The third last review of this at one point seemingly impossible project comes from Henno Taams who I really have to thank for getting this to me less than 24 hours after the gig so that I could publish it before Berlin. Thank you for that Henno and for this great review and pictures. Given the other bands you list as being favourites of yours, I'm pretty sure we'll bump into each other at a gig in the future!
Saturday, 21 July 2018
A 4 part review of DM's performance at Lollapalooza Paris
So we meet again. Last time I saw Depeche Mode it was on a freezing cold winter night in January, but today it sweltering, so hot in fact you can feel the sweat running down your back, just like the first time i saw them in Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy just over a year ago.
With most bands that sheer sense of excitement when you see them for the first time slowly fades away, unlike Depeche Mode for me, who together with Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Rammstein and Arcade Fire make up my top 5 live bands I've ever seen, and that's well over a hundred and sixty odd of them. Unique to them is the excitement i felt the first time remains, if not becomes even more.
Same old, same old...
Depeche Mode, together with Rammstein are the only bands in my top 5 live bands who have, on their latest tour, stuck to roughly the same set every night. This can be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing.
Unlike Rammstein, DM's show doesn't use so many special effects that limit any unpredictabilities in the setlist, and also given the ridiculous amount of great songs DM has written it's slightly disappointing even they don't mix them up. Personally i would love to hear some songs from Exciter, some more Playing The Angel, Sounds Of The Universe or heck, even Delta Machine.
Almost Predictable, almost...
However the setlist they do play, as predictable as it may be, still feels very well put together. The lack of spontaneity is completely made up by the performance these lads put on every night. Though the set is predictable, the extent to which it comes from the stage is not.
Having read some reviews by the French press here and there about their recent stint of French festivals, I was slightly worried. Quite a few wrote about Dave sounding tired, the band being slightly disconnected from the festival crowd, which could be explained by their lack of festival performances in the last few years.
But at their final headlining slot of the tour ap my worries slowly faded away as the band picked up steam during Going Backwards, one of my favourite tracks of the new album together with Eternal and Poison Heart. Dave voice sounded like a well oiled machine, as if it was the first show of the tour not the 128th show.
It also struck me Dave was feeling rather talkative, addressing the crowd after almost every song, unlike Amsterdam on January 13th of this year, where he wouldn't go any further than an obligatory "Good evening Amsterdam!" a single "Well thank you very much!" and "Have a good night!" as if he really wanted us to know he loves us before the band disappearing again, for God knows how long it will be this time.
Never Let Me Down Again...
Festivals always feel different from their own shows in a closed setting, festivals come with a certain amount of uncertainty, as we experienced earlier in the the day with one of my favourite new, up and coming bands.
Nothing But Thieves were the unlucky ones today. They saw their set almost cut in half due to technical difficulties out of their control. For a band like them (I love them very much) they don't deserve to have to put up with that shit.
Now don't get me wrong, I love festivals and I try to fit as many into my jam packed travel schedule as I can. But the unpredictability of technology when 5 to 7 bands play on the same stage every day can become a real nuisance.
Not everyone gets a sound check, resulting in quite a few shows with their audio levels all messed up. But Depeche Mode seemed not to have that problem, when I saw them for the first time in Lille I was worried about the audio, as closed roofed concrete stadiums are notorious for terrible audio, as was the case with the support that day. The Horrors sounded like horror.
But surprisingly as soon as DM came on the audio was near perfect. As was the case last night. A near perfect mix, the bass could have been turned up a little and the drums were a bit too loud but apart from that flawless.
Yes it was very loud but a song like Never Let Me Down Again has to be loud to transfer al the vigour and energy that it contains. Now we all know the field of wreaths gimmick that comes with it, and even after seeing it so many times it never fails to amaze me. Definitely a highlight if not my favourite moment of the show, there is a certain energy and connection between the band and the crowd during that Song that can't be explained in a mere single blog post, moreover, I need to head back to the festival again as there's plenty more good music coming up, but Depeche Mode, they never let me down.
Just can't get enough...
There's a reason why live music is always so invigorating that once you get to experience it, there's this instant feeling of fulfilment, but also another feeling of emptiness that needs filling. We music lovers all know it we need more, we always need more. So as the Global Spirit Tour head to its final halt in the wonderful Waldbühne in Berlin, having seen Rammstein there in 2016, it's truly one of the most beautiful venues, this feeling of emptiness slowly starts to kick in.
2 more shows until the band goes of on a well deserved holiday after what has been one of the longest tours they've ever done, they'll leave us fulfilled, but still yearning for more. As music lovers we all know, we just can't get enough, and to close out my review with another quote by Dave I'd like to say goodbye and thanks for having me.
"Well thank you Paris, We'll see you some other time!"
Thank you Henno