Wednesday 31 May 2017


As you will have seen a week or so ago, this blog and the marvelous Halo - The Violator Book blog have been running a poll to find out what Depeche Mode fans would love to hear at a gig where Depeche played the ultimate fan chosen setlist. The original posts (mine here and Kevin May of Halo's here) asked The Black Swarm to pick 20 songs that they thought would make the best setlist Dave and co could play and the results were rather interesting and certainly not as obvious as you might expect.

This whole project was run in conjunction with the London Stadium ahead of Depeche Mode's hugely anticipated gig there this weekend and an article summarising our findings will appear on their site very soon. Being Depeche fans, both Kevin and I know that our fellow fans will want to know what they ultimate DM setlist is however, so here's how it played out. I thought it might be fun to show you some of the voting too as it was quite an eye opener.

Walking In My Shoes, Touring The Angel, Birmingham NEC 2006 (my pic)

Firstly, I should point out that we had to change the length of the setlist to a fan pleasing 22 songs. This was because there was a tie for spots 21,22 and 23, and we felt it was only fair to include those tracks. I say "we" there - what I mean was Kevin felt it was fair as it squeezed in a song he loves and one I think is at best overrated and only resonates with fans because of the admittedly cool metal bashing parts that feature in it on 101 - that song is Nothing. You traitorous bunch voted that as your 22nd favourite, meaning that it had to be included here, How dare you. It got one more vote than the likes of Leave In Silence, Here Is The House and The Things You Said. This sort of shoddy voting is how we ended up with things like Brexit and Trump you know.


Kevin and I collated the results (ok, Kevin collated them) and we mulled over a setlist (by mulled I mean Kevin prepared and I made a couple of changes) and we arrived at this - THE ULTIMATE DEPECHE MODE SETLIST. Brace yourselves:

Going Backwards
Behind The Wheel
Walking In My Shoes
Lie To Me
It's No Good
Cover Me
Fly On The Windscreen
You Move
World In My Eyes
In Your Room
Blasphemous Rumours
Personal Jesus

Encore 1:
Shake The Disease (Martin solo)
Everything Counts

Encore 2:
The Sun & The Rainfall
Enjoy The Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

So that's the ultimate setlist as chosen by you. Surprisingly little love for Martin there and some bang up to date songs which is interesting. The Sun & The Rainfall makes a justified appearance, as do Lie To Me and Fly On The Windscreen. I'll be at the bar in the middle of the first encore.

Picture courtesy of

Kevin's post today offers you many more stats than this attempt to denigrate an apparently much loved song, so I strongly advise you head over there for a fuller breakdown. Also, could the one person who voted for Hole To Feed please see me as we need to have a word.

Thanks very much indeed for taking part in this and thanks to the London Stadium and Kevin for getting me involved in this. Feel free to leave your setlist comments below. In the meantime, Saturday will reveal whether or not Dave, Martin and Andy have taken any of your views on board. See you there!


Here is my chosen setlist. I win ;)

World In My Eyes (Devotional version)
Lie To Me
Fly On The Windscreen

Cover Me
Judas (MLG)
It Doesn't Matter Two (MLG)
Blasphemous Rumours
Master & Servant
Everything Counts
It's No Good
Enjoy The Silence
Personal Jesus

But Not Tonight (MLG)
The Sun & The Rainfall
Never Let Me Down Again

Tuesday 30 May 2017


Welcome to the 11th installment of the Global Spirit Tour Project. Today's guest reviewer is a long time Twitter pal of mine, Jane Cotton ( @dizzycurly ). Jane has been in Lille not only for the Depeche gig but also to celebrate her birthday. Make sure you say Happy Birthday to her. It seems she got a great show for a present. Thanks very much for reviewing it Jane.

Thanks also to Bruno Ouvrein for letting me use his superb pictures. Do not steal these or Bruno will track you down and make you say sorry.

"Après Manchester, l'hymne á la vie avec Depeche Mode" - with full credit to Franck Bazin from La Voix Du Nord for this apt headline - Lille's local newspaper emphasised the celebration of life found at the latest Spirit tour gig in France especially after the atrocity back home. Despite a low-key and unobtrusive armed police presence, loyal fans were joyously and defiantly ready to celebrate together. 

Scene of the famous Welsh victory over Belgium in the 2016 Euros and one of 34 dates on the European leg of the Global Spirit tour, Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy hosted 27,000 Devotees in an electric and emotionally charged set. Myself, hubby Dave and good friend Dickie were buzzing for our latest Mode fix. Outside the ground hundreds celebrated their devotion with singalongs at the bars lining the stadium - shout out to Lee and Maggie fellow Brits abroad - and the merch truck was doing a steady trade - despite the eye-popping prices. Inside, the pulsing pre-intro music hyped the crowd into a clapping, whooping frenzy before the Beatles Revolution signalled the start of the show.

With thunderstorms looming after a day of 30 degree sunshine, the roof had been closed adding to the crescendo of sound and heat which greeted the band. Frontman Dave strutted out along a gangway in front of the main backdrop screen and Going Backwards launched into a set of two halves - the first seemingly for purist Devotees with a loud but more measured response from the crowd - the new political songs from Spirit mingling with angry tirades of furious classics - Barrel of A Gun, with an extra rap from Gahan "Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge". Gordeno then joined Martin and Dave front of stage for A Pain That I'm Used To and we are treated to the first of many triumphant microphone-held-aloft poses from Gahan as the song ends. Corrupt sounded great, Dave is clearly enjoying himself, with teasing side-eyes to camera and picking out swooning fans from the audience - before disdainfully showing the little finger with which he'd crush you. In Your Room followed, sung beautifully with an accompanying balletic backdrop, building to insistent riffs and pounding drum and bass - Christian continues to pound the beats as if his life depends on it. The heat intensifies, Dave's hair is slicked back once again and the first mic spin of the night is followed by Dave conducting a blissful crowd as he pirouettes around the stage with dry ice drifting across the adoring masses. For World in My Eyes the crowd roar and Fletch stands hands aloft, more prominent on the side screens than the Delta Machine Tour and more engaged than I've seen him for a number of gigs. We're treated to a cheeky Dave for this song, his infectious grin showing how much he loves the adoration and the trademark hip wiggle is soon on display. This version is enhanced by Martin's end coda vocals then one of the best songs from Spirit - Cover Me - follows with Dave asking the crowd if we will - of course! The dreamy astronaut sequence is a perfect accompaniment and it does not disappoint, the crowd joyfully joining in with the building beats. 

And now for Martin's spotlight - so glad to see most of the crowd stay put, unlike some concerts I've been to, and Martin's voice on A Question of Lust is as good as ever, fully demonstrating why Depeche Mode are such a strong band, the range and depth of his vocals are powerful and heartfelt. The full version of Home, with matching crowd singalong is rousing as well as tender, the meaning behind the lyrics a reminder of sad times past. Poison Heart follows and, for me, it is the only slightly weak point for the set, although dramatic and discordant, this angry break-up anthem jars slightly with its crashing dissonance. The camera phones are back out to film Where's The Revolution and the stomping feet on the screen are met by the chorus chants of the crowd. 

Wrong came next, which was another furious rendition psyching the crowd up before the new intro to Everything Counts launched into the final section of the show - definitely music for the masses as the delighted crowd jumped and danced. The noise is incredible. French fans know how to party! A few punters near us started calling for Just Can't Get Enough but I'm personally glad they've rested it - DM are so much more than this over-played if iconic track. Local reviewer Bazin noted how the response intensified after the more familiar anthems kicked in after 40 minutes and this seems fair, although the volume to start with was impressive. If it was even possible the noise increased further for Stripped, with Fletch's offbeat clapping reaching almost demonic levels, and the climax of Enjoy the Silence joined by neon animal images echoing the Precious video of the Delta shows. The crowd frenzy continued with the wheatwave of Never Let Me Down Again which from our lofty view looked as jaw-droppingly brilliant as ever. Our boys didn't let us down - the show was a triumph and you could feel the same reflected in the band members' faces as they left before the encore. 

A few moments respite, before Martin's soulful rendition of Somebody, a song which means the world to me as it was the "first dance" my husband and I enjoyed on our wedding day. Then the final few encores - Walking in My Shoes with a poignant transgender video backdrop, then the much-lauded version of Bowie's "Heroes". This was a seminal moment for me - Dave sang it straight, no gurning, no over-singing, just pure unadulterated baritone bliss and it was glorious. A fitting tribute. I Feel You and Personal Jesus and drum rolls and stomping guitar riffs got the crowd whipped up again and we were left spent, exhausted, exhilarated as we streamed out into the rain to cool off and find our own way home. The gig featured on the front page of all 3 local newspapers - a reflection of the high regard in which the band are held in France. And to borrow from Bazin once again - "chanter, Sauter, applaudir, lever les bras au ciel...Vivre" - the crowd were singing, jumping, clapping, raising their arms in the air - LIVING. Perfectly sums up my response to seeing Depeche Mode live. Anton Corbjin has described his photography as "zen" - the definition of which is a relaxed feeling where nothing from outside intrudes. And this also resonates perfectly with me for this concert too. Vive La Mode! 

Next up London for a mass UK Devotee meet up and I'm looking forward to the UK arena tour after the North and South American legs - when do we get dates fellas? 


I'm sure you all enjoyed that as much as I did - thanks Jane!


Today's review is provided by Daniel Cassus, a Germany based Brazilian Depeche fan who is famous for being on camera more than Depeche Mode (!) during this year's gig in Berlin on the Spirit promo tour. Daniel has written a wonderful review giving the reader a real feel of what this huge gig was like, both in terms of highs and lows. He's also provided a treasure trove of pictures - they're all his so do not use them without asking him very nicely. Thanks very much indeed Daniel.

Hi there, fellow devotees. This is Daniel Cassús, who monopolized the Berlin Telekom Street Gig broadcast from March this year. Today is my turn to review a show for the blog Global Spirit Tour project. And it’s the first German show of this tour, so the black swarm gets hyper excited over this. I’ll try to not bore you, because by now you know the setlist, the tour projections, stage design, etc.

Ever since I moved to Germany I started to indulge in seeing multiple shows, probably to compensate for all the other tours that I only saw on DVD, VHS, LaserDisc, Beta…

In 2013 I chose Munich as my first one because it was the first German show of the tour. For this tour I applied the same logic with a twist: smaller cities if possible. So it happened to be Leipzig, just over 1 hour away from Berlin by train, but a city I had never visited after 4 years living here.

I confess I was somewhat disappointed. Leipzig is much smaller than neighboring Dresden and it sells itself as a city for fairs and conventions, but apparently there were 2 other events taking place this weekend and the city was overfilled with people. Hotels were charging 4 to 6 times more than in Dresden and affordable Airbnb apartments were also disappearing from the radar very fast. With the show foreseen to end by 23h, a sleep over was the only option.

The Festwiese is what the name says: an open air field for events. It’s a great venue for a festival, but this is just one show with two opening acts. Doors opened at 16h, and the band was supposed to go on stage at 21h, the sun was scorching and people were not moving from one place to another. A few passed out. Security guys offered free water to the people in the first rows of each area. A nice gesture from a crew known to be a real family. More on the show's organization that later.

Another downside of the “smaller city” idea was that public transportation was completely chaotic during the exit. All streetcars were crammed with people against the glass.

Enough about the venue. Let’s talk a little about the opening acts because that’s obviously what you came here for, right? Ok, I’ll be brief. F. O. X. was amazing. They have a Le Tigre-Gossip-The Sounds-La Roux-Yazoo thing going on that definitely rings many bells with DM fans. The Horrors, on the other hand, were… well… horrible. Just a Strokes-meets-Oasis on a bad shoegazing day. I confess I didn’t pay any attention to them and kept playing Candy Crush on my phone to pass the time.

Sign o' times: the screens showed multiple alerts about emergency exits. Still, it was stressful to leave from the FOS areas at the end because the barriers were left in place and people were being slowly funneled out. Had there been an emergency, it could have been a tragedy (knock on wood). Also, no video about the charity:water partnership. C'mon, people you're letting me down.

"You say you want a revolution" - well, you know this is the cue to get ready. Band gets on stage and Dave makes his ZooTV-esque entrance by showing his silhouette in front of the colorful video created by Anton for Going Backwards (yes, it’s a reverse video of paint dropping on the lens, I bet Anton was influenced by my video).

You can tell Dave is genuinely enjoying himself when he does the chicken dance. Well, during Barrel Of A Gun he indulged in a monkey dance too. And then went back to the chicken dance on A Pain That I'm Used To. There was even a dog dance at some point too. You see how everything is connected with the Enjoy The Silence tour video? ;)

I was a Corrupt hater when it came out. To me, it was just DM trying and failing to sound sleazy, like Dead of Night and Goodbye. But this song gained a totally new depth played live. They also added some reverb effects on Dave’s voice that makes it special and not just a karaoke version of the studio one.

I’m still on the fence about videos like the ones for In Your Room and Walking In My Shoes. I didn’t pay any attention to the band at all during these two songs. In Your Room in particular has a Pina Bausch feel to it. Walking In My Shoes is pretty literal, down to the “forbidden fruits” part. By the way, did I mention hearing the album version of In Your Room gave me goosebumps?

I noticed the first chords of Cover Me slowed down a little compared to the promotional shows. I hope they don’t turn it into that Personal Jesus drag from the previous tours. Hopefully it just Dave adding 1 or 2 seconds of drama to the performance. That’s ok.

When I saw that Martin didn’t sing any new song and only played his 3 singles I was disappointed. And A Question Of Lust on piano yet again? But Peter toned down his inner Liberace and it was very moving. The same applies to Somebody. And Home with the full band is just pure....oooohhhhh...bliss.

Nothing new here, but I have to just state that Wrong is a killer track. This is how it should have been played on the Tour Of The Universe, preferably as the first song of some encore. It has such a build up potential in this form. I can even waive that the final verse is missing.

Before the show, we were told there would be fireworks 800 meters exactly in front of the stage due to one of the other events in the city. Great planning, uh? These fireworks went off during Everything Counts and Stripped. Thanks to a camera behind Dave, we saw these fireworks on the side screens (or else we would have to turn our heads 180º). I thought they would disturb the show, but they were not audible and created a great effect. Maybe they should adopt this for the future? It was much better than the airplanes passing by every 20 minutes over the stage during my first concert in Buenos Aires, 2009.

I noticed they beefed up the electronic parts in Stripped, I Feel You and Never Let me Down Again (did anyone notice a better bassline?). Great move.

Now I may get stoned for these next two remarks, but I actually enjoyed the video for Enjoy The Silence. Yes, the song hasn't changed since the Exciter tour, but I found the animals cute. Yes, it's another one-pony trick by Anton if compared to the Precious video from last tour, but I'm a dog person and there's a cute boxer in it. And yes, I'm aware that the In Your Room video is also reminiscent of the banned Strangelove one and Cover Me is Enjoy The Silence, Behind The Wheel, and Devotional's Never Let Me Down Again reloaded.

The second hot topic is the t-shirt gun. It's so camp - I like it! On all of the 8 Delta Machine tour gigs I saw, Dave was so exhausted during the deodorant check part, he looked awkwardly not knowing what to do with his hands anymore, already tired of waving them after 800 shows. Now Dave has his hands busy and some fun at the same time. Feel free to disagree with me on everything, but on these two in particular.

Encore time and once again Peter took his xanax and made a beautiful performance of Somebody. I am soooo gonna whisper the lyrics to this song on my SO's ears on the Berlin show later next month. Walking In My Shoes finally got the crowd going wild. "Heroes" sounded so much better live than on the bad YouTube videos I had seen so far. Save your judgement for when you see it live or on the official dvd. Dave's been saying he wants a shorter set, but they play the full album version of "Heroes", not just the short single edit. You can tell this is the most emotional moment of the show for them.

Talk about I Feel You, we all know it has been too long in the setlist, but it finally got the short intro it deserved since after Devotional. The one on Delta Machine was good too, but this is more cut to the chase. Also, either Dave struggled to sing it or someone mixed his mic too low in the first verses.

Personal Jesus also came with beefier electronic sounds and the stereo panning effects are just so awesome during the instrumental part (if you're in the center like I was). Crystal clear sound.

And that was it. Band takes a bow. Dave does a particularly long goodbye on stage. My verdict is that the performance was amazing, but the organization left a little to be desired and the overall experience was very good, but could have been better. But then again, this was just the first out of 4 shows I’m going (so far). I did drop a load of money in the merchandise stands, so they'll use my money to fine tune these small perks. I hope you enjoyed my review and see you next week in Dresden.


Thank you Daniel - what a great read.

Friday 26 May 2017


This review has been written by Conkan Larsson, a Swedish Depeche fan and a great chap who is well known among the Depeche fan community. His review is a superb read, taking in all of his Global Spirit Tour experiences thus far. By happy coincidence, today is also the day that Conkan is taking over Depeche Mode's Facebook page - keep an eye on that throughout today (May 26). Thanks very much Conkan!

Depeche Mode started their new world tour 'Global Spirit Tour' at the beginning of this month, and after seeing them in Stockholm for the world premiere and last week in Bratislava, I had very good vibes for the gig in the Czech capital. The contrasts, of the stylish ultra modern venue in sunny Stockholm and the old post cold war venue in stormy Bratislava, were huge. I enjoyed both gigs wholeheartedly, with a special shoutout to the very active Slovakian crowd. Depeche Mode has started the tour in high spirits and with lots of energy. So, Prague is one of my absolute favourite cities so my hopes and expectations were very high for my first Depeche Mode concert on Czech ground. 

I took the tram to the venue, the football arena Eden Arena. Eden Arena in its present form was inaugurated in 2008 and its capacity for sport activities is around 21 000 spectators. However, there have been 'older versions' of the venue at the very same spot, at least from the early 50's. After getting lost a little, I finally found the venue, and there were many fans already queuing. Eventually, I entered and decided to grab a spot just by the end of the catwalk. The venue, all red with wooden ceiling, was tight with pretty steep stands. Perfect for a big concert. 

Chilly winds but no real rain, thankfully. I felt a few small drops on my head but that was it. The crowd was energetic and received both supports acts very well. DM came on and the place went wild. I made several new friends during the gig and we all had a blast together. DM started as always with the first song on Spirit,  Going Backwards. Live it lacks something, I felt, but the band continued with So Much Love and Barrel Of A Gun. Slowly they worked up the energy and it got - as always - only better and better. In my opinion, it is Wrong that is the song that marks the start of the party set. Highlights for me were the full band version of Home and it's a song I never grow tired of. Of the new songs, Cover Me is the one that really makes an impression with its atmospheric back projections and Dave Gahan on the catwalk. I must also mention the old fan favourite - that finally is back in the set list - Everything Counts. It sounds fresh and lush and the singalong in the end works great. During Martin's Somebody, with Peter Gordeno on the piano, I saw more than one person with tears in their eyes. A lovely performance by Martin Gore. If the venue would have had a roof, it would have blown off during Never Let Me Down Again and the insane "cornfield" led by Dave Gahan. The atmosphere was that good. 

Tonight's gig is near the start of the tour and it shows. The band is full of energy and they clearly enjoyed their time on the stage. An active audience enjoyed every moment. The set list worked well and got the crowd going. When Wrong kicked in followed by Everything Counts, the audience was completely in Dave Gahan's hands. 

I'm now entering a small post summer leg blues hence this was my last (as of now) planned gig. But one should never say never. Thanks a lot to the blog boss David McElroy for having me, and thanks to you all for reading this far! See you next time!


Thanks very much Conkan - enjoy your Depeche Mode Day!

Thursday 25 May 2017


Today's review is part 2 of Rachel Blackman's double header. Will her luck change from Bratislava? Will she stay dry? Will she get to see Everything Counts? Ok, if you know the setlist by now, you know the answer to that last one. Anyway, over to Rachel and thank you very much again to her for providing both of these excellent reviews.

Another day, another city, the Global Spirit continues. 

It starts with us getting off the train in the Hungarian capital to find we've been travelling on the same train as F.O.X (one of DM's support bands)! I have the chance to tell them that I enjoyed their set & I'll check them out when home. They seemed to be enjoying the gigs. In Budapest we meet up with Paul & Helen. We first met on the Hansa Studios tour before the Berlin Olympic stadium gig in 2013 & we've had a few gig experiences together since. It's scorching weather again but the first things I buy in the city are a) anti-inflammatory tablets & gel (for my shoulder - see previous review) & b) a rain poncho!! Quite a few DM t shirts can be seen around the city and word reaches that the band are staying at The Ritz Carlton. Whilst sightseeing we just so happen to bump into Peter Gordeno at the back of the hotel trying to go for lunch. I get a pic and whizz it off to Andy McMinn (Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos group on Facebook) to then find Paul & Helen saw Martin at the front of the hotel 20minutes earlier! So jealous! Let's get to the gig! 

Groupama Arena was easily reached by Metro underground. Apparently it's a newly built football arena and it was pretty impressive. There were helpers to direct you to the right gate from the street. Signs everywhere too. Inside the gates we were delighted to see the merchandise stall was so much cheaper than Bratislava! I grabbed a tour shirt & programme. Refreshments were also great value and it was well organised. A slight downer was our seating situation - I'd picked block C5 as it looked like we'd have a good view of the stage but sadly we couldn't see Anton's screens or Peter and Christian. A lot of people around us were not happy. I was just delighted to be seeing a gig in the dry & pain free (the tablets worked!) 

There was a big shower during the support set but it soon passed and the sun came out again. From our seats, we could see how 'up for it' the floor crowd were - they all looked in great SPIRIT. The Raveonettes were just nice background music to me. The now familiar intros were played and then... here's the band. We're on our feet dancing & singing from the word go. For an album I haven't warmed to yet, the songs they've picked from it are catchy and fit the feel of the show. Dave especially embraces the show's mean and moody feel, stomping & snarling around stage at times. And how up for it are the crowd? Bloody loving it! Highlights for me include the unbeatable A Pain That I'm Used To with heavy bass of the Jacques La Cont mix. On a side note both Paul & I are confused as to why Peter plays live bass (which is fab) and not Fletch, who's supposed to be the 'bass player'? Martin's star turn is pretty much perfection - A Question Of Lust, Home (with the band) and later Somebody are sung beautifully and the audience are right in his hand... we're losing our voices singing back! 

Poison Heart is a little weak for me but Helen objects and says she loves the lyrics. When Where's The Revolution kicks in it seems to take the audience a little moment to embrace it, maybe after the slower number before? But Wrong really goes down well with the crowd. Then we're on the home run... oh my goodness how good is it to hear Everything Counts again?!!! The audience are now having a party. Stripped - so awesome! Enjoy The Silence is absolutely massive with the crowd and they're going crazy... & then we get Never Let Me Down Again!!! Check out the footage posted by F.O.X on their Facebook page ( for how amazing the crowd was doing 'the wave. I'm pleased to say my shoulder was fine and I was able to take part!

I'll just pick out "Heroes" of the encores, as I realise my review is rambling on a bit now! My partner Jill turned me onto Bowie for the last 16 years. His death in January really shook us for the whole of 2016, the loss never went away and the awful year of famous people's passing which ended with my father dying in October 2016, was shrouded in black for us. The band's rendition of the song is tasteful, sincere & 'hero' worship at it's best - not overblown. Beautiful. We get I Feel You and Personal Jesus and suddenly we're at the end of the concert. The crowd are absolutely worn out but insatiable - it's a massive party that no one wants to go home from. The band has said goodbye but the crowd stays & chants for ages until the lights are up. 

Oh my goodness, Depeche Mode are right on top of their game right now. If they continue this way, and the crowd get right behind them, London is going to go down as one of those memorable DM moments. They can be heroes just for one day.... 

Footnote: Jill, Paul, Helen & myself get back to the hotel still on an amazing high. We say goodnight. We switch on the tv back in our rooms... we're stunned to see news unfolding of an attack on young concert goers at Manchester Arena! Jill & I are from Manchester. It literally hits home that we've just had the time of our lives listening to live music & so have those teenagers in Manchester. We find out the next morning that 22 of those will never have that experience again...


Thanks very much to Rachel for that. As a Manchester girl, seeing what happened on Monday night must really have struck home. Everyone who contributes to and reads this blog knows what it's like to experience live music, from the life changing thrill of the first gig you go to, to the never ending high of seeing bands blow your mind every time they step on stage. Anyone being senselessly killed partaking in something so special is so wrong, so tragic, that there aren't words to express the sadness Monday's events made me feel. 

Monday 22 May 2017


Today's review is the first of a two part Rachel Blackman (@g0disadj) special as she's covering Budapest for the blog too. Rachel is a long term blog supporter so I was really chuffed that she volunteered to do the reviews. It's not often that I'll allow a Manchester United fan anywhere near here ;) As you'll see, Rachel had quite an adventure in Bratislava. Enjoy.

Rachel on the right

Hello fellow fans! I suppose I'm a recent convert to travelling overseas to see my favourite band - 1st time was Munich Olympic stadium in 2009 & it was a good tactic for encouraging my partner Jill to 'get on board'. We had a great trip to Berlin on the last tour & that's where I met devotees that were to become friends & social media pals. In the 4 year cycle of tours I've become friends with so many more. And that's what I look forward to - going to a new city, DM t shirt spotting, meeting friends & enjoying the collaborative experience of the gig! So, this time around 2017 brings Bratislava, Budapest & London... maybe more? 

Bratislava had been bathed in glorious sunshine for days leading up to the gig. We met up with Chris (who I've 'known' on twitter for the last few years) for breakfast & set up our plans. A drink in the brewery next to our hotel & then a 50min walk to the stadium (with a couple more stops for cheap beers), with conversations of 'was it going to rain? What time was it going to rain?' Once at the stadium it was fan shirt spotting time, Dave Gahan lookalikes, guessing nationalities & glancing at the merchandise stall - €35 for a t-shirt/€25 for a beanie! What got me most was 2 posters of same size - one for the tour at €7 & one for specific city €25 - cynical exploitation. 

The Stadion Pasienky is not banked very high around the sides like other football stadiums & Bratislava is generally very flat. The wind was picking up & you could see the stage curtains blowing & I felt sorry for the 2 guys high above the mixing desk on the spotlights with very little protection from the elements. Chris left us to have a mooch & find his own spot for sound recording the gig. It's a hobby of his & he trades recordings with other nerds (his own words) around the World. We caught most of F.O.X (apparently from Essex) & thought they were pretty good - quite catchy songs bit Florence & the machine? Bit Euro-pop? Bit Siouxsie soux? We missed The Raveonettes queuing for a non existent hot dog & were starting to feel a bit chilly. I've wrenched my shoulder somehow & my immediate thought is 'oh no! I'm not going to be able to do the arm wave'

Back into the crowd (we were in general standing) to warm up & hearing John Lennon's voice with Revolution & we were off. I've not been hooked by the new album but what I will say is that they've chosen the best songs from it for the setlist. First sight of Dave & he's all Italian Mafioso meanness, strutting about. Glittery jacket, glittery boots & possibly some shimmering glitter on his chest? Going Backwards brings out Dave's strong vocal performance that continues through the night, with maybe just Barrel Of A Gun sounding too wordy (but oh what great thumping noises coming from the speakers for that!). Crystal clear sound & great visuals - Depeche are back and I'm loving it! 

Black clouds & rain have started around BOAG & by Martin's solos we're getting soaked to the skin. It's such a shame as Home is absolutely one of our favourites but we're now so cold, soaked & I can't see for rain streaming down my glasses, my shoulder is now very painful. To cut a long story shorter we very sadly left the stadium, abandoning the gig - we just weren't prepared for the soaking we got. I'm pleased for those that got to see the whole set because it still sounded amazing as we were walking back towards the city - the songs just kept coming. I can't believe I missed Everything Counts - I think I cried into the rain running down my face at that. The only thing that gave us hope was that we had Budapest in 2 days & the first thing we were going to buy in that city?.... a massive tourist waterproof poncho, & maybe a fleece?... out the window is 'what cool retro Depeche t shirt am I going to wear?


As you can see from the post concert video below, this was a gig that was beyond wet. Sorry it affected your enjoyment Rachel, but thanks for soldiering on for the benefit of the blog. Budpest will be different - look froward to reading all about it.


A favourite blog of mine, and one that should be a favourite of yours, Halo - The Violator Book has come up with a clever idea ahead of Depeche Mode's much anticipated London Stadium gig on June 3rd. What 20 Depeche Mode songs would you want to hear live? What would be your ultimate setlist? Well, here's your chance to make that decision. Do you want to hear a set filled with classics? Perhaps you want The Great Outdoors to kick things off, leading neatly into A Photograph Of You before turning up the heat with Hole To Feed? (Seriously - if that is you, please don't vote). Let us know, either via the contact details in the Halo blog below, or by leaving a comment here or via Twitter - @almostprdalmost

Thanks to Kevin May at Halo for setting this up. Good luck counting the votes!


(first published on Halo May 16 2017 - )

By their own admission, Depeche Mode have a thorough and reasonably democratic process that they go through to create a tour set list.

And, yet, as the catalogue gets bigger with each new album, this mechanism presumably gets harder every time.

But fear not, gents.

In conjunction with the London Stadium, where the band play on Saturday 3 June, we thought instead it would be fun (and intriguing!) to get the fanbase to help out the boys with their dilemma instead.

Obviously, the Global Spirit Tour is already underway and the set list locked down – but ahead of what will be a landmark gig in the UK for Depeche, let’s find out what the masses would love to hear if the band had a clean slate again… just for the homecoming show.

Here on the HALO website and elsewhere, such as the Almost Predictable. Almost blog, we’ll be collecting the TWENTY songs you want to hear.

The full Depeche Mode catalogue is listed below for reference 

Remember, this isn’t necessarily a list of your own favourite songs (though it may well be), but the TWENTY songs that you think should be on the ultimate Depeche Mode set list – tracks that would help create the best gig ever.

You can leave your list of TWENTY in the comments below, on the HALO Facebook page or via email.

The results will be posted on the London Stadium website and other participating sites in the days before the gig.

With many thanks in advance for your suggestions 

The full discography is listed below.

PIC (APA: at top of this page): Paris promo gig set list via Depeche Mode Live Wiki.

New Life
I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
Boys Say Go!
What’s Your Name?
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Big Muff
Any Second Now (Voices)
Just Can’t Get Enough
Dreaming Of Me
Ice Machine
Any Second Now

Leave In Silence
My Secret Garden
Nothing To Fear
See You
The Meaning Of Love
A Photograph Of You
Shouldn’t Have Done That
The Sun & The Rainfall
Now, This Is Fun
Oberkorn (It’s A Small Town)

Love, In Itself
More Than A Party
Everything Counts
Two Minute Warning
The Landscape Is Changing
Told You So
And Then…
Get The Balance Right
The Great Outdoors
Work Hard

Something To Do
Lie To Me
People Are People
It Doesn’t Matter
Stories Of Old
Master And Servant
If You Want
Blasphemous Rumours
In Your Memory
(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me

Shake The Disease
It’s Called A Heart

Black Celebration
Fly On The Windscreen
A Question Of Lust
It Doesn’t Matter Two
A Question Of Time
Here Is The House
World Full Of Nothing
Dressed In Black
New Dress
But Not Tonight
Breathing In Fumes
Black Day
Christmas Island

Never Let Me Down Again
The Things You Said
Little 15
Behind The Wheel
I Want You Now
To Have And To Hold
Agent Orange
Pleasure, Little Treasure
Route 66
Sonata No. 14 in C#m (Moonlight Sonata)

World In My Eyes
Sweetest Perfection
Personal Jesus
Waiting For The Night
Enjoy The Silence
Policy Of Truth
Blue Dress
Happiest Girl
Sea Of Sin

Death’s Door

I Feel You
Walking In My Shoes
Mercy In You
In Your Room
Get Right With Me
One Caress
Higher Love
My Joy

Barrel Of A Gun
The Love Thieves
It’s No Good
Sister Of Night
Jazz Thieves
The Bottom Line

Only When I Lose Myself

Dream On
The Sweetest Condition
When The Body Speaks
The Dead Of Night
I Feel Loved
Easy Tiger
I Am You
Goodnight Lovers

A Pain That I’m Used To
John The Revelator
Suffer Well
The Sinner In Me
I Want It All
Nothing’s Impossible
Damaged People
The Darkest Star
Better Days


In Chains
Hole To Feed
Fragile Tension
Little Soul
In Sympathy
Come Back
Miles Away\The Truth Is
The Sun And The Moon And The Stars
Oh Well

Welcome To My World
Secret To The End
My Little Universe
The Child Inside
Soft Touch\Raw Nerve
Should Be Higher
Soothe My Soul
Long Time Lie
Happens All The Time
All That’s Mine

Going Backwards
Where’s The Revolution
The Worst Crime
You Move
Cover Me
Poison Heart
So Much Love
No More (This Is The Last Time)

Saturday 20 May 2017


This review comes courtesy of a good friend of the blog, Panos Sialakas. Panos has contributed on here before during the Month Long Period Of Rejoicing where he wrote wonderfully about Black Celebration and, in a more general sense, as unpaid fact checker and unofficial editor. Panos is a huge Depeche Mode brain and he's kept me right on many occasions. Enjoy this great review of the Athens gig (and his photos) and remember to check out his blog at

Terra Vibe is difficult place for gigs. It’s about 40 km north of Athens, there’s no decent transportation and when there’s a bad weather, it’s really bad.

So for the last couple of days the question was simple: will the Depeche gig go on as scheduled or will it be cancelled. You see there were a series of weather projections about a rainstorm in that particular area in late afternoon, early evening. Around the time of the gig that is.

Considering the fact that the Greek crowd had experienced the last minute cancellation in 2009, you can easily understand why there was such tension this time around.

The promoter was insisting that things would go as planned and the band would be on stage at around 9.30 pm. OK then, anxious about what will happen I arrived at that difficult place at about 7 pm. The rain had stopped for an hour and the sky seemed ok, cloudy but not that heavily. There was mud though.

Still, happy to see some of my friends there…The Raveonettes did their set, some like it, I didn’t.

9.35 pm…Revolution by The Beatles, now that was a nice surprise for an intro. A minute later the band was on stage and the show started… and it was just brilliant.

Now I’ve read quite a few posts on forums and social media about the first part of the show being slow. OK, Going Backwards is not as powerful as it is on the record and Barrel Of A Gun lacks the dramatic tone of the original but the rest was just fine, particularly So Much Love, Corrupt, In Your Room (finally in its original glory) and World In My Eyes (best version since 1993).

Two days of rest were quite evident in Dave’s vocals and Mart seemed a bit more active than usual in his own set, although doing his singles only was a bit of let down. At least this time we managed to hear Home based on the original version.

Funny thing about the second part of the show, first there were the lowest moments with Poison Heart (what the hell was that?) and Where’s the Revolution (it doesn’t really go anywhere) followed by the highest moments of Wrong and Everything Counts, new intros and rhythms making old people like me wanting to jump around and sing as loud as they can.

And then there were the anthems – Stripped, Enjoy the Silence, Never Let Me Down Again. Some others and I might be critical of the fact that they’re the same old versions, but the Athens crowd – and I’m pretty sure most casual fans – really didn’t care about that, or the rain drops that were falling around that time.

The encore would be perfect if there wasn’t I Feel You, the same boring “rock on” version. Walking In My Shoes sounded as powerful as ever; the tribute to Bowie with "Heroes" was appropriate, no sentimental crap there. And no more slow bluesy crap in Personal Jesus, just reach out and touch faith!

That was it…the tension had been transformed to excitement. And when the gig finished I was hearing nothing but words of excitement and joy from people in the audience. Some were saying that was the best Athens gig. 

Probably. The stage is too small for the show standards, there’s minimum interaction between band members, some songs sound the same like in the last few tours. Again, for the hardcore fans those can be huge things. For the about 15,000 fans that attended the Athens gig in difficult conditions, there are just minor details that they probably didn’t pay attention to. They “just” enjoyed a brilliant Depeche Mode show.


Thanks very much Panos.

Friday 19 May 2017


This review has been written by Carsten Drees, a German Devotee and a man who I've been lucky enough to meet twice on this tour already. Carsten has written a wonderful review that basically sums up both the experience of being at a Depeche gig and the experience of meeting Carsten himself! Check out his tech blog and keep an eye out for Carsten at Depeche gigs throughout the summer. Thanks Carsten! 

The experience of listening to new Depeche Mode songs hasn't change that much over the years: It's just me, the new album, something to drink (non-alcohol) and some chocolate. This setup works for me since those well-known lads from Basildon published their The Singles 81-85 compilation back in 1985.

I was 14 years old and will never forget this moment, when I first took a look at this grey vinyl record and seconds later listened to all those great tracks. Fast forward: 32 years later and there still is the magic of the moment, when I sit down and listen to the new tracks. But something changed completely: In 1985 and the following years I was in some kind of bubble – there were just very few people to talk to about the new songs. Today, there are millions, when you take a short look at the internet. And loads of them are saying the same things – I don't like their new material, I want Alan back, SOFAD/Ultra was the last cool depeche-album/song since the band published Exciter etc etc.

You want to know why I'm talking about all those things instead of talking about the gig in Nice, France? Because something has changed: In my opinion, Spirit is an outstanding album and absolutely worthy of the name Depeche Mode - no doubt about it. But this time I have the feeling that most of the long-time-supporters are quite happy with Spirit, too. Sure – there always will be lots of haters around, but in general the fanbase seems to be very pleased by the new songs.

And this – finally- brings me to the tour and the concert in Nice: Which songs should be part of the setlist? To me, their selection is a very good one and Going Backwards is maybe the strongest opener in this millenium! I had the luck to see those guys in Berlin and Glasgow and attended the official start of the tour in Stockholm, Sweden, so I already knew that Going Backwards was the first song of the gig.

It was a warm spring day in lovely Nice and after a day with loads of drinks and delicious food we made it to the Stade Charles Ehrmann. Many other German friends made it to Nice, too and so it was – again – a big happening of the same old crazy depeche-family. First surprise: the stadium was pretty small and the stage took place in the hall right next to the arena – pretty strange. The stage seemed to be right in the butt of the hall, where Depeche Mode played their warm-up gig in 2013!

Next surprise: There were just three beer stands and just two places with mobile toilets. Very poor in my opinion, but there still was another nasty surprise: 10 or even 11 Euros for a single beer (deposit inclusive)! The good news: finally the very popular cups with Depeche Mode on it were introduced. I am not quite sure how many there are – there are two or three different ones.

When The Raveonettes started to play their support gig, we continued our own black celebration with pricey but beautiful cups of beer. The band sounds quite okay, but to me it's just a nice background music while you're waiting for DM. Then finally it was time for Depeche! The intro was a combination of two songs: First we listened to Revolution - an old Beatles classic, before the DM-intro started - a short instrumental version of Cover Me.

Then our heroes entered the stage including Jingling-Bernd (Gordeno) and Drumming-Clown (Eigner). If you're interested: In our language we call those two guys Klimper-Bernd und Trommel-Kasper! Okay, we're making fun of it, but in general it's okay to us, that they are part of the Depeche-experience on stage. But hey – there is one guy missing, isn't it? Yeah, that's right – Mr. Gahan himself was the last one to enter the stage and he did it in the back of the band on the second, upper stage.(Spoiler-Alert: He spent to less time up there at the concert).

Going Backwards – I already mentioned it: It's a great opener – on the album and live, too. If you want to get an idea of the mood of the current tour just watch this single track. It's Depeche Mode 2017 in a nutshell: There is passion and loads of energy and some lads who are enjoying what they are doing there.

Then it's time for another energetic track, So Much Love, or as we call it A Question Of Time 2. To be honest before their first concert, I had the vision that they could do a mash-up with this two powerful songs. By the way, the weather was still pretty fine and it felt like the first real summer-gig of this Spirit-tour.

But I'm still a little disappointed when it comes to the French crowd. Were you guys still sleeping? The Swedish crowd wasn't too enthusiastic, but the French one seemed to be even quieter in this early part of the concert. Maybe they already had an idea what was coming up: Barrel Of A Gun, A Pain That I'm Used To (featuring Klimper-Bernd on bass-guitar) and Corrupt. Sorry guys, I quite like these tracks, but it's a pretty lame combination and believe me, the fans will talk of this part as the „I will go for a pee and buy some beer“ section of the concert.

Don't get me wrong: I love Barrel Of A Gun, Corrupt is one of the greatest non-single-tracks in recent band history and APTIUT is a kinda party track which made the crowd finally start to clap, sing along and enjoy the concert. But to me personally it's a wasted chance, because their back catalogue offers so much more than this.

But then to me it's the real kickoff of the concert - In Your Room! The version is pretty much the one from the album which I really appreciate hearing live again. The crowd seemed to share my enthusiasm and now it is the party I was looking forward to.

I should mention the screening on the big L.E.D. wall in the back. Corbijn's idea for this song isa dancing couple – yes, the screening was as boring as it sounds. But anyway – I really enjoyed this short trip to the year 1993 and was waiting for some more. Next stop: 1990! There are three songs from Violator in the setlist - World In My Eyes is the first one and boy, I really love this awesome new intro!

Now everyone was enjoying the concert, including those five dudes on stage and even if I hoped for a little more enthusiasm like at the German concerts, it was a pretty cool party right now. Glad, you're finally awake, France! :D

Then there was time to slow things a little down with the most beautiful track on the current album - Cover Me. I can remember that there were some German guys aged 40-something in Glasgow who started crying at this part of the concert ;) Now we're kinda used to it and maybe a little more laid-back, but anyway, this is one of the highlights of the whole concert! It's such a brilliant and beautiful melody, I love the lyrics and Dave is performing so cautiously and delicately.

I pictured us in another life - Where we’re all super stars

After this sentence the faster Kraftwerk-esque part starts and it felt like the band now was giving the audience a fairy kiss to wake us all up from a beautiful dream. Every one starts clapping along. Also - it wasn't a dream that Dave Gahan was wearing an astronaut suit, but another backing film from Anton Corbijn. I really like this one – one of the best videos in the whole concert.

Okay, we're in a chilling mode now – best time for Dave to leave the stage and for Mart to enter the limelight: Time for another „Oh, I cried in Glasgow“-moment. Martin decided not to sing his new stuff (thank you for that, Mr. Gore) and instead performed Home and again it was the version which features the full band and not just the piano of Jingling-Bernd.

I really enjoy Home so much, every time I listen to it, especially live. I love the mood of the song and the singalong part at the end. Oh, you should have a look at the video (below) I made in Bratislava at the last tour – please listen to it carefully, 'cause Mart is singing a totally different song after it. If you ever saw a Depeche Mode concert before, you know that Martin is always singing two songs in the middle of the concert. And the second song – now played just as a acoustic version – took us back to 1986: A Question Of Lust!

It's one of my very fave Gore-songs – it always reminds me to my teenage years: my first girlfriend, first kisses... And still this song is so magical to me and always put me in a trance. Thank you so much for this selection of songs! Ah, Dave is back and ready to bring us the last two Spirit songs of this night: Poison Heart and Where's The Revolution. I already mentioned it: I really like the selection of this five songs from the current album – even if I'm missing Scum very badly.

Poison Heart worked very well as a reminder to the crowd, that the ballad time was nearly over and we're now entering the party-section. Where's the Revolution is such a great live song – I especially like the last part of it when Dave wants us to sing along and you hear nothing but Christian's drums.

Now we're entering the last part of the concert – 10 more songs are to come and believe me: Depeche Mode wants as to sing and clap and scream and sweat – this upcoming part of the setlist is proof of that. It starts with Wrong - performed in a fantastic new version with an sensational intro. By the way: Here you can see that the light show isn't as shitty as we thought after the first concert in Stockholm. If you're close to the stage – most times we're „front of stage“ - you are not able to see, how beautiful it looks. If you have the chance to see more than just one concert, take the chance to watch from the distance – it's definitely worth it, no doubt about it.

Next song: The music starts and you can see it in the eyes of the most people around us – they have no idea what this could be. But then all of the sudden there was the iconic intro-sound of Everything Counts and the whole audience immediately went nuts. Right now it feels like the good old times when we used to get the chance to listen to live songs from their early years. The version played on this tour is basically not far from the album but with this all new intro it's really close to perfect.

But the classic time is not over yet – suddenly we‘re listening to the opening sounds of Stripped. This is the song which started this whole Depeche Mode-madness to me. I was 14 years old back then and a Depeche Mode fan since 1982, but with Stripped, everything changed. I decided then that I have to go to my very first concert – the rest is history.

But there are some classics still missing - Enjoy The Silence for example and that comes next. I bet they will never play just one single regular concert without this one. The version is quite okay, but not that special. It's like: „Okay, they have to play it and I have to party“. Basically there is nothing more to say about it, but there was this strange, strange screening in the back. I still have no idea what is happening there and it really left us helpless when we saw it for the first time in Stockholm. Try to imagine that you are watching „Farmer wants a wife“ on LSD while you're listening to Old MacDonald had a Farm!

There are lots of different animals on the screen, all in very strange colours. When the first animal was shown I immediately started to shout „Hase, Hase“ (which translates to „rabbit, rabbit“) and all my german friends joined me fortunately. So a unspectacular Depeche-classic and a strange video mutated to a big party with many mid-40s shouting the names of animals.

(Picture by the lovely Daniela Vorndran from

After it (and after we finally figured out how to stop laughing) we got that for many years marked the end of the concert - Never Let Me Down Again. ETS and NLMDA – what a great combo to end the regular set. The people were going crazy and so were we. After some minutes and exhaustive arm-waving in the typical NLMDA-way it was time to wave our guys goodbye for the first time.

It's not a very sad goodbye, because every one knew that the guys will return soon for some more songs. After some minutes it was Martin who stands in front of us to perform another classic Depeche song: Somebody from Some Great Reward! There is once again a film on thebig screen in the back, but there is not much going on – just the word „Somebody“, which could be the proof, that Depeche Mode is not going to change this part of the setlist.

Just to recall it: Home, A Question of Lust and Somebody - Martin Gore is performing three of his very best songs! Thanks for that, Mart!

There are four more songs to come – and the first one is from 1993: Walking In My Shoes - again with a new intro and basically in a slightly different version than 2013. There is something going on in the background: we can see another video by Anton Corbijn and unlike the strange Enjoy The Silence clip, this is a very strong one! We can see a man who is dressing as a woman – I bet, it's not that easy to walk in his shoes - not in the proper sense and not in the figurative one.

Now – finally – it's time for something, that was probably the most moving and touching moment of the whole night. A big, black flag in the background, „Klimper-Bernd“ picked the bass guitar again and a programmed drum beat kicked in. Martin and his guitar cuts in and then Dave started singing:

I, I will be King
And you, you will be Queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be heroes just for one day

When I first listened to this amazing interpretation of this great David Bowie song in Stockholm, I immediately started crying like a child. There are my personal „Heroes“  just in front of me performing such a stunning version of of song by another hero who died way to soon. I felt so sad and so touched at the same time, feeling embraced by those beautiful sounds. The Depeche Mode version of „Heroes“ isn't a complete different one – the band managed to perform it as a homage to one of the greatest musicians of all time and added just a little electronic spice to it. Believe it or not, just by writing down these lines and recalling the moment, I feel like I could cry again. Thank you for so many magic moments in my life, Depeche Mode – and thank you for adding such a special one with this cover version.

After a performance, that left me breathless, David returned to the party mode with the inevitable I Feel You. I really love the song, but I prefer listening to it at home – maybe I listened to it way too much in the 90s ;) But anyway: Great version, absolutely on point and a very vibrant performance of good ol' Dave.

Now there was just one last song missing and I bet, the most people in the audience already had an idea what was coming up: Sure – it's Personal Jesus. I am not quite sure what to think about putting this tune at the very end of the concert – why not Everything Counts guys? I looked around: Happy, singing, clapping faces everywhere! Okay, Depeche Mode – maybe it's the right decision to end the concert with Personal Jesus. Maybe you’re right.

Once more we were able to see how much fun those five guys had on stage. And this thing makes me very happy – they are enjoying the concerts in 2017! They laugh, they talk to each other and even Fletch is involved – back in 2013 it sometimes looked as if there was some kind of ice age between Dave and Andy.

After Personal Jesus, our personal heroes waved to the audience for a last time and then disappeared into the night.  Thanks for a very good and entertaining evening, Depeche Mode. And hey – thank you, Nice for letting us walk all the way back to the beach, because there was just a handful of busses shuttling. It was a quite unusual location – with a band in a very good mood, a (in my opinion) pretty cool setlist (okay, it's exactly the same one as the played the previous nights), with too few toilets and beer stands and to pricey drinks. Did I miss something? Oh, of course: It was way to silent, especially in the beginning of the concert. Pump up the volume, guys ;)

Carsten - 2nd from right

In the end it was a very special night with the band who are responsible for the soundtrack of my life and with some of my very best friends. Nice, France – we'll return, I promise! Or as Dave Gahan would probably say: See You Next Time!!