Sunday, 29 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, AUSTIN 360 AMPHITHEATRE, AUSTIN 20 SEPTEMBER 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.



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Thanks Amanda.

3 comments:

  1. why would DM's security prevent the venue security from stopping people gathering in the aisles? they block the view of those in the seats and shouldnt be there.

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  2. It was the last song, and the people gathering in the aisle were people from the second and third rows. Security was very strict for the entire show until that point.

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  3. What was wrong with the Nashville crowd? I was there, it was wonderful

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