Monday 27 November 2017


For the second time on the tour, Depeche Mode returned to Antwerp's Sportpaleis for another sold out gig. The band must love the place. Jean-Francois Cimino from Frameries a.k.a Belek for those of you on the Home forum was there last night and he's send this cracking review of what turned out to be yet another top form performance from the seemingly ageless band. I have no idea how they do it. Thanks very much for this Jean-Francois and thanks to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group for putting up with yet more brazen thievery on my part.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

(I was) Wrong

When you are a hardcore Depeche Mode fan, you know how hard it is to avoid setlist spoilers on the Internet. You will always find someone around you posting a picture of a setlist sheet or writing a comment on one song or another. Going to multiple shows might also spoil the experience as we all know how adventurous the Boys are…

Since a few good songs were dropped ("Heroes", Wrong, Halo after only one performance) and one of my least favourites was in (Precious), I wasn’t as happy as usual to go to the Antwerp gig. Same songs all over again compared to previous tours, nothing to really get excited about, really. That being said, a few of my favourite songs were still making the setlist so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. To keep myself busy, I was the realtime setlist sender on the Home message board.

It was cold around the Sportpaleis, cold and rainy. A few beers helped the warming before the opening of the doors.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Before the show, we were given some flags and instructions on when to use them. This action was nice and reminded me a lot of the action in May on Dave’s birthday. (APA: see Linda Meijer's review of that show here)

The venue was surprisingly well packed during the opening act Re-Tros. The sound was terrible but the audience was into it and seemed to enjoy the 30 minutes set and so did I.

Around 20.40, the lights went off for the second time in the night, that was early but who needs to wait 20 minutes more when everything is ready and people excited?

The atmosphere during the Going Backwards was a bit weird to be honest. I was sitting at the back and people around me were sitting still, but they were noisy. After a few seconds, We all knew Dave was in top form and the performance he was about to deliver would be an excellent one.

It’s No Good was a blast and got everyone into it. People around me remained sitting though. Only a few people in front of me had stood up and started to dance.

As asked, you could see flags waving all over the place after It’s No Good. Don’t know if the band were expecting this but they took a while before starting Barrel Of A Gun, staring at the audience. Nice moments.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Barrel Of A Gun was excellent to my ears. An almost perfect rendition compared to the other gigs I attended this tour (1st leg) and other tours (Delta Machine and Singles Tours).

A Pain That I'm Used To gave a good vibe, you can see the band really enjoys playing it and people in the audience were into it as well. Dave even went on the catwalk at the beginning of the song. Really nice.

Useless was fan-tas-tic! The reworked version with the bassline intro (Peter did it perfectly!!!) gave me goosebumps. The screen projections were great as well, perfect combination if you ask me. First highlight of the night. 

Precious. Aaaah Precious! I never liked that song but last night, I thought it sounded great and really enjoyed it. A good surprise to me. The other good surprise was the absence of projections. I didn’t need the dogs again. :)

To me, World In My Eyes is one of the best DM songs ever made. I was pleased to see they didn’t drop it. The not-so new intro is still great and Dave’s vocals on it were on par with WVT. The audience response was great as well.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
This was my third concert of the current tour (after Antwerp and Lille in May) and as planned in my book, Cover Me was another highlight. Dave beautifully sang the song (no more « RrrrI’ve felt better… ») and did the entertainment win the catwalk during the second part of the song. The audience was getting better and better.

Martin’s spot is the place were changes are expected to happen. I was pleased to hear another Ultra song, Insight. The vocal harmonies with Martin and Peter on that one were simply beautiful and well balanced. I hope I’ll get to hear it again on the next gig I’ll attend. Home was as great as usual. You can’t be disappointed with Home and the singalong right after was great as well, Dave encouraging people to sing more and more. Nothing unplanned of course, we all know that, but it was nice to hear live.

In Your Room was already amazing during the first leg but placed here, after Martin’s spot was an excellent choice. Also, I think the version was slightly reworked as I could hear the extra loop after "...cause flames to arise." Don’t know if I’m right but it sounded so perfect yesterday. Good job guys!

The flags were back for Where's The Revolution. A much more interesting rendition than during the first leg. I can’t exactly say what changes were made but it sounded particularly good in Antwerp. Flags waving and audience chanting was another highlight!

With the first notes of Everything Counts, people around me finally stop up to sing and dance. The crowd was on fire and the singalong was great as well. The atmosphere would never go down again until the end of the show. Everything Counts is, to me, one of the best DM songs and this reworked version is my favorite one of all I’ve heard. We got  "Antwerp you really are the best..." from Dave… I assume he says that all the time, doesn’t he?

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
The sound was a bit louder after Martin’s tracks. Maybe that was the reason people woke up, who knows. Stripped sounded fantastic and during the final duo Enjoy The Silence and Never Let me Down Again, the audience went crazy. People were dancing and singing throughout the songs. The last flag waving was planned during NLMDA and guess what? It was outstanding! ETS and NLMDA are definitely crowd pleasers, even if I would go for shorter versions, DM can’t stop playing them, never!

Encore was shorter than on the first leg but was enjoyable though. Strangelove was short but nice. Martin told the audience after the first chorus: "You can singalong if you want ... He seemed to enjoy performing it and to be honest, it sounded way better than the previous renditions I heard. Not a question of audio quality but the performance itself was better. Well done Mart and Peter.

Another song that I really love from Depeche Mode is Walking In My Shoes. Personally, I love the video projection for that one. It gives another meaning to the song and despite its brightness, it tells a not-so happy story. I was shocked to see some people around me didn’t know the song. I was there with a bunch of friends and one of them told me he never heard it before…

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Then came the best version of A Question Of Time I’ve ever heard. Really. I was pleased to hear Martin had stopped playing the little gimmick with his guitar which used to make the song sound flat. Sticking to the rhythmic part with his guitar was the best ting to do, letting the gimmick to the synths only. I was only disappointed that Dave didn’t sing that much and the audience seemed to have forgotten a little bit about the lyrics.

The final song was a punchy Personal Jesus that left everyone happy as you could see on people’s faces. 

So overall, I must admit I was wrong. This is the best DM gig I’ve attended this tour and I’m already looking forward to seeing the next one in January. I’ll go to festivals this summer as well. Congrats boys, you did a fantastic job in Antwerp.


Thanks Jean-Francois!

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