For the fourth concert of Depeche Mode's world tour, we welcome back Roger Erickson to reviewing duties. Roger last wrote for the blog on the Global Spirit Tour Project and I'm delighted that he's signed up once again. Here's his great review of the Las Vegas show. All the photos are Roger's so don't steal them, at least not without giving credit.
The anticipation for the Las Vegas show seems to have been well rewarded by the band’s performance at the sold-out T-Mobile Arena show. I noticed something shortly after I arrived at town for the show tonight, everywhere I looked on the strip I saw either billboards for the show or fans wearing Depeche shirts. It was such a wonderful experience to be walking in Vegas and have other fans notice your shirt and greet you like family. But such is the fan base for Depeche Mode, we are like a family, or perhaps a not-so-secret society with one very strict admission rule, a love of Depeche Mode.
Walking into the venue about 30 minutes before Depeche went on stage at 20:45 (08:45pm), the excitement in the air was palpable. I witnessed fans who were encumbered by age and possible medical issues, along side youthful teens bouncing around, eager to see the band that like many of the previous group, provided the soundtrack to their ongoing youth. Fans complimented other fans they just met on their attire or discussed the new album as the stage below was finished being prepped by the crew. Then, the lights went out….
The volume and clarity of the sound system the band was using has to be acknowledged at this point. The sound was so loud, but not in a painful or distorted way. But in a way that harks back to those youthful moments in your room listening to a Depeche album with the speakers turned to levels so loud the most within a short distance of your house could enjoy the tunes as well. The throbbing pulse of the intro music began, and stage lights pumped in sync to the heart like beat of the music. Then the first clip of the percussion for My Cosmos Is Mine began, as crew members whisked the curtains off the giant M in the background off the stage, and the boys took their spots. The lights remain hauntingly dim as Dave began to sing. Dave’s voice maintained a richness and clarity through out the show that was more reminiscent of classic Gahan, reduced were the blues like stylings that he used on more recent tours. The crowd cheered in response to every move, every yell, every change in song at near deafening levels that even overpowered the music at times.
Song after song the Mode gave the best of itself to the fans. Nothing holding back, engaged, lively, and a nearly perfect performance was delivered from the band. I heard it mentioned by many in the crowd that night and since, that there was a finality to the performance. That feeling that there may not be another tour after this, and knowing this, Depeche is putting it all out there as a gift for the fans every night. I have been to many Depeche concerts over my 35 years as a fan, and I have to agree. Whether self-projected or not, there is something of a tender but tangible emotional underpinning to the performance that gives one the feeling of an Irish Wake, a black celebration, to celebrate the band whose music has helped many of us at one point or another, to see the back of another black day, and rejoice in the morning after.
One notable highlight of a show that was almost constantly filled with them, would be Dave noticing a young girl by the name of Addi, on the side of the catwalk, holding a sign announcing it was her 13th birthday and asking Dave to sing to her. Dave saw this following the performance of Waiting For The Night on his way back from the end of catwalk performance. Dave knelt down facing the young girl, read her sign then led the near 20,000 fans in attendance in a rendition of “Happy Birthday”, then giving her one of Martins guitar picks. Such a sweet moment and one that no doubt sets the bar unobtainable high for her for any future gifts for a birthday.
Yet, another highlight was Dave telling all the countless people with their cell phones out to “put down your phones for f***’s sake and enjoy the show”. Seeing the entirety of the T-Mobile arena waving hands in the now iconic Never Let Me Down Again arm wave is a sight I will never forget. Then as the last notes of Personal Jesus ended the fans knew it was time to say good night to our favorite band, with a hope that we will all get a chance to “see you again next time”. Dave, Martin, Peter, and Christian took their bows for a longer time than I have seen in any tour prior. They seemed to be soaking it up more than before, taking stock of the moment they created before them. Dave with a notable emotional response to the crowds outpouring of love and gratitude as the night came to an end. Not all stood for the entire show, not all could stand for the show due to issues, but their exuberance and excitement were no less.
Even leaving the venue there were cheers of gratitude from fans to other fans, hugs, group pictures outside the venue, friends both new and old made. That’s what makes a Depeche Mode concert for fans like a religious pilgrimage, you come when you need something to lift you in your daily life, and leave feeling rewarded not only by the band and their music, but by the loving culture that exists in the fanbase for each other. So perhaps this is the last tour for the band, perhaps this will be the last album, but this night we were there to enjoy the moment, those concerns, and hypotheticals are for another time, but not tonight.
Thank you Roger
What a heartfelt review. Thank you.❤️ReplyDelete
Lovely review 💀❤️ReplyDelete