Thursday 25 January 2018


When I saw that Michael Rose was going to the Berlin gig on 19 January I had to ask if he'd be up for reviewing it - thankfully he was. As well as having a Depeche Mode collection that inspires pangs of jealousy every time a new picture pops up on Instagram, Michael has also featured on the BBC's The People's History Of Pop showing off his DM room and he's one of the moderators of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group where I occasionally (ahem) take a picture or two from (thanks for the ones below by the way). Oh and he's hosted the Depeche Facebook Takeover this year too. In other words, he's as qualified to write as review as anyone could be and this is a great read. Thanks Michael and thanks for the photos too all of which are Michael's unless otherwise credited. 

I must begin this review by asking you to indulge me in an introduction of sorts.

You see, this gig was going to be a proper ‘bucket list’ event – Depeche Mode live in Berlin.

This was to be my eighth German gig, having seen them in six other German cities across five tours, the first being over 30 years ago, but never Berlin.

I also need to point out that my wife, Caroline, is a fan too, and this month marked our 10th Wedding Anniversary. For the first time, the dates worked out and we could make it to Berlin, a long standing ambition for both of us. The planets were aligning, this was really going to happen, and it was going to be one hell of a trip!

I landed in Berlin with a list of Depeche Mode related locations I wanted to visit while in the city, and on the day of the gig got off to a flying start by visiting the ‘Hand mit Uhr’ sculpture by Joachim Schmettau, as featured in the video for Everything Counts. Berlin had already made me a happy man!

As we arrived at the arena that evening, the normal pre-gig excitement was building, but with the added element of the unknown: a new city and new venue.

On getting to the bar, I was relieved to see that the ‘Global Spirit Tour’ cups were available: I was going to be able to complete my collection of all four designs! (I do realise that the nerd in me is becoming apparent to you now!). I was also lucky enough at this point to meet up for the first time with long time online acquaintance, and friend of the blog, Panos Sialakas, who had travelled all the way from Greece for the event.

We took our seats in plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere before the show started, and it was already clear that this was going to be something special. It felt different, the excitement in the room palpable, it was truly electric, the anticipation immense.

This only intensified when the ‘Charity Water’ film was shown. When the band appeared on the screen, the place erupted as if they’d really taken to the stage! We, plus the other 17,000 or so others in attendance, knew we didn’t have long to wait.

Right on schedule at 20:45 the lights went down, and the whole venue leapt to its feet, making a deafening roar in the process. I remember turning to look at Caroline to confirm this was actually happening, and letting out my excitement as something audible, but not necessarily coherent.

What follows, in terms of set list, you’re of course all well familiar with by now. The first segment of the set goes as expected, although it highlights that no two Depeche Mode gigs are the same, but you know that already, of course! The band seem to be performing with something added, the songs delivered with such power and passion that the audience are feeding off the energy. Or are the band responding to the audience, feeding off us?

Cover Me has become a clear stand out on this tour, many have it said it before me, but there was something deeply emotional about it tonight as it leads us into Martin’s set. I felt genuinely moved, but hey, maybe that was just the beer?

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

This was night two though, so we have the set list changes to surprise us, surely? I know where the changes are likely to be, and even what those changes could possibly be. So, as Martin takes centre stage, we’re waiting for the first note: what’s he going to sing? Tonight, we get Sister of Night as our first change.

Once Dave has finished conducting the audience for the post Home singalong, he tells the Berlin audience “so much better than last night” (meaning Wednesday, of course), “you’ve been practicing”. Is he right? I’m not to know, but the crowd are eating out of Dave’s hand, and they take it regardless.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

In Your Room follows, and with it, goose bumps. This is my wife’s favourite song, and the version on this tour returns it to its former greatness. When Dave hits the ‘your favourite slave’ line, I turn and put my arm around her, giving a knowing squeeze, words unnecessary. At the same time, a woman behind me screams, overwhelmed, emotional. It’s like she’s in on the moment, and you remember you’re sharing this intimacy with thousands who feel the same, a collective worship.

The biggest shock for me follows, unexpectedly, and for the first time, Where’s The Revolution is dropped from the set as a change, and replaced by Policy Of Truth. I saw just one lonely balloon rise from the crowd, in a sad and futile attempt to recreate the former glory of the ‘Tour of the Universe’ performances.

We go with it, but it’s not the set list change I was hoping for!

Everything Counts goes some way in defining what’s different about this crowd and performance tonight, the place descends into absolute delirium as that brilliant new introduction kicks in. They’re loud, they’re lively, they’re united, and I doubt there’s an unmoved soul in the arena. After a lengthy singalong at the song’s end, Dave even comments that we’re still going, and naturally tells us “Berlin, you really are the best!”. For the first time on this tour, I think I believe him!

Stripped is greeted like an old friend when the intro starts, the momentum continuing with a clear fan favourite. As Dave gives it his all during a monumental Enjoy The Silence, we’re counted in with an ‘Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier’, which goes down well with the native speakers, before heading into the dramatic main set finale of Never Let Me Down Again. I naturally take a moment to survey the whole arena of waving arms, and what a beautiful sight it is, as always!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Martin returns with another set list change, treating us to Judas. This is followed by yet another crowd rousing performance of Walking In My Shoes. Then, unexpectedly, the audience continues with a previously unheard singalong of the distinctive intro, with even Peter Gordeno joining in and playing a few notes here and there to accompany the audience. ‘Da, da da, da da. Da, da da, da da’!

The fourth, and final set list change for the fact fans is I Feel You in place of A Question of Time, and I have to admit, another change I wasn’t fond of. But that’s not going to spoil anything tonight, and before you know it, we’re drawing this magnificent concert to a close with Personal Jesus, and we’re reaching out and touching faith for all our worth.

We’re spent and deliriously happy, but our night is not over yet. Earlier on in the day, I found out we were lucky enough to have been put on the guest list for the band’s after show party. So, like salmon swimming upstream against a surge of black, we have to make our way through the exiting crowd, in the opposite direction to the lounge where the after show is to take place.

I know we’re in a privileged position, and I’m content to be here having my post gig drink in quite a unique setting, just enjoying the moment.

Fletch arrives first, followed by Christian, Peter and Jez. I leave them to mingle, not wanting to intrude. Martin then makes an appearance, as does Daniel Miller.

I naturally let them catch up with friends and family, and when the time is right, take the opportunity to say hello to Martin. We manage to spend some time with him, and thank him for a great night. We have a few laughs, and of course make sure he’s aware we’ve travelled from Essex! He’s gracious and friendly, and actually confirms that tonight was much better than Wednesday, and that the crowd were incredible, the best night. The band really do feel the difference, it’s definitely a two way relationship.

L-R Caroline, some bloke, Michael

As the night draws to a close, and we leave the venue, we bump into Daniel and get the chance to say hello to him too. A perfect end to what had already been a pretty spectacular night.

Berlin, you really are the best!

Thanks to David for asking me to do this, I’m happy to be involved in such a great project.


Thanks Michael!


  1. I wonder why Dave never seems to attend these after show parties, he's probably the one the fans most want to meet.

    1. Dave stopped doing this since 1997. Never joined and won't do this. He is out of energy after the gig and has no power. He told this several times during his interviews for concerts videos like Berlin and Barcelona or during press interviews.