Thursday 27 July 2017


Well that's been an interesting few months. 

When I first had the idea of getting together reviews for every gig on the tour, I somehow thought that would be straightforward as, at the time of thinking it, the Global Spirit Tour Project (hereafter referred to as the Project as you would not believe how bored I am of typing that phrase) didn't exist. Once I posted the blog idea in April, it became very real and I wondered what I had done. At the point, all we had were the 1st leg gigs...and then they announced more. And more. And more again. Bloody hell.

Thankfully, so many people wanted to take part that I actually had to refuse a few folk which I felt bad about. The fact that all of you wanted to give up your time to essentially do my job for me was incredible and I owe you all big time. The purpose of this post is to say thank you. 

Writers wise then, thanks a million to: Kevin May, Linda Meijer, Carsten Drees, Nikola Pokupec, Panos Sialakas, Rachel Blackman, Conkan Larsson, Daniel Cassus, Jane Cotton, Martin Sernestrand, Stuart Cowan, Michael Lyons, Paul Embleton, Stephen Lawson, Amanda Stock, Lynsey Halliday, Dave Dunton, David Cartwright, Bev Maxey, Tim Sowdon, Alex Ferguson, Robbie Sargent, Niggels Uhlenbruch, Jan Cvengros, Nikolay Sabev, Dan Turner, Chris Snoddon, Ana Soto, Mike Cooper, Mark Henderson, Brian Christopher, Yvette Trubuil, Polina Lipezina, Mariah Perezhogina, Natalie Gladkaya and Peter Fenn for all their wonderful contributions.

A special thanks too to Nastia Enavigo who was all set to write about Minsk before the gig was sadly cancelled. Let's hope it's rescheduled so that Nastia gets her turn.

Thanks also to everyone I've met on the first leg, starting with the warm up at the Barrowlands, as it's been so cool to put faces to internet names. It's also been amazing to have people come up and say hello when they recognise the blog logo on the t-shirt. No-one's attacked me yet so I guess it's all going ok. Come and say hi in Dublin, Manchester, Paris and Amsterdam too.

So that's that for the first leg of both the tour and the Project. I'll be back in August and I hope you will be too. There are still a few vacancies for the remaining tour dates, so if you fancy writing a review get in touch. At the end of the tour, ten reviewers will be drawn at random and they will receive and exclusive blog t-shirt. If that doesn't tempt you I don't know what will. 

See you in August. Until then, here are all the reviews. Bye!

May 5 Stockholm - Me

May 7 - Amsterdam - Kevin May

May 9 - Antwerp - Linda Meijer

May 12- Nice - Carsten Drees

May 14 - Lubljana - Nikola Pokupec

May 17 - Athens - Panos Sialakas

May 20 - Bratislava - Rachel Blackman

May 22 - Budapest - Rachel Blackman

May 24 - Prague - Conkan Larsson

May 27 - Leipzig - Daniel Cassus

May 29 - Lille - Jane Cotton

May 31 - Copenhagen - Martin Sernestrand

June 3 - London - Part 1 by me, Part 2 by the fans
Part 1 -
Part 2 -

June 5 - Cologne - Alex Ferguson

June 7 - Dresden - Daniel Cassus

June 9 - Munich - Robbie Sargent

June 11 - Hannover - Niggels Uhlenbruch
June 12 - Hannover - Niggels Uhlenbruch

June 18 - Zurich - Jan Cvengros

June 20 - Frankfurt - Nikolay Sabev

June 22 - Berlin - Dan Turner

June 25 - Rome - Chris Snoddon

June 27 - Milan - Ana Soto

June 29 - Bologna - Mike Cooper

July 1 - Paris - Kevin May

July 4 - Gelsenkirchen - Mark Henderson

July 6 - Bilbao - Brian Christopher

July 8 - Lisbon - Yvette Trubuil

Jule 13 - St Petersburg - Polina Lipezina

July 15 - Moscow - Mariah Perezhogina

July 17 - Minsk - Nastia Enavigo - CANCELLED

July 19 - Kiev - Natalie Gladkaya

July 21 - Warsaw - Ana Soto

July 23 - Cluj - Peter Fenn


All good things must end and on 23 July in Cluj, Romania, the first leg of the Global Spirit Tour came to an end with a spectacular gig which included Mr Gore's birthday celebrations. Peter Fenn (@PJFENN) was there and he wrote this superb review which is a fitting end to the first part of The Global Spirit Tour Project. Thank you very much for that Peter. Thanks also as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group for letting me be the fox loose in their hen house of Depeche Mode treasures.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Forgive me if I indulge. April 7 1986 -  I still have my precious ticket stub. A 3000 capacity venue in Whitley Bay and it was shamefully half full - I was one of the youngest there at 13 for my first ever concert. I will never forget the thrill of hearing those alluring strains of Black Celebration.

Our boys would visit Whitley Bay one last time before the music became truly for the masses. That grey clad set shoehorned into an iron shed in a north eastern seaside town would soon, improbably perhaps, wind its way to Pasadena and the rest is history.

That enraptured teenager didn't quite follow suit and go onto to conquer the world (instead he moved to London to become a civil servant). However, 31 years later I'm somehow in Romania, still here and barely less excited as I was back then as Revolution rings out and the boots stomp across the screen once more.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

My partner and our friend Sue ( who lives in Romania) weren't up for getting too close to the stage so I made my way fairly close on my lonesome having enjoyed some beers and a stroll to the venue with homey 'Steviemick ' and his wife Louise ( who I was lucky to meet in rain soaked Bratislava earlier in the tour). There are advantages in solo standing as it opens you up to conversation with fellow fans. It was great to spend time ( and one or two more beers ) with Romanian devotees, one or two had been to the London show so we had some collective memories to share. The ladies next to me were clutching roses for Martin, while I felt like a (very) minor celebrity as a few fans grabbed a selfie with 'the guy from London'.

There are so many highlights but this evening was an opportunity for Romania to show just what Martin and his unsurpassable songbook means to them as we shared his 56th birthday celebrations. As he ran through his mid show slot, all around me posters were held aloft and roses thrown. So much love on display, rounded off by a Gordeno backed rendition of 'happy birthday' .

The fans embraced the set from the opener but there is always a special thrill as we reach the exhilarating new intro to Everything Counts following on the heels of a blistering Wrong. Thus begins the majestic run in to the encore where all inhibitions are shed and we collectively wave, jump, sway and maybe shed a tear as the band imperiously crank out the masterpieces.

As the band take off for their breather the place erupts in chanting their name, spine tingling adoration ringing out. They return after what seemed quite some time with birthday boy opting to stay with set staple Somebody. Couples embrace, singles look on wistfully and Martin delivers once more. Perhaps the band are emboldened by knowing they are moments away from a break in the tour with I Feel You and Personal Jesus seeming more intense than ever. Dave bows down at various points as if overcome, sinews straining as he gives it everything he's got. Our heroes hug before they leave us in our exhilaration, damp with sweat and the cooling rain now falling as the sky flashes with electricity.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

So the first leg is over. The accumulated memories always rush back of course and now I have many more wonderful ones to take their place among their number. The pangs of what it felt like to huddle round the radio in anticipation of the first play of a single , bunking off school to have that new album on release day, my poor dad driving me and my mates all the way to Birmingham and back for a show. And embarrassingly, the school fancy dress day when, in homage to Martin, I went bare chested with bondage chains across my scrawny frame (improvised by removing the steel links from my mother's hanging baskets...)

But despite all that personally defining baggage, tonight feels very much like the vigorous present. Depeche Mode's triumph is to have shaken off the threat of becoming a nostalgia act with imperious surety- remaining more relevant than a band nearing its 40th birthday has any right to. And my triumph (and yours ) is to embrace them as we find them now. We've been through a lot together. In the warmth of a balmy Romanian evening I'm thinking as long as we all keep this thing going we might just be ok. 


Thanks Peter!


Ana Soto returns to the blog for her second review of the first leg following her wonderful Milan review from 27 June (here). The number of gigs Ana has been to on the first leg has made me exceptionally envious so I'm delighted she's agreed to write another review. Remember to check out Depeche Mode Mexico's Facebook page (here) as it's full of wonderful things. Thank you very much Ana for the review and the wonderful pictures and videos. 

“Warsaw you really are the best!”

Yes we know every show Dave says to the audience: “You are the best!”, and even sometimes “You really are the best!”, but this time the Polish fans earn the right to hear the complete thing: “Warsaw you really are the best!”.

It was almost easy to anticipate this level of passion for the band, just the afternoon of the day before the concert there were already the first 20 fans waiting in line for the show. And the next day the Early Entry queue had at least 600 people ready to go inside, while in other cities the EE line had 100 fans or less waiting. That says everything.

The night of July 21th inside the PGE Narodowy stadium the fans are so excited that they even sing very loud the fragment of Where’s The Revolution when the Hublot/charity:water spot is showed in the screens.

They know it’s just question of time until they finally see Depeche Mode live, almost at the end of the tour. They have been waiting their turn for more than two months.

From the first rows we see through the black mesh that hangs under the stage when Martin, Andy, Dave and their team walk across the tunnel, then everybody in the stadium yells excited, it’s like every single one could see them walking behind the stage.

Suddenly dozens of red ballons fly around the stage to say welcome to Depeche Mode. Those ballons were supposed to be used during So Much Love and Where’s The Revolution” but it seems like nobody could wait to show to the band how happy they are for having them back in Poland.

All this level of excitement is maintained throughout the concert, but when Everything Counts comes just reaches a new level. I can’t help but think that this songs make us feel for a moment that we are in 1988, inside the Rose Bowl, singing once and again “The grabbing hands, grab all they can everything counts in large amounts”.

Then during Walking In My Shoes,I again think about that legendary night of the 101 concert when for a moment Martin looks Dave straight in the eye and smiles, just like they did it 29 years ago while singing Behind The Wheel

Dave puts so much energy and passion during Walking In My Shoes that he needs to remove a lot of sweat from both eyes. Once that's done he is ready to show off his boots as he does each night - this time are the silver glitter boots.

At the end of the song, the fans sing “the new thing” (tup-turup-turup, tup-turup-turup), Dave uses the moment to take a facial tissue and carefully he cleans all the sweat around his face, then he throws it to the audience. In the front row many arms try to reach the paper, but sadly it goes straight to the floor and nobody brings home the ultimate souvenir.

Yes, this was another great show. Personally it was amazing to witness the good health and great condition of Dave Gahan. Even after seeing the videos of his performance in Kiev is hard to believe that this is the same man that just some days ago spent the night in a small bed of a very simple room at the hospital. So soon after that, he is there again being some kind of god for a couple of hours, delivering music to the masses together with Martin and the good Fletch.

See you soon again Depeche Mode!


Thank you Ana! 


After the cancellation of the Minsk show on 17 July due to Dave's gastroenteritis, there were understandable fears that this huge show in Kiev would also be put off. Thankfully, Dave made a swift recovery and was able to take to the stage in his usual inimitable style. Natalie Gladkaya from Kharkov in Ukraine was there and she was kind enough to write this excellent review for the project. Thanks so much Natalie. The usual thanks are offered too to the Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group - I've been in your photo stash again. 

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

The Power of Spirit: A Depeche Mode Show Review – NSK Olympiyskyi, Kiev, Ukraine

Early morning of July 19th in Kiev, the first fans trickling down to NSK Olympiyskyi hold their breath and cross their fingers hoping that they will not witness another Depeche Mode show being cancelled (the previous Delta Machine tour show in February 2014 in then uprising-engulfed Kiev was cancelled for safety reasons), as two nights before Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan was admitted to the hospital resulting in the Minsk show supposedly moved to a yet to be announced later date. Thankfully, in a couple of hours the show is officially confirmed, setting the growing crowd’s spirits to the usual mounting excitement of anticipation.

The anticipation, though, is a bit spoiled as the early entry ticket holders are being held at the gates for an extra hour, with the relentless midsummer sun still high above the horizon at 6 pm, and by the time the doors finally open, the queues to enter the arena stretch far out along the neighbouring streets. Some fans have trouble scanning their tickets, causing the entrances being clogged and increasing the waiting time. 

The Olympiyskyi arena is still unusually underpopulated for a Depeche Mode concert by the time the supporting act – the British-Japanese DJ Maya Jane Coles – begins her set. It doesn’t get much better in the following hour, and the last fans are able to enter the venue only 4 songs into the main show. 

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

At 9 pm, 15 minutes past the due time, the Revolution intro by The Beatles fades out, marching feet flick up on the screens, and Depeche Mode – save for one band member – finally hit the stage to a roaring cheer of the crowd. In sync with the opening chords of Going Backwards, the stage explodes in splashes of vibrant colours, and lead singer Dave Gahan emerges on a platform in the far corner of the stage, sporting an equally flashy three-piece suit with a glossy red blazer, sunglasses, and red boots. Judging by the reception, Going Backwards might not have become a fan favourite, but it sets the mood solidly and is followed by another song from the newest album, the lively midtempo So Much Love. Next comes the “twisted, tortured mess” of Barrel Of A Gun, and although it’s the same version as the 1997 single, somehow the song is reinvigorated live, completed with a surprisingly fitting touch-up of a quote from The Message by Grandmaster Flash. 

The show has now gained its momentum. We breeze through the dancing vibes of Jacques Lu Cont’s remix of A Pain That I’m Used To with Peter Gordeno on the bass into the slow and sexy Corrupt, followed by In Your Room in its original album version, not the Zephyr Mix that used to be a show regular in the previous tours. This change is completely justified – with Depeche Mode’s sombre aesthetics, it’s always the darker, the better. 

For the first time this night, the crowd goes really haywire during the tried and trusted World in My Eyes before being exposed to the ethereal magic of cinematic Cover Me, enhanced with the black and white video starring Dave Gahan as a lonely spaceman walking the Earth, reminding us he would probably make a decent actor if he wanted to. 

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

At about one-third through the concert Dave takes a break, and Martin Gore takes over the front and center of the stage for a heartfelt acoustic version of A Question of Lust, and the venue promptly goes up in thousands of little phone lights. Gore’s solo spot continues with the full band version of Home and concludes in the familiar “O-o-o-o-o-OH!” chanted by the crowd well after the song is over. 

Dave Gahan is then back to his lead singing duties with the bluesy Poison Heart and tonight’s last song from the new album, and its biggest hit, Where’s The Revolution. The latter receives perhaps the biggest welcome among the new songs since Wrong (which, incidentally, is played next), and fans are seen holding up the signs “Revolution Is Here”. 

To the amusement of the audience, Dave Gahan does a little bit of fooling around and sneaks up on Martin Gore in a horror-movie style walk, blowing an affectionate kiss to the back of Martin’s neck before booming off “Wrong!” in his deep rumbling baritone. The song marks the end of the relative “new era” part of the concert, and the band proceeds to deliver a powerful and very relevant throwback, first with Everything Counts and then with Stripped. After that, it’s a déjà vu gone by in a blur for anyone who has been to a Depeche Mode concert more than once. The only thing that changes about Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again over the years is really the screen projections – well, and shooting T-shirts, which somehow manages to be both fun and ruins the moment at the same time (probably not so much for the three lucky fans). Aside for that, all the iconic elements are there, including the cornfield wave and Dave Gahan spreading his arms in a bird-like pose, soaring on the audience’s vibes of admiration.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group
The band says a quick goodbye and rushes off the stage to a very short break before the encore part of the set, which, as most attending the show already know, is longer than usual. There is some time to catch a breath and think about how tight and organic the setlist has been so far, as a one piece carefully put together, not a single song feeling out of place or an odd choice. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect setlist – everyone wishes they would play something instead of something, and throw that one in there too, but as far as making the songs in a show work together goes, it’s a really smooth ride. 

The encore starts with Martin Gore’s gentle Somebody, then it’s back to Dave Gahan slaying it with Walking In My Shoes. After that comes the biggest surprise of the tour – the beautifully melancholic and modernized rendition of David Bowie’s "Heroes". There’s something truly unique about the moment of a song by a great David being performed by the other great David.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

It’s almost the end of the show, but Dave Gahan proves he still has it, giving a powerful and visceral performance of I Feel You. Time has slowed him down a bit, there’s that, but the amount of physical and vocal energy he puts into the shows every other night is amazing and more than enough to electrify large stadiums. A natural born rock star down to the black eyeliner, at 55 Dave Gahan still swings his hips, does his signature spin-arounds with and without the mic stand, and throws his wiry body in elegant dance moves and weird angular poses somehow with the same air of impeccability.

It’s really impossible for Depeche Mode to call it a night without the one final must on the bill. Personal Jesus comes on, uniting everyone present at the show and is over in what feels just a moment, leaving the crowd both ecstatic from a show they’ve just seen, immediately slightly hungover and wanting more. 

Depeche Mode like to say that they try to put out the best show they possibly can at any given time, and it is probably true. And it’s not only about how big and strong, technically advanced or visually spectacular their shows are. Well into the fourth decade of their music career, the band is as far from being a nostalgic act as ever. Their songs played live, no matter how far back down the catalogue, somehow never really feel dated or out of time. For two hours, Depeche Mode create their own centre of gravity where time flows in a different way, and this is where they exist, always relevant and never completely fitting in the world outside. Having released their best album in twenty years and supporting it with a show of this scale and power, they prove they still live to up to their status of one of the best live acts out, one not to be missed.


What a review! Thanks Natalie.

Thursday 20 July 2017


This review has been written by Mariah Perezhogina who lives in Moscow. Everything I've read about the show so far says it was an excellent gig and Mariah's review confirms that, giving you a real taste of what it felt like to be in the crowd that night. I think we have our first full on Dave Devotee here too - or at least the first person to write about it! One of the really cool things about this project has been the amount of interest people have had in writing for it and Mariah's blog is as good example as any of why I'm enjoying this. Thanks very much Mariah. Thanks once again too to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook group who are not only dealing with the increased attention following Michael Rose's great Takeover day, but are also having to put up with my continually pilfering pics.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Holy Communion In Moscow 15.07.2017

This Saturday was perfect for the show. Warm enough, a little cloudy, meaning that people came to the stadium to queue in the morning. I was there at 2 PM and my number was… 271. 

Everything was well organized. The crew was friendly, helpful, we enjoyed every single minute. 

For the moment DM came to the stage - at 8.30 – the atmosphere of friendship and pure delight was everywhere. Even among security. People of different ages attended fan-zone, talking to each other before the performance. And then the show began…

As is now traditional on this tour, the show started with the leisurely pace of Going Backwards. The crowd burst into screams from the first note. DM had their classic very-serious-look. “Red-shoed” and “crimson-jacketed” Dave, appeared at the stage. The mood of Going Backwards and its bright culmination perfectly led to the So Much Love. To my mind, (after having attended almost 30 Depeche live performances) the sound on the stadium Otkrytie Arena was the best. Even in the fan-zone.

So Much Love. Right. Very rousing. “Unjacketed” Dave drives everyone crazy. And we love the way he moves for us tonight)) So much love around – nothing else to say. Just… “Thank you! Hello, Moscow!” I always appreciated the fact DM never say a word in other languages. Kind of “thank you” or “hello”. Always in English. I do respect it.

The videos made for these two songs were incredible  - both very stylish concepts.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

After a couple of new songs, the 20-year-old Barrel Of A Gun arrives. True fans went absolutely bananas. Hard, emotional with Dave showing his excellent shape! A Pain That I’m Used To seems aq logical song to follow BOAG. After that, the crowd is ready – time to serve up something special. Next dish is on the go: delicious and sexy Corrupt and In Your Room. The most difficult thing is to decide whether to look at the band (at Dave mostly) or at the screen with IYR's passionate and sensual video showing the dancing couple.

One of the most recognizable songs – World In My Eyes – such a lively hit helps to forget about the tears in my eyes (after In Your Room don’t judge me). I wish Dave could be my personal dance coach…

Everybody was really excited about Cover Me. The video connects with the good old themes of Enjoy The Silence, the song with its increasing tension, stadium full of lights… absolute joy for us.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group

We then came to the traditional Martin slow part: time-proved touching and warming ballads A Question of Lust  and Home. Comments not needed. The stadium holds its breath, thousands of lights still burning (45 000 people came to the show so imagine) while the sky is getting dark. Martin’s shy smile is priceless. Later when we were following the crowd to the metro station, this huge crowd was singing Home. Significant.

“Scarlet-waistcoated” Dave comes back with a Poison Heart and Where’s The Revolution. Fans prepared big and small red flags for WTR. Some hold their cell phones up with red screens. Even some girls were wearing red shirts. I’m not sure Dave had an opportunity to appreciate the preparations… He was far back on the stage at the screen. 

After that it was time for rock action – Wrong. Explosion. Great to hear this masterpiece from 2009. Performing was passionate as… never. Fan-zone went totally crazy. Everything Counts finished us off! People didn’t try to record, they were dancing. I’ve never seen so many people dancing together. Respectable gentlemen were shaking their hands and butts – can you imagine?)

Stripped. Dave unfortunately didn’t let us see him stripped down to his pants. I always wanted to know: how many people sing “Let me see you stripped down to the balls”? Am I the only one? Anyone else?

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

The predictable classics Enjoy The Silence and Never Let Me Down Again didn’t let us down of course. And we didn’t let DM down too. Despite the fact they were tired – it was obvious – the energy flew like water from the stage. Dave was everywhere: next to every member of the band, at the screen, on the runway. Three  T-shirt gun shots from the runway – three happy and proud possessors of special T-shirts.

Somebody. Martin’s voice is hypnotizing, seriously. Moment of magic, you find it hard to breathe with this song. The guy standing next to me started shouting: “It’s my wedding song! We will dance at our wedding next week!! To this song!!!” Well, congratulations, what could I say.

That was followed by "Heroes"  which Dave sang perfectly. He made this gesture... Like to keep calm. Not to scream. He wanted silence. And in the end... It started raining. Dave was looking into the sky... Marvelous.

I Feel You was like an orgasm for my ears. Walking In My Shoes with the video-clip - I was amazed. Personal Jesus… a killer. Warm hugs by Dave… The whole world stops, you see it like in time lapse. It that all? Finished? Maybe some more? No? Why? Ok, see you next time. Will there be a next time? Yes))

Before the performance began we had an official information about another tour date announced – 02/25/2018. We are going to have one more show in Moscow. Just imagine our happiness!


Thank you so much Mariah.

Wednesday 19 July 2017


After a quick post festival break, Depeche Mode returned to live action at St Petersburg's SKK in front of a capacity sold out crowd of 25,000. Polina Lipezina was there and she wrote this great review for The Global Spirit Tour Project. Thanks very much to Polina for this and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group for letting me run riot with their hard work.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

It seems like there is more emotion than a detailed concert description down here! It’s a pretty strange contradiction: I don’t really like St Petersburg much, but the opposite is true when it comes to the concerts in this city. On the Delta Machine tour my favourite concert ended up right in this place. This Thursday, July 13th, it was really warm in St Petersburg and that was great news for all of us who came to the concert early in the morning. We were relaxing on the grass, talking about everything in the world, sometimes connecting things to what we all came for: Depeche Mode. Despite having early entrance tickets, we ended up really exhausted due to the slow and horrible delays getting into the venue. Eventually, we finally entered the concert hall, to be greeted by quite a surprise. Having entered an indoor area, no one would ever imagine that you might need an umbrella and raincoats… this time they were a must! The rain, that had started outside, had soaked through the roof into the concert hall 30 minutes after the crowd was let inside. The roof was leaking! It was embarrassing and it was scary because it could have caused the concert to be cancelled. I hope with their future tours Depeche Mode will never use this horrendous concert hall! I doubt there will be any repairs or changes done to it anyway. But let us return to the main part happening inside this piece of Soviet architecture…

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

After a wait of approximately 1 and a half hours after the crowd was let in, Maya Jane Coles walked onto the stage, playing on this tour for the first time. During the concert in this venue on the Delta Machine tour, the crowd kept shouting out “Depeche Mode!” during the warm-up, which was pretty disrespectful towards the warm-up band. This evening, they were better behaved. Maya was radiating with light and love towards everything she does. Whatever she did made you close your eyes and dissolve in sounds. In some moments, I caught myself thinking that I didn’t want it to end. On this tour I heard all the warm-up bands, except for Horrors, fell in love with Algiers, but Maya… I cannot state as a fact that Maya was better than Algiers, they are all different and cool, but on July the 13th she gave us 40 minutes of awesomeness.

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
Despite that, later on we had a much bigger thing to come. I know that for some people the centre of attraction is Martin. They cannot take their eyes off him for two hours straight, following his guitar swapping and his keyboard playing for the whole show.  For me though,  the hero, this center of attraction, unsurprisingly, is Dave. But St Petersburg has changed everything this time. This is the first concert where I saw not only Dave on stage, and this is surprising. It’s surprising for myself. I was standing right across from Martin and he looked incredible. Everything he was doing was with great love (yes, that’s a revelation to me). David was amazing of course. He was obviously in high spirits, I’ve never seen him smile so much!. But I have to point out that there were less pole dances and other wigglings… There was a tape on Dave’s lower back… Please get well! 

Courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
From the point where I was standing, I could also see Jez’s work, who diligently tuned guitars and additionally swapped them for Martin. At one point,  Kessler and then Jennifer showed up. Sometimes it’s really interesting to look inside the little corner of the band’s world, even though you’re just standing in a fan zone. The Setlist didn’t bring any surprises (could there be any on the final 6 tour concerts?), but is anyone upset by that? There were a couple of moments I’d like to point out. First was Dave’s catwalk scene during Everything Counts  where he was tapping with his foot to the rhythm of the drums, just like in Just Can't Get Enough on the previous tour. Has it happened even before this time? Sccondly,  in the fan zone there was a girl who that night came to Depeche Mode concert for the first time. She said, it was long awaited dream - during Going Backwards she was standing full of tears… Dreams do come true.


Thank you very much Polina. 

Wednesday 12 July 2017


Depeche Mode's second festival headline slot of the Global Spirit Tour took them to Lisbon for the NOS Alive Festival which also featured the likes of Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes and the XX. A diverse line up but there's only one real winner there ;) Yvette Trubuill from Birmingham was there to review the gig for the blog and unfortunately, the show she saw was beset with a few sound and visual issues. I guess that's the downside of a festival perhaps. One thing I wanted to capture in this series is the full range of experiences a concert goer gets and, like Rachel's Bratislava post (here), Yvette's lets us see the other side of the likes of my usual "Oh my God best band ever" nonsense! Thanks very much for the great read Yvette and enjoy Warsaw. Thanks too as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group for letting me roam their archives stealing pictures.

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Saturday in Lisbon started out grey and overcast but still warm, a perfect day to go and see Depeche Mode. Seeing Depeche Mode in glaring sunshine really does not seem right. 

We got to NOS Alive at about 5pm and wandered around. There didn't seem to be many Depeche Mode fans around at this point just the odd person in a t-shirt. At around 6.30 we spotted Kessler and an entourage appear through a backstage gate and walk off into the crowd. Probably off looking for counterfeit t-shirts!!

As the evening wore on and the sun went down it became more noticeable that Depeche Mode were there. More and more black clad people were appearing and the DM t-shirts were much more apparent.

Imagine Dragons were the last band before DM and the singer, Dan Reynolds, told the crowd what an honour it was to play on the same stage as 'the greatest band in the world'. He cited DM as being an influence on the band. I thought this was a lovely gesture and befitting Depeche Mode's status as an influential band. Imagine Dragons were very popular among the crowd especially the younger members so as they came off stage there was a massive retreat of people. So we decided to move forward to try to get a good viewing point. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook group

I'm just over 5' tall so getting a spot to see clearly is always difficult. We walked down the right hand side of the crowd and worked our way in and found the perfect spot where I could see clearly without having to rely on the screens. The excitement was building.... just 10 mins to go... Revolution started and we were getting closer....

Depeche Mode walked out on stage and the place erupted! Going Backwards started up and so did the most vomit inducing bass line. It completely drained out Dave's voice and everything but the drums. Thought at first it was just sound teething problems but when Barrel of a Gun started it got worse. Dave's vocal was completely lost and the bass was making me feel quite ill so we decided to move and headed a bit more into the centre to see if the sound improved. 

Moving improved the sound slightly but I gave up my clear view and was now relying on the screens. A Pain that I'm Used To was so much better sound wise although the bass problems were still evident. It was at this point that it became very obvious that the live screens were actually running slightly behind the band. While this can lead to some funny moments it can also be very frustrating to someone relying on them to watch the band. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

In Your Room and World In My Eyes were faultless as ever. Cover Me was superb, it's my favourite song from Spirit, so I was really pleased that they'd kept it in for the shortened set. Dave's vocal was spot on again. Then it was Martin's turn - I had my fingers crossed for Judas and I got it. It was fantastic, loved every second of it This was the first song that the sound was perfect and didn't have the horrendous bass drowning out parts of it for obvious reasons. It was superb and I was so glad he sang it. 

I'm sure everyone knows it was Fletch's birthday so we all sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday at this point and he seemed very happy about it. The whole band were full of smiles, they all seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves. 

Where's the Revolution is better live than on record I think, and once again was great. Dave really seems to enjoy singing it and the crowd really got behind him too. I suppose with every shortened set list there will be something that you wish was included instead of what was chosen and I would have preferred Corrupt to Wrong. I've never been the biggest fan of Wrong to be honest, but it makes perfect sense to leave a single release in rather than an album track when you are playing a festival. I can't fault the delivery of it though. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Everything Counts, Stripped, Enjoy the Silence and Never Let Me Down Again - these were the ones that most people are waiting for and they didn't disappoint. The crowd were singing along and giving it their all. There obviously were a lot of people who were not there for Depeche Mode, that's the nature of a festival, but they caught on to the arm waving during NLMDA quickly enough and made it feel like a gig full of Devotees.

Encore time: Martin gave another superb performance of Home, giving it his all as always. The screen film for Walking In My Shoes is fantastic on this tour, it's so good in fact that I find myself watching it rather than Depeche Mode themselves. A perfect film for this song with the perfect sentiment. Then we had the stomping finale of I Feel You and Personal Jesus. I love how they decided to play Personal Jesus as it was meant to be. The loss of the extended beginning is for me a plus. And then they were gone......

Depeche Mode were fantastic but the bass sound problems, which continued throughout the performance, and the screens running slower disappointed me. I have watched the show again and the sound problems are not obvious. It may have been just where we were standing but there was definitely a problem with the right hand speaker stack. It sounded like someone was beatboxing over most of the performance. It is however obvious on full views of the stage that the screens were lagging and for someone like me who relies on the screens it is frustrating. These problems put a downer on the show for me which is a shame but I was still glad to have been there and seen Depeche Mode again. 

On the way back to the hotel I got a text from a Portuguese friend who was working on the smaller Heinekin stage to say he had managed to get backstage on the large stage that DM played on and got me a setlist which me very happy. 

Yvette's setlist

My next show will be Warsaw where I have a seated ticket and so will hopefully have a clear view at last.


Thanks very much Yvette.

Tuesday 11 July 2017


Today's review comes courtesy of Brian Doyle from Dublin who spent what seems to have been a wonderful weekend at Bilbao's BBK Festival, one night of which saw Depeche Mode headlining. Brian is a member of the rather wonderful Amalgamated Wonders Of The World whose dark electronic ambient meets drone music you really must check out - . Thanks very much to Brian for this great review and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook group for letting me grab their pictures for my benefit. 

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

Arrived in Bilbao Wednesday evening, Depeche scheduled to play Main Stage Thursday night, the first of three nights at Bilbao’s annual music festival, capacity 35,000, 12,000 of which are camping, and has been running since 2006. Taxi from the airport directly to the gates of the Boutique Camping 400 metres at the top of a mountain overlooking the BBK Live Festival and the beautiful Bilbao Valley.

Wednesday night was chats and whisky with some very pleasant festival goers from Tel-Aviv, Tennessee plus two young American Air Force guys, all excited about seeing Depeche Mode for the first time. They quickly organised and officially anointed me DM#1 as I have been to every tour since Black Celebration and I know ALL the words. We bonded & vowed to get close to the stage, enough to see the white of their eyes. Crowned.

Thursday we availed ourselves of the free bus service from the top of the mountain to the city below for a walk around Bilbao and in particular to see the Guggenheim Museum where Jeff Koon’s ‘Puppy’ was on guard outside and watched every morsel we ate for lunch in the glorious warmth of the northern Spanish sun. After a refreshing cold shower and beer back on the top of the mountain we entered the venue around 6pm and found a sweet spot in dappled sunlight under the trees at the rave in the woods where Honey Soundsystem were playing big lazy beats and expectant tripped out sounds. We built sculptures from branches and twigs before heading off to check out Austra, checked out of Austra and had some tasty foods and another beer from the multitude of queueless convenient bars.

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group

I had patrolled the venue earlier that evening to listen for a good position to hear DM from, preferably were we could also see the stage. All stages at the festival are without doubt the loudest I have ever experienced and I did not want my DM with any overspill of noise from other stage. Location location location secured, we waited for the night to fall and just as the last of the rose tinted sky faded to black the band came on. We were one third away from the stage slightly Fletch side. The side screens were out of synch with the sound so I avoided looking at them and focused on the stage. The band were in top form by the third song and the new projections were all fantastic. The set list is infamous to all at this stage but I love each and every moment. I had avoided ALL spoilers so was well surprised. The festival crowd are used to listening to and watching a wide variety of other acts and reacted to every word, beat, wiggle, wave, touch, crotch grab, rabbit, chicken, spaceman and transsexual as you would presume an expectant audience would. Ecstatic.

The set was tight and lean with some exclusions from their regular show as is common at a festival. Highlight for me was perhaps Everything Counts, perfect explosive music for midnight at a festival, plus all the standards updated and well executed. Our five year old son asks me to sing him to sleep with Somebody which I have done all his life. Enjoy The Silence is a reminder of a bout of narcissism I was once proud of. I Feel You is simply an all-time all time live favourite. The songs played tonight from the latest album are pure and honest, even important, and sound as such. Without religion we need all the considered and thoughtful parables one can muster in preparation for ‘the world we live in and life in general’. Depeche Mode deliver, they are possibly the best they have ever sounded in my humble opinion, psychedelic can finally be surely and truly added to Depeche Mode’s amassed collection of genre allocations. My clearest memory of the show, my take home postcard souvenir is of a red and green hungry pig staring at me, staring like I was a rasher, or a rasher lover, I cannot be certain, but he was on to me for sure.

Pic courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos Facebook Group
We scored big time at the rave in the woods just after DM ended and the rest is superstars.

The Avalanches were top fun, Justice had their problems but blew me away regardless, Gus Gus were to die for, and finally, for that first of three nights, The Black Madonna played an acapella version of the almost perfect Cover Me and once again we were floating in space.

Day Two: I know, right!?! After a quiet restful day on a picnic blanket napping under the trees Fleet Foxes at 8pm took us back to a warm and loving Woodstock for a bit, The Killers played their songs, Royal Blood proved they are real royalty and finally just before 2am Trentemoller provided another perfect festival moment with his new show sounding more like The Cure than The Cure do. His band play a blistering tripped out combo of riffs from I Feel You into Personal Jesus with a touch of Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime. Complete. Thick mist descends on the mountain festival and we make our weary but wired way back to Boutique Camping in zero visibility. Final beer and a smoke as warped DJ sounds of Sylvester & Human League waft up the valley. Heaven.

The Mist

Day Three: Awake with Depeche Mode on my mind. Spend the overcast day with Depeche Mode on my mind. WTF just happened!?! How, when and where can I see them again ASAP!?! But the legend that is Brian Wilson in the evening sun distracts me away from DM dreams to actually living the dream, Brian announces “this is the best song I ever wrote” and God Only Knows reminds how privileged we all are with our city skipping country hopping festival tripping lives. This bliss is sustained throughout Andrew Weatherall’s immaculate set and Die Antwoord on the Main Stage at 2am takes me right back to fond memories of early days of rave and first highs with their explosive retro futuristic bombastic act before finally succumbing again to the gospel according to Andrew Weatherall. Amen.

To my travelling companions, my friends –

Thanks KateKate for being my Somebody.

Thanks Caomhan & Thiago for Having Big Fun.


Thanks very much again Brian. Remember to go and check out Amalgamated Wonders Of The World 

Sunday 9 July 2017


A huge indoor Depeche show in Germany is only ever going to be a good thing and the Veltins Arena is a place made for a gig on the Global Spirit Tour. Mark Henderson is today's guest reviewer and he's written a wonderful blog - make sure you go and tell him how much you loved in on Twitter where you'll find him hiding as @MNH1974 . It seems that Mark's trip was destined to be a good one the second he checked into a rather special hotel room. Thanks very much Mark.

Photo courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook group

The background 

By way of a very short introduction, I’ve been a DM fan since 1990, with my first show being the band’s final performance of World Violation on 27 Nov 1990 at Birmingham. I’ve seen on every tour since, but only on the Delta Machine Tour did I finally manage to a) see them in mainland Europe (at Stade de France), and b) see them more than once on a tour. That’s something I was determined to repeat on the current tour. 

The (bad) planning 

My wife isn’t a fan, so last October I asked my usual “gig partner” if he fancied a DM Euro trip. Despite him not being a DM fan, or even knowing many songs, he kindly agreed, and we settled on Paris as our destination (easy to get to, somewhere he hadn’t been before). Having booked tickets and flights, he then realised he couldn’t attend the show after all! However, he still wanted to go somewhere, so I booked tickets for Gelsenkirchen - the show after Paris. Lucky me, two shows instead of one - it would entail a rather busier few days than I’d planned, but so what, it’s Depeche Mode, right...? 

The build-up 

Having returned from Paris (amazing show) on the Sunday night, we flew out to Dusseldorf on Monday evening. Being given Room 101 at our hotel was certainly a positive start! 

After a moderately quiet evening, we then took the train to Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday lunchtime, arriving there early afternoon. Following a relaxing couple of beers in our hotel terrace garden, we set off to find a bar in town to sink a few more before show time. Gelsenkirchen has bars and restaurants, but (with the greatest of respect) it isn’t exactly in the league of Dusseldorf (aka “the longest bar in the world”). However, within 5 minutes, we noticed a small bar up a side street near the main train station...and much to my excitement, there were DM fans standing outside. We made straight for it. I think this bar is called “Rosi” and is situated on the corner of Weberstrasse; it’s quite small but cool, and they were playing DM songs continuously. We ordered beers and soaked up the atmosphere as more fans arrived. One or two had specially-made t-shirts (e.g. “Schalke04 101”) and the excitement was palpable. About an hour had passed when one fan told me “nice shirt”, in reference to my 1993 Devotional t-shirt; thankfully, he spoke excellent English and we had a nice chat. Tom (or Thom?) was originally from Gelsenkirchen and was justifiably pleased that DM were finally performing in his home town. 

Mark on right


After a few more drinks, we made our way to the stadium (which was easy - on the 302 service, and our hotel even gave us free transport passes). We arrived at the Veltins Arena at round 7pm. I was a little surprised that there weren’t many pop-up bars outside, and had to queue for quite some time to get drinks. However, the access through security etc. was very smooth, and we took our places in the general standing area at around 8pm. I liked this stadium – it’s big but had quite an intimate feel, and having a roof helped with the lightshow. I’ve also noticed that there seems to be more thought going into how well fans can see the stage – so there were certain seating sections not being used at the back (also the case in Paris). 

The floor area was filling up nicely (we were further back than in Paris, slight shame but no big deal). Algiers had already begun performing – maybe it was our distance from the stage but they didn’t seem to connect quite as well as in Paris. I liked them, though – very confident performers and the singer has a powerful voice. 

The stadium continued to fill up, and the Charity Water / Hublot video appeared; the cheers went up. I was then asked again about my t-shirt, by a nice lady who enquired what year it was from (I always thought Dave’s long hair gives a good clue..?) Then the techno songs helped to build up the crowd to fever pitch until round 8:50pm, when the Beatles Revolution kicked in (when I first heard this song was being used, I had misgivings, but I actually enjoyed it – if anything, it acts like a “last call” for any fans not yet in the arena). 

Mark and that t-shirt - left

The show 

I doubt I could ever truly do justice to what may have been the best concert I have ever been to. The show itself wasn’t necessarily any better than Paris, but the crowd here were like none I’ve ever experienced before. From the opening beats of the intro, it seemed like the whole crowd were on their feet – at some other gigs you might see the fans in seats dancing after, maybe, the halfway point, but here they were up from the start and just never sat down! There were even girls sitting on friends’ shoulders near us. My dream of experiencing a German crowd had come true and they definitely did not disappoint! 

Much has already been written about the setlist, songs, etc, so at the risk of repeating anything, here are some brief thoughts:- 

· Intro: the beats, then the bass kicks in....just perfect – simple but so effective. 

· Going Backwards: I love how Dave pops up on his balcony. Proper showmanship. This is such a good opener, their best in years I think. 

· So Much Love: good choice from the album, which keeps the momentum going. 

· Barrel Of A Gun: an example of how confident they are in what (I think) is a pretty great setlist – it ebbs and flows, with faster and slower songs. Same goes for Wrong and..... 

· ....Corrupt: such a curveball, in a way. Putting the final album track from 2 records ago into a new set? Hell, why not, it’s a great tune 

· In Your Room: at last, the best version, hurray! 

· World In My Eyes: love the new intro and the whole song sounds better, more “electronic” than on the last couple of tours. 

· Cover Me: love the album version, but takes on a whole new vibe in the live arena. One of those songs where, towards the climax, you feel something really magical is happening, like the whole crowd is “going” somewhere, if that makes sense.... 

· A Question Of Lust/Home: lovely versions, the crowd sang every word and the usual post-Home chant was tremendous. 

· Poison Heart: nice but also short enough to ensure there isn’t too much of “lull” at this stge. 

· Where’s the Revolution: I do like this song, but at this point in the show it didn’t seem to quite have the “oomph” to get it going. Maybe putting it earlier in the set might be better? 

· Everything Counts: brilliant. The new intro is wonderful. Crowd went NUTS for this. 

· Stripped/Enjoy The Silence/Never Let me Down Again: powerful crowd-pleasers. Incredible arm-waving and the t-shirt gun came out. 
· WIMS: catchy new intro is seemingly already a crowd favourite, being chanted by them after the song has quite mesmerising too. 

· "Heroes": a slow-burner but a lovely performance, with Dave blowing a kiss skywards at the end. 

· I Feel You: a good example (particularly for my rock-loving friend) of just how powerful a live act DM are. The bass and drums were absolutely off the scale and left the arena shaking. 

·Personal Jesus: awesome finish. 

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos Facebook Group

After the bows and hugs, Dave left the stage with an amusing “call me on my mobile” gesture to the crowd. 

The stage videos were pretty good, and I didn’t find them off-putting or anything; but I’m happier just watching the band, really. 

The band is on terrific form. They seem to be playing with more purpose and intensity, for example by cutting out those previously over-long instrumental parts in certain songs. They’re clearly enjoying themselves a lot – Dave is absolutely flying, in fine voice and full of energy. 

My friend thought it was the best stadium show he’d been to. Result! 

Back we went into Gelsenkirchen, and to (my new favourite bar) Rosi...quite a few fans came back for what was the local after-show party; they had a good dance while we sat outside and chilled out with a few more drinks. No idea when closing time was! 

On Wednesday we travelled back to Dusseldorf and kept the post-gig blues at bay by visiting some bars in the Altstadt that night (and into the next morning) – Dusseldorf is such a great city, whether you want cool and trendy or loud and silly... 

We flew back to Leeds on Thursday night - which rounded off a pretty intense week for me, but one which I would happily re-live again and again. 

So there you have it. This review is honest, but unashamedly positive – I’m thankful DM are still here, every gig feels special to me and I just hope there are more to come for me... 

Danke Gelsenkirchen, danke Dusseldorf, und danke Depeche Mode!


Thanks very much Mark. Yet ANOTHER gig for me to add to my must do list next tour