Friday 15 March 2024



Picture courtesy of HáňaPáňa Křížová

The last time we heard from Natalia Burgos was in September 2023 when she attended two of the incredible shows Depeche Mode played at Foro Sol in Mexico City. She set off on her travels again in February this year and ended up in Prague. Here is her great review of the Depeche show there in February. All photos are Natalia's unless otherwise credited.

It was October 2023 and I did not have any clear plans to travel to Europe from my home in Colombia. I had a family trip to Spain in mind, but things only fell into place by the end of that month and of course, not many Depeche Mode concert dates fitted my travel plans by then. I made a list and started checking the gig or gigs that I would to try to target (preferably gigs in places to do some sightseeing too). The concerts that suited my timeframe were Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, but I ditched the possibility because I had already been in those cities before, so the remaining options were Hamburg and Prague. Without thinking too much I picked Prague despite that fact that my weird travel timing would only allow me to go to the first date, the 22nd of February.

Anyway, I was absolutely thrilled with the idea of seeing DM there; after Fletcher’s passing, I had checked an article of the boys visiting Prague in 1988 and the photos that Anton took of them during that opportunity were gorgeous, immersed in such a special vibe. I said to myself, if I don’t manage to see DM on the 22nd at least I will have the wonderful chance to know a bit of a new, wonderful city, so by the end of November I managed to book a flight to the Czech capital.

I packed my mode travel kit: a brand new Almost Predictable Almost T-shirt (thanks David!), a cute DM tote bag with a beautiful print of King Dave in ETS that I bought in Mexico City and a Colombian CD edition of Ultra, just in the remote case of finding Martin Gore or Dave Gahan for an autograph (wishful thinking!).

Now, fast forward to February 2024, I am in Prague and thank goodness I have great devotee friends that helped me search for a ticket. I got it the day before, but I also had some problems with my stupid Ticketmaster account and for a while it seemed I wouldn't be able to complete the transfer process of the ticket, despite the fact I went to a pair of booths in Prague but they were closed. Finally, things straightened out on their own and I could see the ticket on my phone by the end of the day. Phew!

I also saw a group of ladies with DM hoodies at a restaurant, and during breakfast, a group of people was singing along to ETS, I was also lectured by a Turkish souvenir seller saying that I should better be listening to salsa instead of “gringo techno music” by judging my tote bag (chuckles).

So, at this point, I was going to a seated area for the very first time, for what I think might be my last opportunity to witness DM live. Sigh. Nostalgia and excitement kicks in.

I have to recognise that I’ve been extremely lucky, tons of devotees from South America and Australia had hopes of getting some Memento Mori Tour dates and things went downhill unfortunately.

In retrospect, I feel grateful for DM. They were the first band that I saw abroad with my very own savings and since then I’ve found pleasure in planning trips around concerts. I’ve had the chance to see them in marvellous places, from northern Moscow to southern Buenos Aires, it’s certainly has been a wonderful bunch of journeys with lots of cherished memories.

Now, let’s go to the 02 Arena, I arrived around 7pm and the organisation was impeccable, I went through the security check very easily, there were no queues and the entry was smooth and fast. In my eyes, it is a pretty cool venue, with lots of places to buy drinks and promotional merch too (I bought a plastic commemorative Memento Mori cup there). I loved the sweatshirt that had “MODE” printed on the front but it was rather expensive, I thought it was made in thicker cotton material like the one used for hoodies but it was more like a T-shirt fabric, so I wasn’t convinced in the end. I couldn’t get rid of my coat in the cloakroom because I didn’t have any cash, what a damn burden for my tropical self (in Prague you can pay almost everything with cards but this was not the case).

I also saw HáňaPáňa Křížová looking splendid in a wonderful King Dave costume, she has kindly provided some pictures of this show for the report.

Picture courtesy of HáňaPáňa Křížová

My seat was towards the right side of the stage, a bit far for my taste, but the view was fine. Humanist started performing around 7:45pm with a vibrant act that ended at 8:15pm in a packed venue.

At 8:45pm the Mode Machine joins the stage! The show started off with My Cosmos Is Mine and Wagging Tongue. The audience was initially timid but they got into the vibe around Walking In My Shoes. I am concerned with the fact that almost everyone around my area is sitting down except a bunch of bubbly Italians that are a few rows in front of me! I was feeling a bit desperate, but thankfully there was a man in the seat next to me that stood up and a lot of other people behind me started doing the same, so I could clap and dance finally - what a relief1 Sitting and watching DM live seems very odd to me.

In my opinion the sound inside this venue was pretty good, I didn’t hear any weird reverb, I am no sound expert though.

I loved It’s No Good with the donkey projection, personally I adore Ultra so anything from that era is such a treat. Policy Of Truth holds a place in my heart because it was the first DM song that I ever heard. It was on a TV commercial and it sort of introduced me to the band. By the end of this track, I was having a problem with a woman that was behind me, who was demanding that I had to sit down because she was with her son. I offered to exchange places with the boy and my neighbour (what an angel) exchanged places with the pissed off kid’s mum.

In Your Room and Everything Counts were well received and Dave pulled a young woman to the stage for a moment.  I had never seen this before, what a lucky lady! The white gloves projection makes you want to move your hands!

It was then the turn of Precious and after that, Before We Drown. I was looking forward to Before We Drown and it did not disappoint. It was very atmospheric and introspective with the brand new video projected on the background. I loved it. The audience was calm during these tracks, but when Martin sang Strangelove, the audience's mood changed to a cheerful one once again. He also performed Somebody and things slowed down a bit. After that Dave presented Martin and the crowd was cheering like crazy - there is no doubt that we all love Martin Lee Gore and Dave Gahan.

Then came a heart wrenching rendition of Ghosts Again followed by I Feel You. I never get tired of this groovy and exuberant track. I effing love it. Hotness is not only high temperature, it’s this fricking song too!

After A Pain That I'm Used To took its turn, Behind The Wheel certainly made people react. In my opinion they should have kept World In My Eyes in the setlist. It was such an appropriate track to remember Fletch and with BTW I felt as if the tribute was a bit diluted. After that however came Black Celebration - OMG! It’s the very first time that I get to see and hear it live! What a treat! I am blissful with this smashing industrial track. But the people next to me…not that much it seems.

Stripped is well received, gosh it is one of the very best DM tracks, that pairing with BC is superb. 

Then comes Enjoy the Silence with its glittery skulls imagery that concentrates everybody’s attention. I focus to appreciate this extraordinary techno hymn. What a delight for goodness sake! Martin and Dave seem very amused performing this brilliant track. I think I could levitate to it!

Condemnation and Just Can’t Get Enough followed and the audience was totally immersed. It was then the turn of Never Let Me Down Again. For me every time I hear this track live it’s like a spiritual experience, completely absorbing my attention, and I wave my arms as if my life depended on it. It’s lovely to be part of the wheat field wave, I make a short pause to admire the audience and it’s absolutely incredible, so uplifting, so difficult to put down in words. By the end of the song some people were throwing glowsticks, I had never seen that before, I wonder if the boys like that though.

Never Let Me Down Again

The concert ends on a high note with Personal Jesus, a tremendous classic for all of us devoted believers. Time goes by so quickly!

Once again, having the chance to experience DM live is such a privilege. To drop everything else for a pair of hours to appreciate this fantastic music that has brought so many people together, that’s the power, the magical allure of Depeche Mode.

So, if some devotee is out there and probably has the chance to go to any of the winter dates left, go for it! This is the time! They are in top shape and sounding great, if Martin and Dave decide to stop now, they leave things on an outstanding point of their careers.

I start walking towards the exit and without searching, I find a pair of devotee friends outside of the venue, just like it has happened to me in other DM concerts, it was a happy coincidence and we manage to say goodbye, I wonder if our paths will cross again. 

It has been a wonderful ride and I leave the 02 Arena with mixed feelings of nostalgia and joy. I’ve had the fortune of seeing them 11 times, will I have the opportunity to complete a dozen DM gigs? Will there be a next time? Yes? No? How? When? Where? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, if this ever happens, I will not be seated, I will go to standing area were the action takes place, yes please!

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