Thursday 14 March 2024



Blog friend, film star and general all round good guy Daniel Cassus returns to reporting duties for this review of the Depeche show in Berlin on 13 February. I'm been busy at work and unwell hence the delay in publishing this. Thanks very much indeed as ever Daniel. All pictures are his so don't use without crediting him please.

"Berlin is the Depeche Mode capital.” Yep, those words came out of my mouth and they are on film, much to the chagrin of my Los Angeles friends (I still stand that I said Berlin AND Los Angeles, but that got cut in the editing room). So it’s only fair Berlin would be the first European city to get more than 2 shows in a row. Except they weren’t in a row because there was a show in Hamburg between the second and the third one, but you get what I mean.

I arrived just as the opening act Humanist was playing Shock Collar, the song on which Dave collaborated with vocals though he is of course he is not on stage. Less than an hour later he is however, as the show begins with those bangs from the ending of Speak To Me blending into the beginning of My Cosmos Is Mine. This was my first show seen from the front, so it was the first time experiencing the full imagery and lights. The giant “M” on stage slowly gets the brushstrokes, while the band is lit from behind.

We then move into Wagging Tongue where the lights above the stage are almost like an extra band member. Walking In My Shoes is a fierce performance with the screen all up in red. With It’s No Good, Anton reminds us of his passion for animals on film by showing donkeys on a beach. So far it’s the same show they played last year.

Now comes the first change. Sister Of Night got replaced with the seemingly mandatory Policy Of Truth. As much as I adore Sister Of Night and wished for a full band performance with Dave on vocals ever since the song was released, when it finally became a reality, it was a bit of a downer in an otherwise upbeat first few songs. I confess I prefer Policy Of Truth in this spot for once. The band tweaked the ending of the second bridge so Christian could do a power drum fill, but that was the only relevant change. In fact, most people probably didn’t notice this little nitpick of mine.

In Your Room was brought back in its Zephyr Mix form again followed by Everything Counts and Precious. At the point you start to think it’s the Global Spirit Tour setlist again (and you wouldn’t be that wrong). Both songs still rock and work great, but it was the song that followed that I was waiting for. Before We Drown was a very positive surprise this winter leg brought. It takes the spot that was occupied by Speak to Me and My Favourite Stranger, neither of which I think work very well live, so the change was very welcome (don’t worry, these other two were played in the following Berlin concerts).

Time for Martin’s slot. Gone are the piano version of Soul With Me and the full band version of A Question Of Lust. Instead we get acoustic versions of Strangelove and Somebody. They’ve been playing Strangelove quite often on recent tours. This one is another I wish they played the full band version of.

Dave comes back and we get the great Ghosts Again, a song that still brings a tear to my eyes during the line “everybody says goodbye”. We’ve all said goodbye to lots of people in the 6 years since the last tour. Talking of which, we’re brought back to “GST Mode” with I Feel You and A Pain That I’m Used To, as usual, played as the Jacques Lu Cont Mix.

One change however saw World In My Eyes replaced with Behind The Wheel. The backdrop video is simply the original music video (album version recently reissued on the Strange DVD). Fletch still got a quick shoutout at the end. Wrong also got replaced with Black Celebration. This one got a slightly new intro with Peter fiddling with some chord progressions. Then the main set closes with Stripped, the slightly longer version of John The Revelator and Enjoy The Silence. No surprises on the former and the latter, though.

The encore starts with Condemnation, which seems to have become the main track for this slot instead Waiting For The Night. Then the stage goes totally colourful for Just Can’t Get Enough, a track that I never imagined they would still be playing in 2024. We then go to Never Let Me Down Again and the mandatory arm waving. We conclude with Personal Jesus, which still has the slow acoustic intro but thankfully not as painfully slow as in the “Delta Machine Tour”. Reach out and touch faith… and it’s over.

Overall I think the setlist improved from the summer leg. It was expected that it would default a bit to the “best of” setlist, but it works. And that was it. I definitely enjoyed it much more seeing the band from up front. In a way it was almost the first show of the tour I got to see Anton’s videos properly. To me the giant M on the stage works so much better than the split screen from the GST and the globe from the TOTU.

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