!! 

Now, some of you might be thinking “pffft – what does that even mean? U2 in Dublin level energy???” So let me just say that it is THE bar for concert energy; it’s A levels, Top Gun, the Oscars of praise for concert energy… I’ve tried capturing the magnitude of a U2 in Dublin show in a previous post on my blog here. No energy elsewhere like it. But this came close! 

The funny thing is, that U2 Dublin energy is largely in part due to the connection between the band and Dublin, and the thousands of fans that make the pilgrimage to see them play their hometown, but this concert had no such connection. 

This was Depeche Mode’s Global Spirit Tour in Edmonton… a special night in itself, the last concert of the leg. But, unless there is some mystical relationship between DM and Edmonton that I am unaware of, there is no explanation for this energy other than Depeche Mode are freakin awesome live (they are) and Edmonton loves Depeche Mode (umm, yah, we do!) and all the other stars that make for a great show aligned that night. 

Depeche Mode and Audience Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

Strangely, my section and most of the section next to me sat through almost the whole show, which was weird in itself, because we were in the seats directly to the side of the stage. The band could see us clearly; Martin Gore was positioned right there and Dave Gahan came over often to sing right to us. This proximity would have most crowds on their feet. So, usually, does this type of music… Everyone else that I could see was standing; rocking, screaming, singing, dancing the night away. I’m telling you, the energy was palpable, electric, tingles down your spine! 

It was the perfect symbiotic relationship of band and audience giving and feeding off of each other. Dave is the ultimate performer; he is dramatic, animated, graceful; moving like a dancer, literally (I even literally mean literally here!) spinning in circles so fast and so long that most other people would fall over dizzy or stumble around in that woozy drunken vertigo that we used to purposefully aim for as kids.

Dave Gahan Blue Lavender Ethereal 2 Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017
Though there was very little spoken communication throughout the night from the band (outside of check-ins to ask if we are all having a great time, frequent shout outs of ‘Edmonton,’ and the most sincere thank yous I have ever heard), Dave communicated with the audience through his body. Constantly reaching out to us, holding the mic stand as far out as possible for us to sing, bending over the stage, making eye contact, even holding hands with some lucky fans at the end of the runway stage. If there is an invisible web of cables that send energy, emotion, and life-force from human to human, Dave oozes those cables. He spins that web, reaching out with natural enigmatic charisma to everyone in the audience, drawing us in. And the audience latched on wholeheartedly to those cables and rapid-fired that intensity right back to the band.

Dave Gahan B&W Close Up Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I have to tell you the significance of this concert for me. I’ve been a fan of Depeche Mode since Violator, but I connected so deeply and completely with Songs Of Faith And Devotion. The poetry. The emotion. The honesty. The passion. The darkness. The vampiric soul. It is just one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard and it cemented my devotion (yah, I chose that word :D) to this band.

It came out in 1993, some months before I moved to California, my first major move away from home, where the biggest place I’d ever lived was Edmonton – population 626,999 at the time. When the tour was announced, my friends and I made plans to go see DM in Los Angeles. I’d never seen them live, in fact my concert-going experience was limited to only three shows at the time, and I was so excited at the idea of seeing Depeche Mode live, and going to a big concert in L.A. – a big deal for a small-town girl with a big love of music.

I don’t remember what happened, but I never went. I was crushed. Gutted. Broken-hearted to miss it and the idea of going by myself never even occurred to me back then. I never again had the opportunity to see them live. Until this year, 24 years later, and the Global Spirit Tour is announced with a date in my very city. 

That’s right, twenty-four years later, finally, this is my very first Depeche Mode concert! Twenty-four long long years! (I feel so old right now…) But damn, were they ever worth the wait! I mean, I wish I hadn’t had to wait a quarter of a century to see them (well, that phrase didn’t help with the feeling old thing!), but life is like that. These days, I am at the state in life where I can more actively search for my rock gods and I jump at any chance to see them live. Life is short. Buy the damn concert tickets! So I did.

Dave Gahan Close Up Blue Violet Portrait Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017
The seat I chose was in an area I’ve never sat in before for a concert, the very first section, right next to the side of the stage, row 10, though really only 4 rows up from the stage. It was almost like being on stage! I could see the tour trunks labelled ‘Depeche Mode,’ some guitars, and a whole lot of sound equipment on the floor around this section. The music geek in me, the 17 year old wanna-be sound engineer in me, was freaking out! 

I sat down, sights and sounds invoking thoughts in my mind a mile a minute as my brain tried so hard to catch up with this exquisite sensory overload and the promise of what was to come: Are those stairs leading to the stage where the band might enter from? Do those video cameras mean this night is being filmed?? (I desperately want to go to a show that ends up being the dvd :D); no, there would be more cameras, and likely tracks on the floor, and notification at the arena entry. Oh, I see stairs on the stage! Oh wow, that’s a platform, cool! Hmmm, I suspect with this dead-on perpendicular angle to the stage, I might not be able to see the images on the screen and I know some of them are by Anton Corbjin. That’s ok, I am sooo freaking close to the stage! Hey wait? Is that piece of paper on that trunk the setlist!? Why, yes it is, thank you, zoom lens! 

Depeche Mode Lights Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017.

Ok, settle down, it’s almost time for the opening act – Warpaint. In my determination to be unsullied from information, I’ve heard only two comments to date about this band; one was rave reviews, one was meh… but I can’t wait to hear them. Jeez, there is, like, no one in my section or the next section, is this concert not sold out? Oh god, please let it not be poor attendance in these sections! That would suck for DM to see an empty section so close up! What does that do to a band’s thought process while up on stage!? On the other hand, I’ll be able to go right down to the first row and stand and dance and sing like no one but the band is watching (wait, that’s a terrifying thought!), without worrying about blocking anyone behind me! 

Warpaint are really good! I love their sound, and I hate that I still have to say this and I hate that I have to debate about whether I should say it, whether mentioning this helps or just adds to the problem – but they are an all-female band, not just singing, but playing all the instruments. Why is this still so rare? Lots of female solo-artists, yes; lots of female-fronted bands, sure; a female instrumentalist in a band of guys? Less sure about that. But a full female band? What is it about the music world that either makes females not pick up an instrument in the first place, or makes the industry think they wouldn’t be successful? These women are super talented. Beautiful atmospheric rock. Remarkable soundscapes.

Anyways, I should have known not to worry about attendance, as with so many shows, the audience waltzed in after the opening act. I’m itching with anticipation. Finally, the lights go down. And the sound goes up. Revolution by The Beatles (appropriate choice, I’d say!) plays on the sound system to the expectant roar of the audience, then abruptly stops. 

A repetitive drumming begins. Those feet appear on the screen, tiny, marching in one spot, growing bigger and bigger. Depeche Mode comes on stage to deafening applause and cheers, Martin, right there on our side. Then Dave. 

Dave Gahan and Martin Gore Blue Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017
And that wondrous sound of Going Backwards. Pulsing, beating, pounding. You know, for the longest time, I thought the lyrics said “We are not bigots. We have not evolved” … It was only when I looked it up that I learned the line is “We are not there yet. We have not evolved.” I love this song and its relevance for today’s world. Such a poignant poetic understanding of these times.

I am immediately and utterly floored by Depeche Mode live. This is a band and a sound that was made for live performances. The soundscapes emanating through a proper, super high quality, loud, arena-filling sound system are mind-blowing! All the notes, sounds, thrills that you just cannot hear on the radio or home system. Just wow! 

Dave Gahan and Martin gore Passion Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

So Much Love now. There is just so much grit in this music. I can feel the drums, that deep, rich bass. I feel the vibrations up from the ground, but I can feel it, you know? It moves me. My legs are involuntarily grooving to the beat, my head has a mind of its own (a ha ha, I crack me up!) and is nodding in time. God, I so desperately want to stand up. I keep looking behind me to see if people are standing. If they are already standing, so can I. The guy in front of me jumps up every now and then, but he just pumps his fist in the air, hollers, and then sits down again. Noooo, just stay up! If you stay up, then I can too!

Barrel Of A Gun. Oh god, this song. Dave is deep in the spell of this song, arms out, swinging them side to side, theatrical, swaying. I cannot get over his performance throughout the night. Skipping, dancing, marching, gyrating. Every inch of his body is moving all the time, down to his facial expressions. This is pure showman. I’m sure every cell of him is on fire.

Dave Gahan Close Up Profile Arms Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

Corrupt. In Your Room. World In My Eyes. This show is astonishing! This energy has permeated 
every nook and cranny of this building. This setlist. Edmonton is enthralled tonight! 

Cover Me. Beautiful, haunting song. Heart-breaking. Dave sounds so amazing. Voice of an angel. A dark angel, perhaps. So passionate. Seriously, I cannot get over him live. Why is this my first time seeing them? This might just be another band I need to see multiple shows per tour… Oh man, I need to win the lotto so I can afford this habit!

A Question of Lust. A Question of Lust!! A freaking Question of freaking Lust!!!! This might be my favorite song of theirs… I’m not sure, I mean there’s Judas, and One Caress, and every song from Songs Of Faith And Devotion, Little 15, Personal Jesus, and Wrong, and, well, all the songs! But this song is top five for sure. Martin on vocals. His performance seems shier after the gregariousness of Dave, Martin starts out as close to the back of the stage as the drum kit in his way lets him. He slowly, almost demurely, hesitantly, tip toes closer to the front, gorgeously singing, no theatrics, just voice. What a voice! The audience randomly cries out in appreciation mid song. 

Martin Gore B&W Close Up Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

Home. More Martin, another of my favorite songs. Bass and drums like a heartbeat. Edmonton chanting, clapping, yelling. Martin comes all the way out on the runway. And runs back to main stage to take a bow. God, can this get any better? Dave comes back on stage and Edmonton spontaneously bursts into whoa oh ohs from Home, not letting the song end. Dave encourages us, holding the mic out into the crowd. This audience is knocking my socks off!

Poison Heart. Dave, and the return of the beautiful dramatics. I cannot stop taking pictures! He is poetry in motion. I was half right about the screen – I can see the graphics, they aren’t blocked, but I am so close and so perpendicular to the stage that I can either look at the screen or I can watch Dave and Martin. I can’t really even see the rest of the band when I am watching these two or when I look at the screen, they are in the peripheral either way. So I am choosing to watch Dave. He is hard not to watch even when I try. 

Dave Gahan Mic Stand Close Up Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017
Where’s the Revolution? Damn I love this song! This is a question so many of us are asking daily… This world is, well, going backwards in so many ways, in so many places (yes, I’m talking about Trump and Brexit and the likes) and what are we as a world society doing about it? Where’s the revolution people!? And I don’t mean violence. Where’s the peaceful revolution. This time, when the guy in front of me stands up, I stand up, and I stay standing. I need to move. This music has my soul tonight! Luckily, I am in the first seat, so I am standing mostly in the aisle, trying not to block anyone’s view…

Wrong. Seriously. So many of my favorite songs. The lyrics of this song are so honest. The repetition of ‘wrong’ in each line of the song. The power of the music driving home that honesty, that intensity of feeling you are just wrong, “There's something wrong with me chemically, Something wrong with me inherently, The wrong mix, In the wrong genes…”

Dave Gahan Red Close Up Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017
Everything Counts. And the crowd goes mad! Everyone is on their feet, including my section. Woo hoo! Oh, the bass is jacked up! These drums! Dave is dancing with the mic stand, twirling around like it’s his dance partner. Yelling at the crowd to sing, and we are, top of our lungs, random bursts of screams. Freaking bloody wow!

Stripped. Hot! And again, the crowd singing, clapping, waving, screaming. We are so into this night.

And then, the crowd loses its collective mind. Enjoy the Silence. I have never heard Edmonton sing like this! Dave keeps shouting “Edmonton!” like a metal singer. He is spinning again, spinning and spinning. “Edmonton! Let’s hear you sing!” And boy, we do not disappoint! The synth is wild. My whole section is back on their feet. This is in-freaking-credible! Whoosh! The applause after this song… holy crap… this is utter madness this love, this night, this energy!

Dave Gahan Dancing And Martin Gore Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

Just when you think thing might settle down, a whole new round of screaming begins with the intro notes to Never Let Me Down Again. We cannot contain ourselves any longer. We are still singing like mad, Dave has us waving our arms to and fro with such vigor… And then he pulls out a t-shirt launcher?!?! Lucky fans, whoever caught the stuff! What a finale! The end of the main set and the crowd goes freaking berserk! The band thank us and leave the stage. Most shows, I’ve seen people leave at this point, thinking it really is the end. But not this crowd! We want our encore! 

And then. The encore. The screen gives away the next song: Somebody. I am standing up again. This song… Martin and a piano only. I might love this song more than A Question of Lust. It is probably everyone’s wishlist for their somebody to love. So beautiful, and the crowd is singing again. And screaming. And singing. Every single word. Ahhhh, this song! Edmonton hasn’t quite grasped the mass cell phone flashlight thing yet, there are only a handful of people holding them up, turning the arena into an only slightly starry night.

Martin Gore Red Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

Walking In My Shoes. I’m telling you, Songs Of Faith And Devotion! This album… jees… Dave, strutting, dancing, Elvis posing. Sigh… And then "Heroes." I love this song. Ah, David Bowie, how I miss you! This cover, Dave sings it with such emotion, I just want to cry.

The night wraps up with two of the most intense, crowd pleasing, crowd participating, energetic songs on the list, I Feel You and Personal Jesus. God, I love these songs too! They sound sooooo good live! This encore is the bomb! (That’s my 90s slang for you!). Dave is roaring. This crowd is responding like it’s the beginning of the night, not the end. Like we have all the energy in the world, still. Like we are the Rocks Gods. I can’t believe this night! Tell me again why I have not seen Depeche Mode before now??? 

Dave Gahan B&W Close Up Profile Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour Rogers Place Edmonton Oct 27 2017

And with that, Depeche Mode thank us, hug each other tightly, linger a little bit on the stage, and then they are gone. To be seen next in Europe; November 15 in Dublin. 

I wonder if I can make a trip overseas this winter….

Wow… This post got long! I meant to just summarize the night, but apparently I was inspired… If you made it this far and want to see even more photos from this show, please come visit my Gallery! What a night!


Thanks very much Tracy!

Sunday, 29 October 2017


One of the things I'v really enjoyed about this whole thing has been following Amanda Chaffee and Tara Salt's adventures from their unlucky European trip (lost bags, redirected flights and more) all the way through to the pair's seeming ability to attend every concert on the North American leg, constantly jealous of the way they manage to be recognised by and meet the band. You may recall that Amanda is now the proud owner of one of Mr Gahan's towels for example. Anyway, Amanda's tour has come to an end and here is her final report, this time from Austin on 20 September. Enjoy.

My tardiness requires that I start this post with an apology to David and our readers for the massive delay on providing this review. Thank you all for your patience. Following the band for 19 of their 29 North American shows – flitting in and out hotels, friends houses, and my own apartment for eight weeks – has been an incredible, yet challenging, adventure.

The venue for the Austin gig was by far the most unique, with the amphitheater located adjacent to a Formula-1 race track. The VIP dinner was located on a patio overlooking the track, whose entertainment complex is actually located in Del Valle, Texas in a remote, grass-covered area outside Austin. Unfortunately there weren’t any cars out making runs, so the track and its stands were eerily quiet while thousands of fans descended upon the entrance to the amphitheater a hundred yards away.

The heat for both Texas shows was oppressive – with temperatures in the upper 80s/low 90s (low-mid 30s for Celsius folks) and humidity hovering between 50 and 60 percent, even after sunset. I was grateful this venue had set out huge swamp fans, but sadly they were too far from our seats to feel them during the show. Though I was prepared with ample water and my hand fan, I still left with most of my dress soaked in sweat. I reckoned I may have sweat more than Dave at this show. The heat didn’t seem to affect the band’s performance, however. Martin appeared in a pair of capri-length pants instead of his usual pants for the night, and the band carried on blowing the non-existent roof off the venue despite the heat.

After a disappointing crowd in Nashville, I was relieved to find Texan fans bringing more enthusiasm to the show. As seems to be standard for most shows in the North American leg, the crowd took the first few songs in as smoldering kindling before growing into a full fire. 

Though we were far off to Fletch’s side, Dave still sought us out for some sing-alongs, this time giving Tara the last chant in “Everything Counts,” and breaking his routine of circling center stage to share a verse of “Poison Heart” with us (which, interestingly, he repeated in Dallas two nights later, for a different verse and on the complete opposite side of the stage). 

The usual suspects (Everything Counts, Enjoy the Silence, Never Let me Down Again, Personal Jesus, etc.) whipped the crowd into peak frenzy. That’s not to say that the crowd didn’t enjoy some of the newer or lesser known tracks. Cover Me has been consistently well-received in North America, and the double-header of Wrong and Where’s the Revolution always seems to get people pumped. During Personal Jesus, DM’s head of security held back venue security from shooing people gathering in the aisles from other rows, so we had a bouncing dance party for the last track, going out with a bang.


Thanks Amanda.

Saturday, 28 October 2017


The second last gig of the second leg saw Depeche Mode arrive in Vancouver for another rapturously received show. Alan Lines traveled all the way from Southampton to see this one and wrote this cracking review for the blog. Look out for more from him on the 3rd leg. Thanks very much for this Alan and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook group for letting me run amok again. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos &Videos Facebook Group


So after reading the reviews on Portland it looks like we are in for another great night of modeness. First some background on me. In 2006 shortly after meeting my long suffering wife Nicky, we started arranging all our holidays during tour time around DM concerts. I'm not the kind of fan that knows the bands Birthday's or the name of Dave's cat I just love their music and seeing them live. Of all the countries we've seen them i guess a field in Costa Rica was the highlight. Or maybe it was making life long friends in Lithuania! So many happy memories. Tonight promises to be extra special as we missed Rome due me falling off my bike and breaking some bones! Right time to put on my new DM Mohawk hat and head into town.

The Concert

Well what a night, an absolutely stunning performance from the boys.

As we neared the venue we started to feel like we were the only people not going to the football match in the stadium next door. Still no DM shirts on view and when we reached the arena we actually wondered if we were at the right venue! Of course that all changed when we went inside! We took our seats early and enjoyed Warpaint who were very well received by the crowd. We were still very anxious (along with others we spoke to) at the thought of having to sit through the concert. However we need not have worried because as soon as the band came on everyone stood up and got straight into the concert, unlike many European concerts we have been too. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos &Videos Facebook Group

From the start Dave in particular was on fire. It was only our third concert of this tour so I don't know if this has been happening everywhere but from what I saw Dave was interacting with the crowd more than ever. Maybe it was just us but we thought the band put more energy than ever into it (didn't think that was possible!) and it certainly paid off. Our days of fighting for front row seats/standing are long gone so we are often amongst the less super hard core fans. Row 27 tonight and in these areas although the view is still great the atmosphere can be a little subdued compared to front of stage. A lot of people we spoke had only seen DM once or twice and were probably hearing some of the tracks for the first time. However they were feeding off the bands energy and going crazy at every one of Dave's antics. There was lots of whooping and a hollering from the male part of the audience too! 

After the first few tracks everybody was ready for a classic and In Your Room hit the spot. Although I hate to criticise this was one of many tracks where the sound wasn't right, the vocals were just not loud enough at key points or was the background music too strong? This was also the case with Home, Walking In My shoes and "Heroes." Never experienced this before so maybe it was a local thing. No sing a long after the amazing rendition of Home but I don't think the crowd were aware of the possibility and Martin didn't try to start it. It was good to see Fletch get a mention from Dave around this point. Andy was great tonight and seemed to be really enjoying the night. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos &Videos Facebook Group
Well the concert powered on it seemed without let up tonight and hit 11 when the crowd realised the new intro was for Everything Counts. From then until the encore the band carried on excelling with each song getting great crowd responses. I've seen more hands for Never Let Me Down Again but could see a lot of people blown away by the whole thing. The encore, Somebody, was just perfect. And then the funny thing -  the crowd seemed to go a little flat for Walking In My Shoes. It then became quite emotional for "Heroes" and flatish again for the last two tracks. Was I the only who wanted to reach out?! I had a good look around and realised everybody was still loving it but not interacting like we often see. However there was still plenty of that whooping and a hollering from guys and girls. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos &Videos Facebook Group

So, in summary I hope I haven't sounded critical in any way. It was our first North American concert and I have tried to highlight the differences. Considering the group are near the end of the leg it's amazing they are still putting on such high energy, aweeeeeeeesome shows and Vancouver you rocked. I don't do twitter etc so don't know the gossip but seeing Dave and Fletch appearing to be getting on ok was the highlight for me.


Thanks Alan!

Friday, 27 October 2017


Part 4 of the Hollywood Bowl specials is written by Depeche Mode live debutant Karen Sykes-Orpe from Los Angeles. Karen picked quite a night to see Depeche live for the first time because, as we all know by now, Night 4 at the Bowl produced a setlist most fans would kill to see. Karen has tried to express the emotions she felt that night here and, if you ask me, she's done just that. It's a great review and one you'll love. Thanks very much for this Karen and for the photos. The other pictures appear courtesy of my usual source, Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook group.

How do you write a review about a fabulous, emotional, joyful, and historic night of Depeche Mode? You give your pinot noir the side eye and dive right in! Here we go!

Now, I’ve always been a fan of the band… but the Global Spirit Tour would be my first time seeing them live! I know, I know… How can THAT be? I’m a big supporter of better late than never, so I made sure to get tickets to all four shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Turning 50 does have its advantages, you know :-) I secured second row seats for the last night, so part of this review is to share a little bit of some cool VIP action, too. 

Oh Devotees, when you can – please SPLURGE! I do not regret a single dollar spent on this amazing journey. It’s been wonderful reading about all the amazing exploits people have experienced over the years. We all deserve a special DM night! Do it!

Now, the Hollywood Bowl is a great, relaxed venue tucked up on a hillside with lovely trees and greenery all around. However, the Bowl has rotten parking! Fortunately, the HB offers a low-cost shuttle service from various points around the city. I made sure to get to the local pick up spot early so I could be on the first bus to the Bowl. Lots of smiles, black celebration wear, and vino on the bus makes for a great commute in LA rush hour traffic. 

As I sat down on the shuttle, I recognized Dannette, whom I had met at the 101 Eat, See, Hear event in August. (The ESH folks screened the 101 documentary by DA Pennebaker at the Pasadena Rose Bowl – so fab!) She, too, had secured a VIP seat so we fell into an easy and more than excited conversation about what the night would bring us.

Karen (left)

Upon arrival at the venue around 6:15 we quickly headed to the “Patio” area, which included priority check-in (and a fancy-wancy cloth bracelet); pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers (a tasty apple-walnut salad, roasted corn succotash, pasta salad, and pork chops); dessert (milk and cookies!); complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks; hospitality room featuring themed d├ęcor (check out the DM shrine!); photo backdrop and Depeche Mode music; merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers (an actual Depeche Mode swag bag!); and a collectible laminate to remember the evening. (Yup, I’m a VIP, LOL.)

A bag of swag.

After chatting with other fans and noshing on snacks, we made our way inside the Bowl. We had to split up as Dannette was in Pool Section A and I was in Pool Section D; btw, I was right in front of Mr. Martin Lee Gore. After we found our spots, we met up in the middle of the VIP zone and took a fun picture!

7:30 pm – Here come Jenny Lee, Theresa, Emily, and Stella! I was a Warpaint fan before I knew they were opening for DM, so I was really excited to see them. I’m also a notorious “feel the music” kind of gal, so I stood up and swayed away to the dream pop sounds of the band. So Good! I got a shout out from Theresa at the end of their set for dancing (listen to Love Is to Die) love is to dance, you know.

It wasn’t too long after that when folks started scooching into Section D - Merissa, Natalie, Gabriella, Mike, Leah, Rob, Rob, and Lucy all settled into their slightly padded folding chairs, a stone’s throw from the stage. We made gushing pleasantries and anxiously awaited the Beatles’ Revolution. DM fans make fast friends.

And then… that riff, the screeching, the familiar “Alright!” I kept looking at the screen, waiting for the little boots… when they started walking along, we all started to lose it! We were reaching out to each other like good ole DM supplicants. We knew another great show was about to begin.

You know how the rest goes… the stage fog, the beautifully painted backdrop, Dave perched on the second level… Oh, wow! Every one of the Bowl shows had a slightly different feel to it… and this one was electric!! Going Backwards is a powerful song for poignant times, to be sure.

My lil Pool D crew were singing along and ready for song two. Would it be So Much Love or a switch up? The video didn’t immediately pop up… and I held my breath. Synthy action and OMG – It’s No Good! The harmonies were still pretty tight on the chorus and I was lovin’ it. Everyone around me was lovin’ it, too!

Barrel Of A Gun, with the full “wakka chicka” and “don’t push me fun” sounds really great this tour. It’s a bit livelier than previous versions but fits in so well with the darker, grittier edge of the set list

A Pain That I’m Used To was also jamming - I’ve always enjoyed the Jacques Lu Cont Remix. I was so happy that everyone around me was singing and swaying about, too. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one. We weren’t exactly packed in like sardines, but we certainly got closer as the night wore on.

As the stage darkened after APTIUT, I saw Peter stayed put with the bass – huh? What’s this about? I knew another switch up was in the cards. The swirly, ethereal sounds started and then the throbbing bass – USELESS!!! Ultra is getting the LOVE tonight! I totally started laughing and looking around thunderstruck! I hope you check out some of the videos online of this track… Lordy, Dave’s booty shimmy!

What came next? Oh, yes yes – In Your Room. I love the tour video for IYR - that sexy choreography gets me every time. I might have blushed a bit, to be honest. I’m sure I watched the video each night, but for this concert, I willed myself to watch the band. It makes me happy to see them still have the fire for this song.

Now, World In My Eyes is one of my all-time favorites. I probably listen at least once a day, to be honest. Sexy, sweet, and full of promises make this a top track on my playlist. Being so close and singing my favorite song TO the boys was a blast. The light show mesmerized and it just made me smile from ear to ear. Plus, watching Dave seduce that mic stand is always a joy! Dave hasn’t lost a step… believe me!

I also liked the quick segue into Cover Me, which is beautiful live. I’m an MLG gal all the way, but it makes me happy that Christian and Pete got some album credit for this one (as well as with the Poison Heart.) Its spacey synth outro was amazing on this balmy night.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

As Dave and the band exited the stage, I was feeling giddy awaiting Mart’s solo… He had done so many great, meaningful songs over the course of the Bowl run… I swooned when he started to sing Sister Of Night. At the end of the song, the always polite, but never loquacious MLG actually said, “Thank you… (pause) So sad.” I did a double take on that one!

The full band version of Home has been fab the entire tour and night four at the Bowl did not disappoint. LA did its best Euro impression by trying to sing the “Whoa ooh oh ohoho’s,” too. Martin did a great job conducting us and he was pretty animated waving his arms around and such. Pool D did not let the side down and we kept it going. When Dave came back out he exclaimed, “We’ve got some singers, tonight!” The rest of the HB folks started up, too and we continued the “Ooohhing” for a while. Dave was smiling as he told us, “You really were the best!” Pshaw, I bet you say that to all the audiences ;-)

As a side note – the band have been very loose and carefree the entire Hollywood Bowl run. Lots of smiles and giggles, even! More on that later!

Usually, Poison Heart follows Home but… the band paused for a sec… then the heartfelt guitar strings of Precious started to twang! At this point, I totally lost it and started to cry. Precious is such a lovely, sad song and its message is so universal. I’m getting a bit weepy even now as I write. But there were some joyous moments in this version, too. Dave and Martin did a lil back-to-back action (right in front of Pool D!) which helped me dry those pesky tears.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

The concert started to rev back up again with Where’s The Revolution (love the fists n flag video) and Wrong. The intensity of Wrong and Martin’s “too longs” went straight through me.

I knew what was coming up next – and so did everyone else! When the “Dink dink dink” started, we began to jump around, looking at each other with knowing smiles. I think most folks agree that the new arrangement is fantastic and the sing-along is over the top. My Pool D Depeche Pals made it extra special singing Everything Counts 101-style. Who can forget “the graph" and "the handshake?” We did our best to belt it out and our rendition just added to the magic of the evening.

As you know, the end of the set comes fast and furious with Stripped, Enjoy the Silence, and Never Let Me Down Again. 

Stripped sounded great, as it has all tour and ETS is just too iconic. I know some folks have not quite enjoyed the psychedelic animals video, but I love ‘em; they tickle my funny bone. I felt quite chuffed to see Martin do his solo just a few feet away from me, too. I tried not to take too many pictures during this concert, but I had to get a video of him plucking away! For all the years of seeing it on video… nothing compares to seeing it live.

Even though it signals the end of the show before the encore, I think everyone looks forward to Never Let Me Down Again. Not only for the workout but for the opportunity to enjoy the band jamming and playing around. I also love hearing Martin’s “see the stars” … and it seemed so perfect in the open-air Hollywood Bowl. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Whew! It was then time to rest up for a few seconds to prepare for the rousing encore! Ok, Martin – what golden nugget would we hear for this solo? It didn’t take too long for Mart and Pete to take their places… Oh, it’s But Not Tonight!! Now this song is not normally one of my faves, but the live version just blows me away. The waterworks started up again, but I didn’t care – I was just enjoying my ultimate Depeche concert. Again, LA LA land did its best to sing the “oh oh, oh oh’s” and we eked out a few before Dave thanked us. Night four was definitely the most vocal audience, hands down.

I really appreciate the Walking In My Shoes tour video and the band rocked the song out of the park. Dave did a few mike twirls as Christian banged out the last beats, too. I do not know where he gets the energy? Has anyone calculated how many miles he puts in each night?

Song three of the encore has usually been "Heroes", but I figured they’d change this one up (just like they did on the previous night with Black Celebration.) Yay - Policy of Truth (another one of my near daily tracks!) Dave came over to Pool D and did a patented hip shake to get the ball rolling… We sang every word… and Whoo Hoo is all I have to say about it!

The lights dimmed, Martin grabbed his guitar and moved downstage. He planted himself and the Green Knight and began strumming as Dave circled the stage getting ready to wail…. I Feel You! Oh yes - this is definitely the dawning of our love! Wow - I love the way both Dave and Martin just let this song storm out of them. It was also fun watching them roam over to Christian and do their jump/shake/bendy head banging thing! As the lights flickered and flared with the final bump, we all shouted and stomped, too!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
The frenzy that led into the next song was euphoric and the Bowl was a rockin’! Personal Jesus! Even though I knew the end was nigh, I just didn’t care as Dave did the chicken dance around the stage and Mart shred that guitar. Pool D continued to sing and dance about through the synthy solos and last few “reach out and touch faith’s.” When Martin crooned at the end of the song… we were spent! WOW!

Amazing, unforgettable, and historic!! Depeche Mode was beyond awesome! Pool D pals were the best! More shout outs to Chris, Vicky, Keith, Jennifer, Rosa, Deeann, Noemi, Carolyn, Liz, and Bratmix (thank you again for the Violator pin!) DMM and my best friend, Tania (with whom I always take a ride) were there in spirit! Insert your own adjectives about Depeche mode here!

Thank you, David, for a chance to share it all! Whoo Hoo!


And thank you Karen!


Night 2 of the Depeche Mode Hollywood Bowl takeover was eagerly anticipated as it was the second night meaning that there surely had to be setlist changes. What would they be? Would they antagonise most of the Depeche internet world? Inevitably yes but changes there were and June Tan was there to report for the blog. June's epic tale of her trip from Singapore to L.A. is a frantic, passionate account of her night at the Bowl and it's a great read. Thanks for this June and for the pictures too which none of you should steal without asking nicely first.

“Oct 14, 2017. The day where Depeche Mode made the Hollywood bowl it’s personal *****.”

Yea that’s the first thing I’ve tweeted + Instagram story-ed once I’ve collected my thoughts after attending the second show of the Depeche Mode Hollywood Bowl Marathon. How did that come about? Yea let’s rejog back a little shall we…

The very first time I saw DM was at August 17, 2009 at the Hollywood Bowl. And you never forget the first time you saw DM. So, imagine the surprise when the US tour dates were announced, and the boys are going to play at the bowl again! The pre-sale experience was an absolute disaster (even more so for me because of the 15-hour time difference) but I was quite satisfied with my seating arrangement which was smack right in the centre right in the middle of the bowl.


I’ve attended LA1 and really liked the song arrangement + pacing and was looking forward to seeing how things are going to be switched up. Will they play Strangelove? Will the setlist be the same as NY - MSG2? What happens if Martin sings Blue Dress/One Caress? Will I lose my head completely ala Blasphemous Girl from 101? Has anyone been kicked out of the bowl for screaming too much? What if the setlist is the same as LA1 because the boys hardly switched up their setlist this tour? 

Yea those are just a fragment of what’s in my mind when I was travelling to the bowl. I think way too much!

Warpaint came on stage about 20mins after I’ve took my seat. I have to say that they are my favourite band opener for DM since I saw them in TOTU. The thing I’ve noticed about the LA DM crowd is that most of the time they do not give a hoot for the opening band. AT ALL. 

When Peter Bjorn & John was opening in 2009 people just DID NOT CARE like, going for a beer run or looking at their phones or eating is more important than watching a band perform on stage. When Crystal Castles opened in 2013 people just went for toilet breaks (overhead someone asking about the band) when then front lady Alice Glass was strangling herself on stage with the microphone cable and jumping around on stage. Totally surreal and weird.

But Warpaint is different. People were clicking with the music. Might be because of their dark, moody sound or that they were an LA band after all, but there was a lot of cheering and clapping for them in between tracks. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their set, which just got me even more excited for DM.

So, when the lights went out and the Revolution and Cover Me outro started playing you know that it’s time. No more press or reporters in the audience who have no clue about the band, no more people taking selfies and invading other people’s personal space, just people who understand and love DM and up for a sonic roller coaster ride!

Going Backwards: One of my favourite track from Spirit. The splatter of colours reminds me a lot of Jackson Pollock gone Technicolor. The song subject was dark (even more when juxtaposed against the backdrop of what’s happening in America) but there was nothing but JOY in the audience. Even though we were all singing about watching men die in real time. When the song ended I’ve braced for the first song change only to realise that it was…

So Much Love: So Much Love? No change from LA1! What’s going on? Am I anticipating way too much in this show again? SML was a track that I did not really care for in the album. Was surprised to see how well it works live. There’s something punky about the track that really gets people going. Hilarious video from Anton too!

Barrel Of A Gun: Track was one of my favourites at the Delta Machine tour. To see it coming back it always a plus. Dave seemed to have adopted a persona on this track that got a lot of laughs from the audience. 

A Pain That I'm Used To: This is the track that separates the casual fan from the Devotee. The casual fans would be thrown off by the remix and start wondering where is this track from. I could see why DM brought back this arrangement this tour because it was such a riot to hear live during the Delta Machine Tour. But on the Global Spirit Tour it kind of falls flat a little.

Corrupt: One of my favourite tracks from SOTU. To hear it performed live at the Bowl exactly 8 years after I saw DM performed at the bowl promoting SOTU is like a homecoming of sorts for me. Another track that kind of separates the casual fan from the devotee. Some people in my section are starting to sit down at this point. Doesn’t matter. More space for me!

In Your Room: It’s nice to hear the pitch-black atmosphere found in the album being performed in full this time. Beautiful performance in the accompanied short film too.

World In My Eyes: Crowd seemed to come back to life after hearing the opening notes. Dave is back to his crotch grabbing self and the girls go nuuuutttssss again. How is this guy 55 years old really? He has more energy than I do! And he’s beaten cancer, went through a rough patch in the 90s and could still perform like an 18-year-old? Damn!

Cover Me: My favourite track from Spirit and it was everything that I’ve hoped for in a live DM performance. Dark, vulnerable, sweeping, cinematic. The background visuals worked too. When Dave started walking into the pool section everyone just gasped and whipped out their smartphones. Is he the first person to walk into that section? Probably not. But did Dave have the audience at the palm of his hand? Absolutely. 

Once Dave was done with his out of this world performance it’s time for Martin to do his magic! While Dave commands you to look at him while he struts, spins and grabs his crotch (not in order), Martin pulls you in with his vocal performance and quirky song choices. I was ready to hear what he had to perform. So, when Peter started playing the first notes of Strangelove, I.LOST.MY.SHIT.

Strangelove: Once again, a homecoming moment for me over here. I’ve missed out on catching DM performing at the bowl for the very first time in 2009 where they’ve played Strangelove. To have it ticked off the bucket list of DM songs to hear live is a relief. It may not be the full arrangement, but I will take it!

Home: Song never gets old. There were a few Devotees right behind me who were insistent on starting the singalong. If it wasn’t for them the singalong might not happen! Was so relieved to hear it happen (the singalong for LA1 was kind of shaky that Dave got sassy about it!) So, when the singalong ended I was bracing myself for Poison Heart only to realise that the stage has turned blue. OMG is that a new track? Only to realize that it’s…

Policy Of Truth: Urgh. Never understood the appeal of this track. It just…plods along. Time to take a short breather and sit down for a bit!

Where’s the Revolution: The flags and boots are back! Quite sure that the lyrics struck a chord with the audience because people were just chanting ‘Where’s the Revolution’ well after the song ended.

Wrong: Just two words to describe this performance: Gleefully Sinister. Absolutely love the dark humour that was amped up 100x in comparison to TOTU. Also noticed that the lights seemed to form a cross during the performance which makes the song all the more funny to me personally. Would love to see this track performance again in the future tours!

Everything Counts: BEST INTRO EVER. The crowd reaction when they realized that it is EC is priceless. After all, singing about corporate greed and corruption is the new black in 2017. I’ve chanted parts of ‘the graph..the graph…’ from 101 only to realise that the crowd around me did not follow. Oops!

Would have been nice to bring back People are People but that would be a stretch really. 

Stripped: Pure masterpiece of a track. 

Enjoy the Silence: This time the crowd is back up and standing after the string of hits. When the first notes of ETS started playing people were basically having a party now. Singing, dancing together with the band and Anton’s idea of putting animals on stage with DM (Maybe Anton’s idea of humour is to put animals that can’t talk right next to DM and then proclaim ‘AHA! There’s a chicken/horse/pig on stage with DM! Enjoy the Silence!’) 

We’ll never know.

Never Let Me Down Again: It has become a tradition for me to scream my head off when NLMDA begins. Not only because it’s one of my favourite tracks from MFTM, it means that my time with DM is coming to an end soon, AND I AM NOT HERE FOR THAT! Hand waving is an absolute must, and I’ve made sure that I did my part even if it means that I can’t snap any photos. This hand waving tradition has been immortalized in 101 shot in California itself, I sure as hell am going to wave my arms off! 

So, when the show ended I was pretty spent, so when the flag showed up I knew that another setlist change from Mart is expected. Would that be Blue Dress finally? 

But oh, ho no, it was the Blue Dress of SOFAD, Judas! 

Judas: One of my favourite tracks from SOFAD (alongside with WIMS, OC, MIY, HL, MJ). To hear it live again gave me the warm fuzzy feelings. I hope that Martin performs this track with the full arrangement because that would be quite a spiritual experience though! 

Walking IN My Shoes: My #1 DM song of all time. No contest. It’s always an emotional roller coaster to hear this track performed live. The short film going along with the track this time gave me nothing but despair, because I could not walk in the performer’s shoes at all. Physically and literally. Such a powerful song and message.

"Heroes": Not gonna lie, the first people I thought of when news of Bowie’s passing broke was Dave and Mart. Without Bowie, there would be no DM. To hear Dave covering Bowie got me a little teary at this point because I wished that it had been under happier circumstances. When Dave finished singing the song and blew a kiss to the sky, and I’ve followed suit. 

I Feel YOu: Nope. Nope. Nope. Was not ready for this track after the emotional roller coaster ride of WIMS and Heroes. Johnny Marr/Placebo did a pretty good of cover IFY and I am good with those for the rest of my life. It’s time for DM to retire this track. It’s clunky, tired and does not fit with the setlist. NOOPPPPEEEE. NEXT.

Personal Jesus No more starting slow this time! By now the everyone is now standing up and screaming up their heads off again. DM had the bowl at the palm of their hand with the beautiful guitar work from Mart and Dave’s flawless moves. Can’t go wrong with this track to finish off the show really!

Posted that on my Instagram story the first thing when the show ended. Would I be back to see Depeche Mode in 2021? YES AND YES.


Thanks June!

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Because it's my blog and I can do what I want (and because I'm keen to get the LA reviews out to you lovely people), Kristin's Night 1 reviewed is follwed here by Lluvia Arras' review of Night 3 at the Bowl on 16th October. This wonderful review is full of the things I wanted to try and get across in this project - basically, it sums up the sheer joy of seeing Depeche Mode. Thanks so much to Lluvia for this and for the videos and photographs that accompany it. It's a marvellous read and I know you'll all love it.

The Lowest Lows, The Highest Highs: a Depeche Mode Story

I can’t start this review of the Hollywood Bowl night #3 show without first detailing the rollercoaster of events that occurred on this day. At 4AM, I was abruptly awoken by my husband, Alex, the panic in his voice causing me to shoot out of bed like a lightning bolt. “Love, someone stole my work van!” My husband works in commercial plumbing, which means his company vehicle contains expensive equipment, tools of his trade, many of which are from his personal collection — expensive stuff. After settling my shaking hands, I asked a stream of questions and attempted to calm him down, before breaking into tears myself at the terrible feeling of being violated and then having him calm me down. When finally the police report was completed and we had our coffee in hand, I had one more thought: Depeche Mode. 

I could see the anger and disappointment in my husband’s eyes, so I felt selfish asking him but I had to. “Love, are you still okay to go to the Depeche Mode concert with me tonight?” After all of his heartache, I was still concerned about a concert. What a jerk! But, DM fans reading this, I know you understand. 

I had recently read Linda Dorland’s review of the Nashville Depeche Mode show and was both floored and inspired. Although I’d agreed to do this review months ago, I felt terribly nervous and unworthy. Her review was so genuine, so real. Minutes after reading her piece, I decided to give in and upgrade our seats for floor seats, because how could I possibly do a review from nosebleeds after reading such a badass review?

Alex replied slowly. “I can’t. I’ll ruin the show for you. I won’t have fun. I’ll be a wet mop. Just go without me. I feel like shit.” 

I felt my world shatter. He’s my partner, my soul, my everything. But how could I blame him? His very livelihood had just been stolen from him, from our very front yard! Yes, everything is insured and will be recuperated, but the feeling of someone stealing from your home is sickening. I was so angry at the scumbags who did this and hurt that Alex didn’t feel up to it, but I understood. 

My best friend and Depeche Mode partner in crime, Kristina, had just given birth to twin boys a few days prior. My DM sister and #1 DM Takeoveree Jenna was on the East Coast. There was only one other person I could think of — Tanya, another Depeche sister, we’ve seen DM together since the Exciter tour — but she has a 7-month-old daughter and her husband had just broken his arm a week prior, so she has her hands full. A storm of self-doubt engulfed me. How selfish was I to be asking a new mom to join me to a concert on a Monday night? I’m a mother myself, and my boys have sports practices and tutoring on Mondays, which we’d cancelled in preparation for the show. I began to wonder if my Depeche Mode obsession had gone too far and considered selling these once-in-a-lifetime tickets.

As all of these thoughts started drowning me and weighing me down, I was listening to a Depeche Mode Spirit Tour setlist on Spotify. When the playlist had ended, The Sun & The Rainfall — my favorite DM song of all time — came on. I felt a sense of calm, a sense of purpose. In a flurry of texts, I told Tanya the whole story and asked if she’d be my date. I could see the three dots bubbling as she was typing, then finally her reply came: “I’d be honored, Lluvia! OMG! Of course! We’ll find a sitter. Thank you for thinking of me!” I haven’t cried happy tears like that in quite some time. My 4-year-old son asked, “Mommy, why are you laughing and crying hard?” “I’m happy, is all,” I told him, through snorts and snot. I sent Tanya a teary video, thanking her and got ready for work (dressed in black, of course).

I still felt heartache for my husband, but I also felt happiness to have such loving friends. I felt love for my Depeche Mode family and a mad rush of excitement and anticipation to see our boys on stage. So, my review begins…

Depeche Mode, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, Night 3, October 16, 2017

Sometimes the stars and planets align to make things just right. Tanya and I parked easily at the Hollywood Bowl lot. No hassle, no fuss — a feat in itself. The crowd on this gorgeous Los Angeles Monday night consisted of teenagers to 60-somethings and every age in between. But what they all had in common — beside being dressed in the requisite black — was they were all excited to be there. 

I couldn’t quite remember exactly how close my upgraded seats would be, or if there was a pit in front of our seats. I’d had nosebleed seats for the previous Saturday Hollywood Bowl show and couldn’t quite see the front area set-up, so you can imagine our disbelief when we were escorted to the very middle of stage 7th row — no pit of people standing in front of us, just a mere six rows. We caught the tail end of Warpaint’s set, hearing “New Song” and “Disco//very,” and my hands were shaking at the fact that in just a few minutes we were going to see Depeche Fucking Mode so close up! I asked Tanya to pinch me. 

As a Los Angeles native, I’ve been to the Hollywood Bowl many times for other shows. The iconic shell-shaped stage has been the backdrop of some of my favorite artists but never for Depeche Mode, my favorite band of all time. As we waited for DM to come on stage, I tried taking video of the stage, but we were too close for the whole view to fit on the screen. I felt my heart beat faster, my hands were shaking and we took a picture of our exclusive stamped hands as proof that we were this close! As soon as the Beatles’ Revolution blared on the speakers, we were on our feet screaming, whistling, and clapping, arms outstretched – a rally call for our boys to hurry, to bless us with their presence.

The whole concert was epic, but I want to focus on the moments that really stood out to me. First, It’s No Good. I wasn’t expecting them to play it, and it’s one of the songs on my “if Depeche Mode plays this song I’ll die right there” list. As fellow Takeoveree June Tan put it when she posted the video of this song: “The moment 17,000-ish people (me included) collectively lost their minds.” I started recording the song but had to stop to savor the moment, scream my head off, and sing every lyric — because I’m that fan. 

Dave Gahan’s confident strut and his outstretched arms as he began belting out our sweet It’s No Good was divine. I was laughing-smiling-dancing-singing-almost-crying — all in a moment. Tanya and I sung to each other and to Dave and to the fans around us. It was beautiful. I captured snippets of it on my phone, but missing a single moment was too much to bare.

Lluvia gets photographic

There was a point between songs when Dave stopped for a moment and said, “Los Angeles, you are the best.” The roar of my fellow Angelenos could be felt under our feet. It was as if we were hearing what every child wants to hear a parent say: “You’re my favorite.” I don’t know if he says that to every city (I didn’t hear him say it at the Vegas or Berlin shows earlier this year), but it felt genuine and I felt a rush of emotion. My lips swelled and my chest hurt, then as I looked to the upper left side of the stage, my eyes welled with tears as I spotted the U.S. and California flags. Our country and the world have been through so much this past year… 

My first DM show this tour was the June 22 show at the Berlin Olympic Stadium and, I’ll admit, I didn’t yet know all the words to the songs on the Spirit album. But on this Los Angeles night almost four months later, the songs were a part of me. Cover Me is etched in my soul as my favorite song on the album. I’d like to bow down to the brilliant Anton Corbijn for always delivering with his stunning art direction on videos, logos, graphics, stage design, photography and pretty much everything visual. During the projection for Cover Me, a spacesuited Dave looked so beautiful and sad that all I wanted to do was hold him. (Then again, when do I not want to hold him?) The combination of the visual and audio experience of Cover Me enveloped me in so much love for Dave, Martin, Andy, Peter, Christian, that starman David Bowie, and for my husband, as Dave sang:

Way up here with the Northern lights
Beyond you and me
I dreamt of us in another life
One we've never reached

You know we're sinking
We could fade away
I'm not going down
Not today”

I sent a mental thought to Alex: This song reminds me of us and all we’ve been through in 14 years together.

When he and I had seen Depeche perform in Las Vegas on September 30th, we’d held hands so tight during the whole song. We had stayed at the Mandalay Bay and left just a few hours before the horrific shooting there. The day after that horrific event, this song lingered in my mind, taking on new meaning. We’ve got so much to do here still, I thought. We’ve got too much to live for. 

As if that hurricane of emotion weren’t enough, the instrumental during this song is when Dave came out into the crowd on a long concrete wall. Just a few feet behind us, he stopped and proceeded to sway so lovingly. Our jaws dropped. As I tried to keep from fainting, I managed to capture this moment on video. It felt so close, so far, so everything. Even after Dave had passed through the crowd, his presence lingered. I’m happy I caught the fans behind us and their look of amazement. “No way! Dude! That was incredible! He was right here!” The joy in all of our hearts was palpable. It was pure elation.

And then the concert segued into an unexpected performance by Martin: an acoustic of Insight with Peter Gordeno on piano and backup vocals. It still gives me goosebumps when I watch the performance on my phone, which I captured for your viewing pleasure. The lyrics to this song in themselves are enough to make you break down, but to see and experience Martin perform it live filled my heart to near bursting. When Martin lingered on “You’ve gotta give love, you’ve gotta give love, you’ve gotta give love…” I felt his message. In this world, in the state our world is in, what greater thing is there than to GIVE LOVE? Martin and Peter sang this part of the chorus with such loving force and intensity, coaxing us to be better, to love hard, to be love. (The performance was so good, there’s even a video trending of Ricky Martin in full rapture singing this part of the song, loud and clear! 

What amazes me about Depeche Mode is their longevity, their relevance, their guts. What grit it must take to keep doing this. We take so much, we demand so much of them. But they keep delivering every single time. I believe their concerts are like a drug. Devotees know what I mean when I describe it this way. After the show, my head was reeling with the adrenaline and the rush of it all. The day after, I awoke to a text from Tanya: “I’m still in the clouds.” Sure, our boys are just humans, like you and I. But what is it that keeps them going? Is it us? Our love? Our need for them to deliver? 

They know we’ll always be here. Always.

Some quick observations:

Wrong: Dave’s skipping, crawling and spider-like moves are the right amount of theater and drama for a night like this.

Everything Counts: the crowd vibe was electric.

Stripped: the intro that kills every time. EVERY time.

Never Let Me Down Again: HANDS! Need I say more?

Shake the Disease was another of Martin’s beautiful surprises for us that evening. My videos are patchy, I wasn’t sure if I should record it or just let it envelop me. My best friend & soul sister, Kristina, she couldn’t be here, it’s my first tour ever seeing them without her. Shake the Disease is her favorite song, it’s THE song, she wanted to hear live. I thought of her and held her and her newborn baby twins in my soul that evening, just wishing she could be there to witness this moment. There were moments during the song where I wanted to close my eyes and sing along, but I dared not miss a second.

Walking in My Shoes: my favorite video graphics

Replacing the David Bowie “Heroes” cover with Black Celebration was a pleasant change, particularly since this was my fourth time seeing them this tour. (No offense to my beloved Bowie.) Side note: I’d given my original tickets to a devotee, Abraham, whose “if they play this song I’ll die right there song” was “Black Celebration. It’s as if they played it just for him.

I Feel You: The intensity of the drums on the setlist’s most hard-rocking song was so intense that Christian Eigner’s drumming had us feeling our hearts beating out of our bodies. I was transformed to the first time I really listened to the drumwork of John Bonham of Led Zeppelin as a teenager on my Walkman. The drums, the drums, the drums on Immigrant Song made my heart beat so fast, just as it did at the Bowl. At one point, Tanya placed her hand on my chest and I said, “I know, I know, my heart!” she couldn’t hear me, we laughed, we were in a trance.

I’ll end with this: I’m satisfied. I’m placated. I’m in awe. I’m in love. This show was enough to fill me for years. Thank you, Depeche Mode. Thank you, Martin Gore, David Gahan, Andy Fletcher, Peter Gordeno, Christian Eigner. Thank you to my husband for always supporting my DM-related adventures and obsessions. Thank you to dear friend & DM sister Tanya for sharing this special evening with me. I felt like I’d died and gone to Depeche Mode heaven.

Video of DM bowing at the end of the show:

Pic of me and Tanya at the end of the show with Dave still on stage:

Tanya (left) and Lluvia 

Pic of me on Dave’s stage after the show:


Superb! Thanks Lluvia.