Welcome back. The fifth leg of the Global Spirit Tour has begun and the band started with a show at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on 22 May 2018. Rob Rohm was there and this is his review. You may recall that Rob has reviewed for the blog previously on the tour (San Diego) and this is yet another cracking read ending with yet another guitar pick success for Rob. He must have a magnet that attracts them or something. Thanks very much for the review, the pictures and the superb videos Rob.
I speculated there would be a second US leg of the Global Spirit Tour because of the huge gap in the schedule between South American and EU Festival Dates. As 2018 began and weeks passed without an announcement, I did get a bit concerned. Finally, in February it was announced! And what an announcement, the second leg of the US tour would open with a show at the Honda Center in Anaheim! This is as close as it can get for me. My house is 2 miles (3 km) away from the Honda Center. I’m near the freeway and it’s 2 freeway exits away. A $6 Uber ride. Needless to say, I was ecstatic!
The first order of business was to secure tickets. Luckily I ended up with front row on the floor. During the on sale, I first purchased a pair of fifth row tickets but then found a single in the front row. Knowing what a hardcore of a fan I am, my wife told me to me sit up in the front row while she sat in fifth row with someone else (my Mom). And as luck would have it, I was in seat 4 and my friends Adam, Lisa, and Jeni had seats 1, 2, and 3.
Since the venue was so close to my home, I thought I’d invite some Devotees to my house for a pre-party the day of the show. Since a lot of us had VIP party packages, I held the pre-party at my house from 1:00 - 5:00 pm. The VIP party was beginning at 5:30 at Honda Center. This is the first time I’ve ever thrown a party with an end time. The timing worked out perfectly.
I started a Facebook group called Depeche Mode Global Fan Group after I was a part of Depeche Mode’s Facebook Fan Takeover last summer. The group currently has almost 5,500 members from all across the globe. I invited some of the members of the group that were attending the Anaheim show to the pre-party at my house. It was a great group of people, some I had just met in person for the first time but as we all know Depeche Mode fans are like a family.
When we hit the Honda Center for the VIP party, there was a merch table set up right next to our check-in location. I bought a poster and t-shirt and put it in the car before we went inside (our friend Jeni drove us from the pre-party). We checked in and received our VIP lanyards, wristbands, and drink tickets. The VIP event was held in the Shock Top Terrace on the Club Level of the Honda Center. We were given VIP exclusive Depeche Mode branded black bags that are reversible with printing on both sides in different colors (gray and red). Inside the bag there was also a Depeche Mode branded wireless speaker. The food was really good with a self-serve taco bar and churros for dessert. While walking to the VIP area, one of our friends, Leah, recorded a snippet of soundcheck. It was Martin Gore performing The Things You Said.
The VIP experience at Honda Center was a bit above the Hollywood Bowl shows. We headed down to our seats after almost 2 hours in the VIP area.
|VIP Party - Rob in the centre|
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was the opening act. I’m not too familiar with their music but they sounded great.
During the intermission between bands, I joined a group of fans that had hosted the Depeche Mode page during the Facebook Fan Takeover including Depeche Mode’s webmaster, Daniel “Brat” Barassi.
All eyes were on Anaheim as fans across the globe were curious as to what changes might be in store for this next leg of the tour. When Depeche Mode last played Southern California, they had significantly reshaped their set list with changes that would flow across the rest of the tour. The familiar intro with the Beatles’ Revolution and the Spirit feet marching lead into Going Backwards. The beautiful color splatter video backdrop and Dave’s silhouette dancing across the upper stage is still in place.
It’s No Good was the second song, this was one of the surprise changes at the Hollywood Bowl that has been a staple in the set list since. Barrel Of A Gun and A Pain That I’m Used To were followed by Useless and Precious, two other tracks that made their appearance at the Hollywood Bowl shows. Useless had a new video backdrop for this part of the tour.
World In My Eyes was up next and the backdrop features a silhouette of a young Dave Gahan from the Violator era with his hands forming the familiar glasses the band members were photographed doing. Stellar versions of all of these songs as usual.
Cover Me has been one of Dave’s favorite songs to interact with the audience on this tour. At the Hollywood Bowl, I filmed Dave up close during Cover Me. Honda Center had the traditional catwalk the band has used this tour (unlike Hollywood Bowl). As the song entered the middle section, I made my way from my front row seat across the floor to the catwalk. I captured some video and you’ll notice in the middle of the clip that Dave is actually telling some fans to “Get the fuck up!” since they were sitting down.
As alluded to earlier, Martin soundchecked with The Things You Said and he delivered. This was a very welcomed set change. Really cool to hear it live again.
Home was a standard rendition but the singing by the fans at the end seemed a bit minimal in comparison to previous concerts. In Your Room is one of my favorite tracks and I’m happy they continued playing it this second leg. I love that it’s the album version of the track. It was accompanied by the same video footage that’s been used all tour. Where’s The Revolution had all of us raising our fists in the front row in unison with the chorus. Everything Counts was up next and I was hoping to capture a nice clip of us in the front row on the video screens but they changed up the video feed a bit for this song.
The closers for the regular set are three of my all-time favorite Depeche Mode tracks: Stripped, Enjoy The Silence, and Never Let Me Down Again.
This potentially could be my last show this tour. I was fortunate enough to attend their rehearsal in April 2017 at S.I.R. Studios in Hollywood with 40 other Devotees. I then saw them in Paris in July, followed by shows in Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and the four Hollywood Bowl shows. I haven’t completely ruled out heading to Europe for one of the summer festival gigs but as of the moment this 10th show I’ve seen on this tour is my last. I mention it as I was taking in the experience with that perspective. I had been so hyped to see them in my hometown but it’s bittersweet for it to come to an end.
The encore started with Martin Gore’s other lead vocal track from Music For The Masses, I Want You Now. It was a beautiful piano rendition of the song.
Walking In My Shoes was the second encore. Being seated directly in front of Martin, it’s always cool to watch him play guitar. Most people are unaware that he uses an Ebow on Walking In My Shoes. The EBow is a hand-held electronic bow for guitar. I shot this photo of him using it:
A Question of Time was a nice set change from what they played on the first US leg. It was a hard-driving energetic performance. The second leg features a shorter 20 song set list, so the final song was Personal Jesus. I don’t think anybody wanted the show to end. After the song Martin threw his guitar pick to me. Everything came full circle for this Global Spirit Tour. He handed me a pick after their rehearsal in April of 2017 and also threw me one at the last Hollywood Bowl show. I now have one from my hometown gig too, potentially the final show for me on this Amazing Global Spirit Tour.