Friday, 27 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, HOLLYWOOD BOWL, LOS ANGELES, 14 OCTOBER 2017

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 *****.”twitter.com/junet196

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.






THE SHOW

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.

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Thanks June!

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