Monday 26 March 2018


One set of reviews that I've loved on this project have been those written by Michael Lyons. His take on the Depeche shows is always worth reading due to the, forgive the pun, insight he has. He and 3 friends including multi gig goers Andy Pollard and Glyn Tookey made the trip to Mexico for the two shows there on 11 and 13 March and this is the story what turned out to be an unsurprisingly excellent and adventure packed trip. I know you'll love this and, like me and indeed like Michael, you will wish you'd been passing when Dave and Morrissey had their chat. No doubt Dave was giving him a few tips. Thanks very much indeed for this great review Michael and the superb pictures too. 

This is not so much of a review of the first night of the Central/South American Global Spirit Tour stop at México City, more a story of adventure and misadventure as 4 friends and long-time Depeche Mode fans depart for another Global Spirit Tour concert extravaganza. 

Depeche Mode shows are always tremendous. The band do their thing with remarkable consistency and as their audiences worldwide join with them in making it all work so well, I felt compelled not to write about the concert/s as it would only be a re-hash of the previous 104 glowing reviews that make up this remarkable blogged record of the tour to date. I will of course (later) write a little on the 2 concerts we attended otherwise the trade descriptions police will be knocking on Almost Predictable’s door to arrest him and we need him to keep the content flowing all the way to 25 July. 

It was back in June 2017 when three friends and I decided that the double header set in México City was too good an opportunity to turn down. Same city double header concerts have become an increasingly rare occurrence on the modern Depeche touring calendar and with the obligatory rest day in between there's a big effort required to make these trips a reality given every day work and family commitments. So behind closed doors United Nations style negotiations began in earnest with deals struck and agreements delivered for 3 of the 4 members of our touring party while the remaining devotee spent many tough days and nights in the doghouse over the summer and the winter and only secured permission to fly a week or so before departure. Vamanos! 

So to aid group communication and the organisation of flights, accommodation and tickets, the 'Mexico Talk' WhatsApp group was established and all the planning and preparations took place there. Given none of us had been to Central America before to see the band, it is safe to say excitement levels were at record levels. 

Our plan was to spend 5 nights and 6 days in the city and make it the trip of a lifetime for a group of long-term fans. One of our party saw the band first in 1983, two of us were baptised in 1984 meaning three of us had seen the band in concert before the remaining touring companion was born! Being a relative youngster at 32, he started life on the road with Depeche during the tour of the universe. Between the 4 of us we have seen well over 400 shows in that time. For myself these Mexican shows would be number 13 and 14 on this tour having been fortunate enough to have made it to Glasgow, Berlin, Rome, Paris, London, New York, Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, Turin and Amsterdam. And with only Isle of Wight and the final shows in Berlin remaining on my schedule there's a realisation that we're nearing the end so everyone was determined to make the México trip a memorable one. 

Our touring party took off from London Heathrow on the Friday once the two Irishmen, the Scot and the Englishman had taken connecting flights and car Journeys, boarding the plane along with a whole host of the Depeche crew and band team who were heading back to work after a couple of weeks well-earned rest. The Mexican sunshine greeted us after an 11 hour flight to the Americas and upon arriving at Benito Juarez International Airport band members, crew and fans alike stood together at the luggage carousel before making their way to various hotels in the City Centre. Our party of 4 were met by 2 Mexican based devotees who provided us with essential intelligence for our stay, everything from language interpretation to safety advice, do's and don'ts, places to visit, good bars and restaurants amongst other things. However not everything would go to plan, such as the most expensive round of drinks in Depeche Mode tour history costing (after currency conversion) £6,400 after 2 credit cards were cloned and maxed out in minutes by the criminal underworld. Our WhatsApp chat had a recurring mantra for months previous 'Mexico, what could possibly go wrong?' we weren't long in finding out! The Halifax immediately credited one cards balance but the Nat West Bank weren’t playing ball with the other and it took an intervention from The Sun newspaper on returning to England before the other one got sorted. Lessons learned. 

Another quiet night - Michael, second from right

After dinner and beers to settle in on night 1, night 2 saw the group split up to visit friends, see football at Estadio Azteca and watch Phil Collins in concert. We reconvened in the City for the first of a few Depeche fan parties that were planned for the Mexican dates. Upon arriving at the club the party was in full swing and it wasn’t long before we realised how devoted the Mexican fans were. The atmosphere at the party was eclectic and if this was anything to go by we were in for a treat! 

So to Sunday and the first of the shows. We arrived at Estadio Foro Sol at around 5pm and were greeted by the incredible sight of around 100 unofficial merchandise stalls selling everything from shirts and jackets, to hip flasks and underwear, all DM branded and cheap as chips. So a good hour was spent browsing and buying before we picked up our tickets from box office and headed into the stadium. The walk in took us down the starting grid and past the spectator stands on the famous Formula 1 racing circuit. 

The first thing that struck me on entering was the sheer size of the place. It was enormous. I’ve been to shows in Europe where the crowd numbers were 60-70,000 but this looked much bigger. The sun was starting to set as we headed to hospitality for a drink. Upon returning to the floor around 30 minutes before showtime, darkness had set in and the stadium had filled, and how. It was jammed. The golden circle area was the biggest I’d ever seen and they were packed in like sardines with no wiggle room at all. Looking up to the back of the stadium, where normally you’d see some empty seats was an indication that while the official capacity may have been 65,000 with every seat taken (and I mean every seat, even high up at the back) it was clear the promoter had grossly oversold this show. Some DM staff we spoke to suggested it looked more like 80,000 and comparing it to other European shows I’d seen I’d say that was a conservative estimate. 

We were fortunate to have VIP accreditation and were led to a raised section next to the mixing desk where we had plenty of space, a staffed complimentary bar complete with portaloo. They really do think of everything eh? There were around 30 guests for night 1, most of whom stepped up onto the mixing desk to watch the show from there, we preferred to stay on the platform below where there was more space and an unobstructed view of the stage. The side screens were back and they were BIG. They helped frame the stage and I think the visual presentation works really well with them in place. 

My experience of DM shows is that within the first 30 seconds you can tell what kind of concert you’re in for. The roar of the crowd and clarity of the opening vocals are big things for me. While the Mexican crowd did not let us down, the vocals were clearly not as crystal as what they could be, I suppose we do have every high expectations and standards. The by now regular setlist was delivered with all the professionalism and power that we expect from DM and the crowd were fantastic in welcoming them back to their wonderful city. It was a superb concert and feedback from the band afterwards confirmed they were delighted with it and all was good. 

Our day off was spent sightseeing in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere and energy of the city. That night we didn’t fancy the fan party – they’re mad and you need to be ready for them! So we headed to Condesa where all the bars and restaurants are and started our night off sitting eating and drinking on the street restaurants watching the world go by. It wasn’t long before a friendly face went by and we called out to Robbo (Christian’s Drum Technician) who by chance was actually out looking for us, “I thought you might be in the Irish bar” he said, later that evening and after a few stops on route, that’s where we all ended up. There was a house band knocking out tunes, the place was filing up and it was clear this wasn’t going to be a quiet night! Once the band blasted out Personal Jesus the bar erupted and a full blown Depeche party began. They took a break only for the DJ to continue to crowd-please with 5 or 6 select songs from the 101 live release. The band returned and rocked out the last hour or so with some fantastic rock and pop classics including Enjoy The Silence, People Are People, A Question Of Time and Never Let Me Down Again. The bar was loving it and so were we, a great end to our day off and we went to bed knowing that we had another, slightly bigger DM party scheduled for tomorrow! 

On arrival at Foro Sol, more DM shopping was completed at the unofficial stalls before we retraced our steps of a couple of nights previous. The same routine followed and we found ourselves in the VIP section next to the mixing desk. The atmosphere was electric and the darkness was interrupted by the sight of a pair of walking boots onscreen, accompanied by that thumping drumbeat and the opening bars of Going Backwards. So again the atmosphere was fantastic and the opening vocals I was not expecting. Crystal clear, loud and punchy. Such a difference from the previous concert, why is that? Were we just hearing things? Alas no, turns out night 1 was plagued with technical difficulties due to poor generator power, something that was corrected for night 2 and boy was it noticeable. Four almost predictable changes were introduced, 2 Martin vocals and 2 Dave. Out went Insight, Where's The Revolution, Strangelove and A Question Of Time, in came Judas, Policy Of Truth, Somebody and I Feel You. For us, the 2nd night was an incredible show. The sound was better, the crowd were better, as noted earlier the band are always superb that goes without saying, sometimes you just have a better night and that was the case. We all loved it and a great time was had by all. 

We left the show early as Walking In My Shoes closed out in order to get a jump on the crowd getting back into the city and we arrived back at the band’s hotel around 30 seconds before they did. We did well, they had a police escort, we didn’t! We topped off the night in style at the after party which was attended by Fletch and Dave. Morrissey who was sitting outside with his band wasn’t brave enough to join in but once he went to bed his band couldn’t wait. Dave was seen chatting with him as they bumped into each other on route to and from the bathroom. Would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation! As Dave was unable to persuade the barman from keeping the bar open, we were all ushered out (residents and all!) and the party came to an end, well it was after 2am. It was a brilliant way for us to end our Mexican adventure, 2 amazing shows, 6 amazing days and a trip we’ll remember and talk about forever. 

Our final day was spent outside, eating tacos, walking them off and packing for the airport. We thought all our dramas were over until a suitcase was seen being emptied onto the floor of the hotel lobby in search of a missing passport. The case was turned upside down and inside out about 6 times. No passport. The hotel didn’t have it. The room was searched. No passport. Thoughts turned to the British Embassy. How long would it take for them to issue a new one? How much will it cost for a new flight? Will his fiancé still be his fiancé whenever he does get home? Safe to say there was more than a mild form of panic setting it. The suggestion that it may be Monday before he flies and Tuesday before he gets home didn’t go down well. “I’m deed” was the only thing he could say! One more trip to the room before taxing to the airport via the Embassy. Result. Passport found. “Where was it” we asked. He replied, “When I entered the room, I suddenly remembered where I’d put it...under the mattress for safe keeping”. Safe keeping indeed. So safe it nearly meant an extended stay in México City. 

There won’t be many more adventures of this nature with the Global Spirit Tour nearing completion. For those who have seen it – the numbers are in the millions, you know it has been amazing. For those of us who made the pilgrimage to Central America, it was all worth it, Dave made it even more special with a unique announcement during the shows “México City you really are the best!” And who can argue with him?


Thank you Michael!

Sunday 25 March 2018


The enthusiasm that has met Depeche Mode's Latin American leg of the Global Spirit Tour has been unsurprisingly incredible. The band's fans from that part of the world are rightly known for their love of the band and it's great that Depeche have played a good number of shows there this time round. Look at the crowd in that picture below for goodness sake - amazing. One of the Chilean Devotees and a fellow Depeche Mode Facebook Takeoveree is Roxana Villagran Lizana from Santiago and this is her review of the band's show in her hometown. Roxana manages to capture the spirit and intensity of the gig marvellously. Thanks for this and the pictures Roxana. 

Dave Gahan: "Santiago, you really are the best" Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos Wednesday, March 21st 2018

Dave's words of praise were the pinnacle of an intense journey, which started on the night of March 20 with a Devotee vigil outside the Stadium. A lot of friends and fans were waiting together, to get the best possible spot, near our band. And when the objective was accomplished, it was just a matter of time. 21.00 hrs sharp, the chords started to sound. It was Revolution, The Beatles, and from that point on... The magic, the crazy, the euphoria, the crying, the emotion...

It was worth the wait for the 47 thousand fans who were there. We had waited eight years to meet them again. 

Some sort of very coloured painting, and Dave's silhouette moving in the background led to Going Backwards, unleashing the excitement of the Chilean devotees. While Dave was turning around with his arms wide open, It's No Good started, and the three black and white screens lit up,  letting us saw the band for the first time. Afterwards, Barrel Of A Gun and A Pain That I'm Used To came along, where the frontman ran and danced on the walkway that went into the VIP section of the crowd.

His perfect voice and rhythmic movements continued with Useless. Andy's chords unleashed the screams of those who recognised Precious as the next song and by its end, Dave's butt was shaking front and centre in the stadium's screens. World In My Eyes came straight after and everyone started to dance along with it. Martin Gore played the emotional Insight and Home, which ended with the public singing along with the famous last notes. But the voices in Ñuñoa's place did not stop with the song, for Dave decided to keep encouraging us like an orchestra director.

Roxana in the centre

The screens showed a couple dancing, and then In Your Room was introduced, where the mic stand became Dave's dance partner (and made us girls imagine we were that stand). Dancing was left behind for a while however with Where's The Revolution. Classics Everything Counts and Stripped were sung along with loudly, until the famous synth announced Enjoy The Silence, which made everyone reach for their cellphones to immortalise the moment. The main set ended, crowned with Never Let Me Down Again.

Martin was in charge for the encore when the band returned, with an acoustic version of  Strangelove. The band's third visit to Chile ended with Personal Jesus, leaving us immensely happy. Long live Depeche Mode, and what they join, let nothing split it apart.


Thank you Roxana. 

Thursday 22 March 2018


The first review of the fourth leg of the Global Spirit Tour is in and it's a great way to kick this leg's reviews off. The review is a joint effort by Natalia Burgos from Colombia and Jimena Parra who had a home gig as she is from Lima itself. From what I've seen of the Latin American shows, each one has been special with an incredible atmosphere and this review from Natalia and Jimena illustrates that perfectly. Thank you so much for the words and pictures Natalia and Jimena.

Being in Lima, it’s definitely a privilege to see Depeche Mode.  This concert was highly awaited in Peru since the announcement of the South American leg of the Global Spirit Tour a bit more than a year ago, and that’s a very long time to wait for DM's first performance in the country since 2009. I also wanted some local input (because I'm from Colombia), so I asked Jimena Parra to join in to help me capture more details, because I'm not very good at putting things down in words and I take really lousy photos (actually I don't take any, these gigs suck all my attention and energy), so she is a great ally. 

Peru has the advantage of having very organised and active fanbases that have been persistent in spreading out the information about the band and the tour, promoting all kinds of events and celebrations to keep the devotion alive and kicking. I was very pleased to even see a DM themed exhibition called "World in my Eyes" (Jimena is one of the organisers) and even a special edition of the local drink "pisco" with beautiful Violator rose printed on the bottles. So in a nutshell, this is a pretty special place to be for a DM gig. I tip my hat to all of them.

Photo from: Biblioteca Nacional del Peru (Flickr page)

Now to really dig into the subject. When the 18th of March finally arrived, there were already people in line at the National Stadium, from different corners of the world; it was a pleasant surprise to find devotees from La Paz Bolivia - they did a 30 hour bus trip-to get to Lima! (that proves devotion, isn't it?). We also saw groups of devotees from Ecuador, Chile and Argentina and an English fan too. This event was far from being a normal concert and people were waiting patiently for it.

Photo by Jimena Parra

The queue started from early in the morning (a few people started it on Saturday) and the organisers were on top of things, so the entry went smoothly and we got right into the front rows, near Martin’s side. That was a prize position after waiting for lots of hour under the hot sun. 

The opening act was  a local band called Cementerio Inocentes, with a very interesting and loud vocalist. After this performance the Peruvian audience had to wait for an hour until the lights were turned off and the Beatles guitar riff for Revolution started to play. We all knew that we were in for a musical treat; we could see the tiny walking boots projected on the screens.

And after that, AT LAST, we had Depeche Mode on stage! The crowd was respectful, not too noisy, but Jimena and I were yelling and clapping most of the time. My goodness you don't see the Mode everyday down here! It's the opportunity of a lifetime. Out came Dave prancing for Going Backwards, we were seeing him right there, a few meters away from us, all dressed up in red and black, pairing with silver glitter boots (just like my fingernails :P).

Photo by Jimena Parra

Tracks like It's No Good, Barrel Of A Gun and A Pain That I'm Used To made the crowd dance. The projection during Useless attracted our attention, it's great to see Anton's recent work with DM in action. I am an Ultra lover and I have a feeling that the set list was tailor made for me! 

After that DM played Precious, a song that appeals a lot to the fans here in South America, World In My Eyes featured Dave grabbing all his junk - see below! Cover Me was a highlight and that was when Dave did his first appearance on the catwalk. During all this first part of the show, Dave was very sexy with this dance moves, interacting with the audience.

Photo by Jimena Parra

Then it was Martin’s turn to run the show, with Insight and Home, my goodness, he's something like an angel performing, with his beautiful guitars, black finger nails and eyelids. He's appearance is almost supernatural; I'm always in awe of this absolutely wonderful man. 

Photo by Jimena Parra

Then we got to witness the Spirit single, Where’s The Revolution, which had a good response from the audience, we could hear everybody singing. 

That was followed by a bunch of classic tracks like Everything Counts (one of my personal faves during this tour), Stripped and the ever present Enjoy The Silence and Never Let me Down Again, with the arm waving part that is such an entertaining and beautiful sight. 

After a brief encore the show continued with Martin’s very own version of Strangelove before Dave returned to stage with the delightful Walking In My Shoes, A Question Of Time and the big closer of the night Personal Jesus, leaving the crowd all pumped up. We always want more! 

It's such an experience, I am so very glad to have had such amazing luck of seeing them live several times, surrounding myself with lovely and helpful devotees that enhance and make all this preparation process much more fun (and bearable). It's so exciting to get things together and meet up, it gives such a wonderful sense of community. I guess that it's all about, seeing the Mode with your soulsisters and soulbrothers :D

And hopefully we will see them next time in Latin America! It’s a daydream but you never know!


Thank you Natalia and Jimena!

Friday 9 March 2018


Hot on the heels of her Vilnius review, Polina Lipezina returns to give us her take on the last show of the third leg of the Global Spirit Tour - the show at Olimpiski, Moscow on 25 February. Thanks very much for this great review Polina and for the photos too. An excellent way to finish off the third leg of the tour

At first, it seemed that it would be awesome to write about the last concert of the European tour. About the concert though, I realised I am going to have a break from Depeche Mode for several months… No, guys, that’s not cool. After pondering this fact for 15 minutes long, I didn’t have a clue where to even start. 

I will probably begin with words of gratitude to the organizers. All of us, who have been at least once to the Olimpiysky Stadium knows what kind of hell goes on there! Seriously, always, with any concert! This time the organizers managed to launch the concert well. Yes, it wasn’t perfect and there is still room for improvement, but this small victory of common sense has planted a seed of hope for the future shows… I really hope that it will only get better later! 

As for the concert, it was somewhat strange itself. I feared I would be torn apart by emotions, as this time there would be no concert two days later where I could see the guys again, just as it had been during the past two weeks. But nothing of this kind happened. Yes, after Precious I had a little meltdown, but then I got myself together and tried to remember every second of the event, what I obviously didn’t do. How do people remember the concerts anyway? It’s impossible! 

Compared to the my previous concerts (Saint-Petersburg, Vilnius, Riga, Minsk, Helsinki), the Moscow crowd seemed like one of the best singing crowds. Maybe it was also the matter of the fact that we were one of the biggest crowds of the winter tour? 

The warmup pleased me again, I even regretted that I won’t hear Black Line again. But what can we do is wait to see in four years what Martin, Dave and Andy will prepare for a warmup… 

From the very start of the concert, or more precisely first 5 minutes before its started, we all waited for the photographers, as usual. What shocked me – there were only three of them! This is very weird, I have personal explanations to this, but I don’t want to spread rumors. But that was cool as during the first three songs you can finally wave your hands as much as you please, without any fear of knocking a photographer off :) 

It is one of those many concerts (probably starting with November) when on seeing Dave on stage in the distance I am bothered by only one question: what colour outfit does he have on and, in particular, what colour are the shoes? Some weird female stuff. In winter I was actually bothered by another question: where are his red shoes?! In the end, in Moscow, as in many other towns, I wasn’t lucky enough to see a red costume, but Dave wowed everyone with gold. 

Overall, nothing could disturb a smooth almost familiar concert, apart from those times when Dave’s microphone was far too quiet. Thankfully that was fixed pretty quickly. 

As for unusual things I could probably point out that Dave specifically called this concert “(t)he last.” I have no clue what he meant by that, but prior Cover Me he said the following: “This is our last show tonight, just for a little while. So hope you are all enjoying yourselves”. I hope he was only referring to the show being the last Moscow one on this tour. 

At the exit of the catwalk there was a surprise for Dave: there was a really large distance in Moscow between the catwalk and the barrier. So, with all the effort it was really difficult to reach out for Dave, barely with the fingertips. I cannot remember in any winter show distance that long. 

At the end right after Home when Dave presented the entire band, he said, that Moscow was the best of all! 

I also noticed that Dave was grimacing a lot towards Martin. The reason for this, as I understood after the bow, was a duo sitting offstage, Douglas McCarthy and Bon Harris (musicians from Black Line), to whom Dave rushed to give hugs. I think it was cute. I liked them as well, I’d hug them too, if I could! 

“See you some other place, some other time, thanks so much, goodnight!”– David told us as a goodbye. As for us, we will just say: See you next time!


Thank you Polina!

Monday 5 March 2018


Not that Depeche Mode fans are odd people or anything, but, like me, I'm sure you'll be delighted to see that this is Part 101 of the Global Spirit Tour Project. For this auspicious occasion, Polina Lipezina returns for part 1 of her 2 part end of third leg reviews. As you may recall, Polina reviewed St Petersburg in July  and, as well as Vilnius, she'll be reviewing the Moscow show for us too. Thanks very much for this and the pictures Polina and congratulations on being Part 101!

After the concert in Saint Petersburg, which to me was an exceptional one (not the best, but special) there was also Riga. It was exceptional in its way, too, since it was the first tour during which I was celebrating my birthday on the go. Very interesting experience. And here comes Vilnius - the penultimate concert of the European leg and my 16th concert of this tour. Honestly, I expected very little from Vilnius from the very beginning. But every concert is something unusual and new. And so I, as usual, am writing about my emotions. :)

The special songs of this concert for me were Going Backwards and, as is traditional, Personal Jesus. But we will talk about it later.

As usual in the frosty morning we stood outside the Siemens Arena in expectation. As with Riga, this concert was the first to Vilnius on the tour and I had an early entry ticket. In Riga the early tickets' organisation left me with a positive impression. What’s going to happen in Vilnius? 

I will tell you for sure, that if you didn’t enjoy standing in the queues in summer, you definitely haven’t stood there at -15 degrees! It’s horrible! It’s hard! It’s exhausting! Is Depeche Mode worth it? Absolutely!

Having suffered in the cold, at 17.30 we entered the arena. As part of the early entry merchandise specials, we received a tourbook, a silicone bracelet and a familiar laminate all packaged into a cellophane. Probably selling leftovers?

It was however great to be out of the cold!

To sum up, the entrance to the arena was a little worse than in Riga, but not bad overall. For the first time it was pretty decent.

However, enough about small details… Warmup! Yes, I like this warmup! Douglas –  straight from the Dave Dancing School! It seems the closer the tour gets to the last Black Line performance in Moscow, the more he digs it!

Before I begin my description of the most important concert, I really need to point out that in the winter part of the tour I  wanted to see a lot of Dave on stage… Sorry guys, I just can’t help it! :)

So what so special happened in Vilnius? Going Backwards –  it felt like my song for the first time, thank you Dave that you sang it for me. By the way, don't you just love those emotions you feel when Dave notices you amongst the others? I do. It was amusing. During the whole Delta Machine tour I wanted to get a high-five, but because of the short arms I couldn’t reach out… But at one of the concerts he reached out personally to me. Anything can happen, you just need to believe. :)

Alright, let’s go back to Vilnius.

The main specialty of the concert was Barrel Of A Gun. It was the first time I saw Dave so angry… One time he stood up on the stage, crossed his arms behind the back, seemingly looking ahead of him, but he was looking at one of the photographers and then his loud “Fuck you!” boomed across with a gesture saying “get the hell out of here”. Incredible! Was it real? But then, literally a minute after Dave stepped over the loudspeakers that were right in front of him and waved at the same photographer. If only you could see that! At the very end he moved angrily something on stage with his foot… I don’t know what it was, but it looked just as frightening as it was interesting. You can see it here:

However, it went on just fine: Dave was smiling, was doing his dance moves and was the same usual Dave who we all are used to.

In Riga Dave couldn’t sing Personal Jesus without making mistakes. But in Vilnius it was splendid.

Regarding the audience, I had a feeling that people could  bea little bit louder. Then again, I myself acted pretty lazily the entire concert, for some reason I only wanted to watch the show. It’s hard to say what the reason was. Maybe Dave’s mood affected that? During A Question Of Time when we need to sing along, Dave was extending his hand with the microphone to the audience, and waited, listened, in the end he gave up, implying that we sang really poorly… And I pretty much agree with him.

I can’t say that I didn’t like the concert, but it was lacking some fire, dear Lithuanians. But I suppose, next time it will be great. :)


Thanks Polina

Saturday 3 March 2018


The internet can be a wonderful thing. As we saw the other day, after much pleading on my part, Jan Ronald Stange saved the day with a St Petersburg review. Last week however, I got an email from Alina Akhtarina with a review of that show after she'd been contacted by a Russian Depeche Mode fanpage on Facebook that I'd been in touch with. It was such a kind gesture and so I'm delighted to present Alina's review, part 2 of the St Petersburg reviews. Thanks so much Alina for this and the pictures and thanks too to Andrew Sankin for telling Alina all about the project.

Pleasure for Russian fans

Let's go back to 16th of February, to a country where -20°C is the normal temperature during winter. This city is Saint Petersburg, Russia where Depeche Mode is our long-awaited guest in our country. 

First I’d like to say without too much detail about how awfully unorganized the concert was. I would like to share that none of the staff took any interest or care about how the fans were treated. Those of us who had bought the early entry ticket option did not get access properly as we had all expected. This was a real disappointment because many of us were expecting the nearest standing position to the stage. We were close but no where near where we had hoped to be . This wish simply never came true.

There were some other points which also affected some of the attendees. We weren’t allowed to bring any water in to the Arena and there apparently was none for sale at the show either. This made for a real problem during the show. It was unusually hot during the opening act. We hoped that we would be offered water but the security weren’t very much help. One guard said that there wouldn't be any offered. All I can say is that I hope future concerts held at Saint-Petersburg's "Sports And Concert Complex” Arena will be handled with more care by the organization. 

I can’t believe it’s already been a week with memories still flowing through my mind. Let’s get back to the show itself. 16th of February St. Petersburg, holds a concert for one of the greatest groups ever, Depeche Mode. This would be their fifth visit to Russia on this tour. Some of you may know that the first time DM ever played Russia was back in September of 1998 on the Singles Tour. This would be the second time I attended the Global Spirit Tour. The first (also in St, Petersburg) was back in July of 2017. 

I’ll tell you about the view from my perspective, a 17 year old girl, who was standing in the second row of the fan zone. The support act was the group BlackLine. It started unexpectedly and all of the audience was full of expectations. The band performed some of their well-known songs. It was pretty good, many people were singing along with BlackLine. Afterwards, only a few minutes left until the show began. Depeche Mode will never let their fans down and the show was simply amazing. Dave Gahan's moves were graceful, his voice fascinating and everyone was enjoying sharing this moment in time. Martin Lee Gore's playing was perfect as always. His solo songs which were performed brilliantly and all of us listened attentively.

Andy Fletcher who as usual was dancing like a young inspired boy behind the keyboards. Peter and Christian did their best to add something new to the sound of the show as a whole. They brought a freshness to some songs with musical reinterpretations of some of the older tracks. 

Let me come up with some details. Was there any differences with the other performance of Global Spirit Tour from July? I believe, there are. Dave unfortunately forgot the first lines of the 3rd verse of Going Backwards. How did he get away with it? Dave played it off like nothing was wrong. He shared a look with Martin, they laughed a little and continued performing. As they say “the show must go on” and it looked like everything moved along as usual. The song itself for me is a real masterpiece. 

It may be of interest to note for some fans that DM’s initial visit to St. Petersburg back in July; Dave didn't use his exploding air cannon with those t-shirts. This time however, someone got a lucky ticket. The atmosphere was majestic. I can say that band as a whole enjoyed their audience and didn't want to end this show. While they were leaving the stage, they sent us many, many kind signs. “See you next time, St. Petersburg!”

Set list for the 16th of February 2018 concert can be found here :


Thanks Alina!

Thursday 1 March 2018


When I started this nonsense off, I wondered how many gigs I would able to cover as I presumed that people would say thanks but not thanks to any review request. Happily and to my eternal surprise and delight, that has proved to be wrong and, as you've seen, many people have given up their time to take part. It continually amazes me. Anyway, by the time the St Petersburg gig was about to start, I had no reviewer lined up. It had nearly happened in Hamburg until Claudia, Thomas and Michael saved the day, but this time, I was convinced that I'd run out of luck. But no! Marcel De Groot, a Facebook friend of mine and hereafter known as the saviour of St Petersburg, stepped in and suggested Jan Ronald Stange from Notteroy, Norway as he knew Jan was there. So here is Jan's review. As you'll see in the link at the end of Jan's review, he also writes for Sideline among others, so make sure you check out his other work. Thanks so much for stepping in Jan and thank you for this great review with accompanying pictures (all Jan's unless credited otherwise). I owe you one!

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group
For over 30 years, actually since the Black Celebration Tour in 1986, I’ve been attending every tour at least once, sometimes more, and will probably set a record with five concerts this tour. Most concerts, including the first and the last, have been with my lifelong friend John-Erik, and when we saw the 2nd European leg being added we started discussing where we should go. Initially we considered Helsinki, but the floor were quickly sold out, and after having being poorly seated at our first concert of the tour in Stockholm we didn’t want crappy seats again!

The closest concert, which also was close to the weekend, was St. Petersburg – in a country we hadn’t been before, and would also the easternmost place we’ve seen DM.

Feb. 15th: After some hassle with visas a few weeks before, we were finally on our way from Oslo, and with 6 hours between transfers in Riga we managed to see some of this city too. Arriving in St. Petersburg, we hit the bars at Nevsky Prospect, looking for a “secret” beer place, Beer Geek, well hidden in a backyard. We found it. And later when having a late dinner we even ended up talking to some girls who actually knew what Depeche Mode was – or so they claimed, probably chatting us up to get us to go to a “friends new bar” ;)

Outside the stadium

Feb 16th: Concert day! Started with a lunch where we met up with a Russian contact of John-Erik, Dmitri, who was there both for the concert and some DM CD’s brought to him from Norway. A bit funny when we found out he and his wife actually had traveled a longer distance than us, as their home city of Izhevsk was further inland in Russia and in our opposite direction.

The rest of the day before the concert was spent strolling around St. Petersburg, including a visit to Kazan Cathedral, the most DM related name there. After seeing all the the icon-kissing Russians one might wonder about the actual meaning when naming the PJ remix… satirical I hope!

Approaching the SKK stadium made us feel the closest to “home” as St. Petersburg could offer – not a familiar face in sight, yet a similar feeling to other venues where the Black Swarm would gather… weird, isn’t it?! Just proves once again that, after all, people are people.

All prejudices against vodka-drunken Russians gave way to a calm, but excited, ambience among the people in line and inside the stadium. Maybe not so surprising after all – they only sold coffee and Budweiser (!!!) there. And no drinks were allowed inside the actual venue either, so no worrying about people spilling beer during the concert.

Not having seen Black Line before, we were there just a few minutes before they got on stage. Douglas McCarthy & co played seven energetic songs in their warm-up set – well worth seeing!

The concert itself was excellent; no surprises though, and same setlist as the previous in Minsk and the next in Helsikini. Hearing Martin sing I Want You Now was probably the biggest treat, haven’t heard that one at my previous concerts in Stockholm or London. Having It’s No Good, Barrel Of A Gun, Useless, Insight and Home at the same concert made us think “this is the Ultra tour we never got in 1997!”

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

The audience was great too, with much younger fans than in London and most other places we’ve seen DM. And again: very well-behaved!

The only thing to complain about was the horrible expensive Russian 3G/4G prices for my Norwegian mobile subscription, so no real time streaming or SoMe posting during the concert. :/

Feb 17th: A day of sightseeing and *drinking* ;) Well, not that much, but slightly in a Russian style. After seeing the Winter Palace/Hermitage, walking around the “Admiralty” district, we ended up at a well planned destination a block from our hotel; the Museum of Russian Vodka. Was planning to dine there too, but some heavily decorated military oldies and their wives occupied the restaurant, probably sending someone off to retirement. We did get the tour of the museum and some sampling afterwards – highly recommended! 

Jan (left) and Michael Draw (right)

After dinner we met up with Michael Draw, the singer of the Russian dark wave act Otto Dix, and his girl friend, and spent the rest of the night talking about talking about music, Russian culture and mentality, languages and linguistics, more music, Rammstein, food, ballet, MMA, and showing him his music on Spotify – a real surprise for Michael!

Feb 18th: Going home again, with a wish to return to a St. Petersburg without snow or ice!

PS! Do also check out my other writings @ – mostly Norwegian & friends releated, but lot’s of DM fans like some of these artists too 

Regards and “see you next time!” from
Jan Ronald Stange


Thanks very much Jan!