Sunday, 28 January 2018

LIVE REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE, METROPOL ARENA, BORDEAUX, 24 JANUARY 2018

Today's review comes courtesy of Benjamin Ubu from Nantes, France who runs the superb blog weirdsound.net . As well as this review, you can also find another review on his site and, even though my French is rusty at best, it's a review worth reading if you can. This one is great too - it really captures the vibe of the show. I'd read a lot of positive reports on Home and elsewhere and Benjamin's review backs that up. Thanks very much for this Benjamin and thanks as ever to Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group for the pictures.


Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

Hi everyone, I’m Benjamin, a French fan of Depeche Mode. It is the third time I’m seeing them this year, and I had a blast every time. Thank you very much to David, who gives me the opportunity to write here. It’s a great honor to me, so I’m going to try and tell the story of this wonderful music night the best I can. A big thank you also to Enguerrand Lavaud a friend and capable translator, who prepared this version of the article using his best English.

It’s 2 in the morning and I don’t feel like sleeping. I’m in Bordeaux France, I drove 400 kilometers in a day and it’s raining. As I am writing those words in the room of a cheap hotel that’s built on the edge of the highway, bothered by the noise of the truck’s engines and by my neighbors that I can hear through the paper-thin walls, It looks like I should have a nervous breakdown and stay in bed.

And yet, I feel like the king of the world or even and emperor! Tonight for the second time in 6 month I’ve crossed path with Depeche Mode. And in spite of the late hour I’d really like to talk to you about this encounter!


Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group


I’ve put my daily grind on hold, and I became once again a child, rediscovering the thrill of earing one of his favorite bands: Depeche Mode.

And it was a F-U-C-K-I-N-G pleasure! So now I  intend to share it all with you: so don’t refuse this present !

Everything started several months ago, when a certain Elodie, reached by yours truly, sends me two seats (well positioned I should add) for the 24th of January 2018 Depeche Mode concert at the Bordeaux Metropole Arena, a brand new shiny venue which had the privilege to be inaugurated by Dave, Martin and Andy.

Weeks are passing, and I’m trying, without success, to receive the green light for a picture with the band, or even better to meet them (I’m kind of an optimistic). The 24 January morning soon is here!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group


We drive for three hours to Bordeaux. Fun fact, we practically had to cancel our journey because we didn’t have the proper mean of payment at the highway toll. But Dave and Martin where looking upon us, so we were able to reach Bordeaux without any other trouble.

As we reach the new Arena, we are left breathless, it is an impressive venue. The inside of the venue is great, hope the locals will use it well! 

The wait is starting…the opening act is a young person with a pleasant voice, she delivers a solid performance although a little conventional to my taste. We are enjoying her phrasing that sounds a bit like Patti Smith, but the similarity goes no further. As she leaves the stage, my tiny sensitive heart his beating faster than ever, I now what’s going to happen in a minute.. 

Just as for their Paris concert in July, a short film promoting the charity the Spirit tour is supporting is shown, It must be meant to remind us that or presence is contributing to a good cause. Then a quick excerpt of the Beatles' Revolution is played as a prelude to Depeche Mode's arrival on stage.

The lights are turned down and in the dark, we are still able to see that the band has arrived, greeted by a general cheering of the crowd, the girls behind me are happily yelling for good measure. I have never had this effect on woman, I assure you it’s daunting! Depeche Mode Starts the gig by the tune Going Backwards, one of my favorite on the Spirit LP.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

To my surprise and for my greatest joy, to following tune is the wonderful It’s No Good! Masterfully delivered by a Dave Gahan obviously at the top of his game. The essential Barrel Of A Gun follows, always very powerful live. 

They keep on rockin with A Pain That I’m Used To (from the LP Playing The Angel), the talented guitarist and composer of most of Depeche Mode songs, Martin Gore, is taking the mic for the backing vocals. Then comes Useless (featured on the Ultra LP). The image on the screen freezes and Dave cracks a joke about the incident before he performs this beautiful song loaded with meaning.

Precious is next, with an unusual musical arrangement, very rock’n roll, that suits the song very well. Dave and Martin seem to be reading my mind since they proceed to a classic of Depeche Mode: World In My Eyes, which is simply gorgeous! Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful moments of the concert.

But stay tuned! They follow with , a great number featured on Spirit,  the enjoyment doubled by the video clip in which we can see Dave play a strange cosmonaut. The songs reveal all its emotional potential, definitely a terrific song.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group


Now let’s go straight to the song Home, where Martin Gore is offering us a beautiful rendition of this classic from Depeche Mode’s catalogue. I’m really enjoying the vocals of Martin on this last one. Dave then returning for In Your Room always very exciting.

The hit song from Spirit, Where’s the Revolution is finally here, the chorus is being sung as one person by the thousands of happy fans here tonight! At this stage, I owe it to the reader to confess that I am not neutral anymore! After an hour long of music I was already on another planet, but given Dave, Martin and Andy’s energy on stage, we were still getting our money’s worth…

With a really techno sounding intro, Everything Counts arrives without a warning! The crowd’s fervor is now going up a notch, and so does the heat in the arena. But be ready for the rest of the program:  Stripped-  this gorgeous tune that I listen to virtually everyday is being disclosed, and let me tell you,…it doesn’t get any better, I close my eyes and let myself be carried by the music, I hope I remember it until the day I die. As usual it brought me to tears!

You’ll agree with me when I say we already reached a musical orgasm won’t you? But behold, the party isn’t over yet!A n immortal number, dare I say it, the masterpiece of Depeche Mode, is now being launched: Enjoy The Silence! It's a splendid longer version. I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack, but you know what, I don’t care!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group


We are already knocked out plain and simple, Dave and Martin set up to finish the job by throwing at us Never Let Me Down Again… who could remain insensitive to this song ? But we are starting to feel the end of the concert is getting closer… Two hours have passed without us noticing. The band is now leaving the stage, but since we are a couple of smarty-pants, we wait for the encore.

Martin Gore is the first to come back, supported by one musician on the piano, he sings Strangelove. It’s simply beautiful, even the girls behind me have stopped yelling. The rest of the band is now coming back as well, and there they go with Walking In My Shoes, which rings-out…I'm in seventh heaven.

Depeche Mode finishes the concert with two very famous numbers, that have been standing-out in their catalogue for years, A Question Of Time and Personal Jesus! What more could we ask for!? It was a monumental concert!

We leave the venue, surrounded by fulfilled people, we pick up the setlist from the sound engineer, who were at their best tonight. Thanks to you gentlemen. I am a little sad thinking that it is already over, but we’ll have a chance to see them again in July at the Beauregard Festival in Normandy.

Simply happy, we are heading back to our hotel. Depeche Mode is way more than a simple band, in just about an evening they had me forget my daily worries. Once again this communion with them reminded me how important they were to me. Nonetheless, we were 11 000 in this arena tonight, and I think I can safely say that 11 000 people went to bed with a smile on their face tonight.

In any case, this is a nice token of Franco-British friendship, David we can do it again any time !

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Merci Banjamin!


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