Friday, 27 October 2017

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, HOLLYWOOD BOWL, LOS ANGELES 18 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!

3 comments:

  1. Great review, and glad to hear from another Depeche Mode prior virgin. Linda Dorland, Nashville

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review. What a wonderful end to their four days in LA. Glad you were able to hit all four. Rm. 4.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah Karen! It truly was an amazing night! So happy I was part of the Pool D experience with you. DM forever!
    -Natalie, Los Angeles

    ReplyDelete