Tuesday 6 February 2024



When I was at the Twickenham show last Summer, I was struck by how much of a celebration it was; the whole crowd was enjoying itself and within that crowd, me and my 6 friends were having a great time too. The gig experience was enhanced because of that. After all, sharing good times with your friends and a band you all love, one that you have all loved for more decades than you might care to admit, is a wonderful thing. Ahead of the two gigs last week in Glasgow and Dublin, I wanted to aim for the same experience and hopefully enjoy myself just as much. As it turned out, I had a better time than ever and enjoyed two of the best Depeche gigs I've seen.

Wednesday 31 January - Ovo Hydro, Glasgow

I live in Glasgow, so any Depeche Mode gig that doesn't involve trains or planes is no bad thing. I went to the concert as part of a gang of ten, two of whom (hello Heidi and Carolyn) were seeing Depeche Mode for the first time. As you might imagine, I'd sent them a Spotify playlist with explanatory notes just to make sure they knew what was in-store. It's one of the "perks" of knowing me.

Another perk is that you get a free t-shirt. I realise this increasingly sounds like I have to bribe people to be my friend, so let's move on.

Thanks to a ticket buying cock-up on my part, my wife and I ended up with VIP tickets. Basically, that means that we paid twice the price out friends did and ended up standing with them anyway albeit we at least had something they didn't - a Depeche Mode toilet bag featuring a candle (above) and an eye mask (that and toilet bag below). It also has a lanyard in it too with text on the back making it abundantly clear that wearing it entitles you to no perks at all. 

Believe it or not, it's not the only Depeche Mode candle that I own. I think the one below might be a bit more in demand however.

Anyway, to the concert itself. Nadine Shah was superb. I must admit that I'd not heard much of her work before but I was converted immediately. She was a great fit as a support act and if you get the chance to see her on her remaining support slots on this tour, make sure you do.

The Hydro in Glasgow can sometimes sound a but crap but there we're no issues at all last Wednesday. Depeche sounded superb. It was great to see the lights and backdrops for the first few songs indoors too as, until last week, I'd only seen stadium gigs on the tour. The lighting for the opening two tracks My Cosmos Is Mine and Wagging Tongue works brilliantly with those songs.  The first half of the set featured a couple of newish changes. It may be maligned by many people, but Policy Of Truth is a bloody marvellous song and it sounded huge in the Hydro. Before We Drown has rightly gone down well since its introduction to the set in London and it sounds fantastic live. It's great to see the band adding in a brand new track late in the tour. 

Martin's two songs, Strangelove and Somebody, were wonderful but then I always love Martin's mini set. I also love the version of I Feel You they play on this tour. It's shorter than previous versions and that really helps the song retain its punch. 

Behind The Wheel is a welcome addition to the setlist and it's great to see it played with the video on the screens however, I do find its addition at the expense of World In My Eyes a slightly odd one. At last summer's shows, and indeed every show until Behind The Wheel joined the set, World In My Eyes featured a special film that exclusively featured Fletch. It was his favourite song and it gave everyone the chance to pay tribute to him. Personally, I found it very moving each time I saw it and I don't know of any Depeche fans who didn't feel the same. Losing that from the Memento Mori setlist does take something away and that's a shame. Ultimately, the band have paid beautiful tribute to Andy since the album was announced and they may well feel they don't need to keep doing that which is of course entirely their right. Andy's loss was so vast however that it seems a pity that we no longer see that film. While he does of course feature in the Behind The Wheel video, everyone else does too. I don't know, it might be the emotion of both gigs still catching up with me and perhaps this is all just the ramblings of a man who spends too much time thinking about these things. We all still miss you a lot Fletch.

There was one more track I hadn't heard on this tour and it didn't disappoint - Black Celebration. For years, the band haven't quite nailed this but on this tour it is incredible. The new intro really builds the mood and the song is stunning. I went quite berserk when it came on and when they followed it with a thunderous Stripped, I lost my marbles. Two of the finest songs any band has ever written. 

The ones that followed weren't bad either of course. Enjoy The Silence sent the entire arena crazy. My friends were jumping around, singing along and everyone around us was too, even the chap behind us who knew all the words but none of the tune. Never Let Me Down Again did what it always does and the closing Personal Jesus almost took the roof off the venue. Absolutely brilliant. Happily, my friends loved it too from the concert veterans such as the two Johns and Andrew, to the debutants. Sharing that gig in my home town with my closest friends was a glorious experience and, the band never play in Glasgow again, that was fine last visit to the city for them. 

Saturday 3rd February, 3Arena, Dublin

My word, Dublin was good. The 3Arena really is a tremendous place to see a concert. The venue is big but still feels intimate and the sound, always good whenever I've been there before, was incredible this time.  The day before the gig we had a rare old time enjoying a medically unwise amount of Guinness and meeting a few DM fans around the city. That carried outside the gig the next day with the t-shirts again attracting a few hellos. It really is a very odd but lovely experience to meet people who say they love the blog. What started as a way for me to post a few pictures of records really has taken a turn I didn't see coming. On that note, hello to Andy Ryan who we chatted to outside the arena.

The set was the same as Glasgow in the main and that was no problem at all as it was bloody marvellous. Every song sounded incredible and the band were on great form, seemingly more relaxed than normal. 

The encore contained the one change from Glasgow and one change that I had not yet seen on the tour. Instead of Waiting For The Night we got Condemnation which I was particularly pleased with as my tuneless roaring along would attest to.  Once again, the closing Personal Jesus threatened to take the roof off the place. 

Tuesday 6th February, Glasgow

Back in the real world, I've been able to reflect not only on two incredible gigs but also on what made them feel so special. As ever, there is always the feeling that the last leg of any Depeche tour is the last leg they will ever play. They are getting older, as are we, and there is no way that they can do this indefinitely. With the band stripped down to just Martin and Dave now, they may not want to do this again, despite the clear fun they are having every night. No-one outside Dave and Martin know what they want to do of course but I couldn't help feeling that this might be the last big tour, if not the last tour full stop. 

If it is to be the last time, then I got to enjoy two of the last Depeche gigs I will see with my friends having a wonderful time enjoying a band that has been a huge part of our lives. Having a great time with great friends soundtracked by the greatest music I have ever heard is no bad way to spend a few days. 

That's what made Glasgow and Dublin so special. That's what makes Depeche Mode so special.


  1. Lovely stuff, David, couldn't agree more with everything you've said 👌

  2. I was in Glasgow and Dublin, two of the greates gigs I attended. I agree with you definitely. Martin and Dave really seemed to be happy to stand on stage and love their exceptional audience. Sound was better than this summer and the setlist fabulous. Maura from Italy

  3. Glasgow was even better than Prague for me, can’t beat the hometown gigs.
    If it is the last tour it would be fitting that my first ever DM gig was at the Barrowlands and my last at the Hydro.
    Let’s hope for one last farewell tour.🤞🏻🤞🏻

  4. Would be rude not to say hello back! Knowing you were going to Dublin I'd wondered if I might spot an Almost Predictable T-shirt, and to bump into you guys outside was a genuine treat. Excuse my excited drunken ramblings. Great review and you are right about the Dublin 3 Arena - the standing area is fantastic as you are never far from the band or the bar, and when it goes off there it really goes off... and it really went off. It's hard to compare it to Twickenham as that was a very different (and brilliant) experience, but that was undoubtedly the best DM concert I have had the privilege to witness. It's not easy to recreate the thrill of seeing them the first time (Black Celebration, Brum NEC, 1986) but that was something better - the shared history; the communal experience; the hugely expanded setlist of absolute bangers. I also had the pleasure of introducing a DM newbie - my partner and my Somebody, Kathy - and she, quite rightly, proclaimed it the best gig she's ever been to. Keep up the good work; its fans like you that make DM fans the greatest bunch of weirdos on the planet of which I'm proud to be a part.

  5. Andy Ryan here... Would be rude not to say hello back! Knowing you were coming to Dublin I'd wondered if I might spot an Almost Predictable T-shirt, so to bump into you guys outside was a genuine treat. Apologies for my drunken ramblings. Excellent review, and you are right about the 3 Arena being a great venue, particularly in the standing section where you are never far from the band or the bar - and when it goes off there, it really goes off, and it really went off on Saturday night. Its rare to recreate the thrill of seeing a band like DM for the first time (Black Celebration, Brum NEC, 1986) but that was in many ways better; the shared history, the communal experience, the massively expanded list of bangers. I was also at Twickenham and that was a fantastic experience for different reasons - mostly scale over proximity - whereas this was about as intimate as DM can get. The song changes were pretty much perfect but I agree that whilst it was great to see/hear Behind the Wheel, it was odd that it replaced World in My Eyes, but I can only assume the decision was made with thought and care. I also had the privilege of introducing a DM newbie - Kathy, my partner and my Somebody - who, quite rightly, declared it the best gig she had ever been to (and she used to work as a gig promoter). I hope its not the last time I see them, but if it is, what a way to finish. And keep up the great work... its brilliant being part of this community of weirdos.

  6. You’ve absolutely nailed it, mate. As usual.