Thursday 15 June 2023



Last night, I at last managed to see Depeche Mode's Memento Mori World Tour and it was fantastic. Like many fans, I've been keeping an eye on the setlist and its lack of variation (while nothing new for a Depeche Mode tour from the early days to date) combined with its use of Global Spirit Tour versions of songs did cause me some concern. In the end however, there was nothing to be concerned about. Even the most cynical Depeche fans would have loved this gig.

Prior to the show, I met up with friends I hadn't seen since the last tour and that was wonderful. Dublin itself was full of Depeche Mode t-shirts of all types and many of us nodded to each other in acknowledgement when we passed in the city's streets. Finding the station to the venue and then the venue itself was easy too - just follow the black t-shirts.

A final pre-gig note: a chap came up to me in the pub and asked if I was the Almost Predictable guy. He wanted to say how much he enjoys the blog. That was lovely.

Anyway, the concert itself. I missed the first support Just Mustard, but people have told me good things about them. Happily, I saw all of Young Fathers set and they were outstanding. I've seen them live before and they are always good, but their show last night was incredible. Their energy is extraordinary and I hope that they enjoyed it. A Depeche Mode support slot is notoriously rough, but I loved them and a few people around me were converted. I'm looking forward to seeing them again on Saturday at Twickenham.

My Cosmos Is Mine is a strange but tremendous opener. We went Depeche Mode to be weird and they fulfil that brief opening stadium shows with this track. As soon as the song started, a forest of arms were raised and a seemingly endless number of phones started filming. Please stop this. Please.

Wagging Tongue has become a favourite of mine from the album and it works nicely live too, but for those fans there who aren't oddball DM obsessives, these two songs make for a fairly slow start to the gigs. That changes though with Walking In My Shoes and It's No Good, a one-two that gets everyone paying attention. It's No Good has become a vital part of any Depeche gig.

The only low point in an otherwise near flawless performance came next with Sister Of Night. The Ultra version is one of my favourite Depeche tracks and it is great that they have added it to the set but, and this is perhaps pedantic, the use of a different lead synth sound just sounds really bad. On the original the lead riff is an icy, metallic, classic Depeche Mode sound. Here it's a weak organ-like sound and, well, it sounds crap. Dave's vocals, perfect for the rest of the gig, were a bit off here too. It's a gorgeous song, but it slowed the pace of the gig again.

The album version of In Your Room was resurrected on the last tour and that's one I'd have been delighted for them to retain but the Zephyr Mix has returned on this tour. It works of course but lacks the drama of the original. Everything Counts however could be played in any version or way the band want, and it would remain one of the greatest songs of all time. The first part of the show wrapped up with Precious and an excellent My Favourite Stranger, displaying a surprising punch. It's an excellent live track.

Dave took a seat and Martin took over. During Home, he did that odd dance only he does, half skipping and half hopping down the catwalk, waving and pointing and looking like he was having the time of his life. Soul With Me, acoustic rather than the album version as has been the case thus far on the tour, was lovely.

Ghosts Again saw Dave return and saw the end of any input from Memento Mori. That is a shame, as songs such as Before We Drown, Don't Say You Love Me and People Are Good would surely be worth playing. I Feel You is shorter than on previous tours and that is a good thing. Devotional aside, longer versions of the song have seen it lose its power, but that's not the case here. It was outstanding last night. A Pain That I'm Used To was fine but tired. I don't think we really need to hear to much more of that version.

Being a Violator era bore (did I mention I'd written a book with Kevin May? Halo - available right now) I usually sing/shout every word of World In My Eyes, but not last night. I never met Andy Fletcher and didn't know him at all, but his death hit me far harder than I ever thought it would. I thought I was over all that but, as his image appeared on the screens last night, I was reminded how much of a shock his death was. I don't think I was the only one there last night with tears in their eyes. Anton's film is a very simple and very moving tribute to the great man.

Wrong, or as Dave calls it Wraaaanggg, perked me up and then Stripped began. My word, is there a more powerful song in the Depeche Mode canon? Stripped was designed to be played in large venues like this and it was so loud and so imposing that I imagine I could have heard it from my garden in Glasgow if I'd stayed at home. What a bloody song. Despite keeping an eye on setlist, I'd forgotten that John The Revelator followed Stripped. It was good a kept everyone bouncing along. The singalong but at the end seems a bit pointless however.

The main set ended with Enjoy The Silence a song that I may have mentioned before on this blog. It is still my favourite Depeche Mode song, it will always be my favourite Depeche Mode song and, frankly, I have yet to hear a better song by anyone ever in the history of music. And that's me not going over the top - honestly.

The encore started with Dave and Martin wandering down to the front of the catwalk and singing Waiting For The Night. Beautiful. A three song hits package - Just Can't Get Enough, Never Let Me Down Again and Personal Jesus followed and rounded off the night in fine style. 

For anyone who has been sceptical about the current Depeche tour, forget your concerns and embrace this live show. Let's be honest, we didn't think we'd see them again after the last tour and certainly not after Fletch passed away, so to have Depeche Mode back is a wonderful thing. When they are playing with this enthusiasm and with this power, they remain a joy and one of the finest live bands there is.

Bring on Twickenham.


  1. Hard agree with this entire review except I quite enjoyed A Pain That I'm Used To when I heard it live in Dusseldorf, it's a stomper. Couldn't see much given the height of the Germans but looking forward to Twickenham where I have a side view seat.

  2. DM fan from 86... last night was concert number 8 for me and the best. I love the nrw album bit the tracks sound even better live. I read your blog all the time. Would have loved to meet you. I wore a route 66 t shirt. It (not me really) was photographed 3 times. What a night, what a venue, what a band...

  3. Jeg er helt enig i det du skriver med Before We Drown, Don't Say You Love Me og People Are Good. De sange burde inkluderes og så ud med John The, Wrong og A Pain. In Your room skulle være album versionen. Kunne de have presset Lie To Me og The Sun and the rainfall ind, og udeladt EC, så ville jeg ikke bede om mere :-)

  4. Wonderful night in Dublin the organisation on trains was brilliant - been a fan since helped with promoting the very first mute singles & loved them ever since - roll on London only wish was at every night on tour 🙄 Martyn - Cheltenham UK

  5. A very honest review of a great gig, not seen much of the Mode in recent years but was pleasantly surprised with how well they played and delivered with style and panache 23 tracks. You don’t get that sort of delivery from many bands these days! And Enjoy The Silence…will always be my favourite DM track ever!

  6. Your review was excellent and echoes many of my thoughts. I saw them in Antwerp last month, it was spectacular. I too had a tear in my eye for the Fletch tribute and no doubt will again too at Twickenham on Saturday.

  7. So I'm confused: You like Enjoy The Silence or not? It's a little vague. LOL Nice writeup, David. :)

  8. It was 5years ago I saw them last and I wondered had time taken its toll but I was blown away in Malahide. DM put on show that was the best I've ever seen

  9. Thanks for such a good review - saw them at MSG 2m ago and off to Twickenham on Saturday - it's a great show and the concerns I also had about the similar setlist to the Spirit tour were dispelled. They are at the top of their game right now. Also read Halo in 3 days last month - loved it. When is the SOFAD follow up being published? :) Thanks for the blog and your devotion.

  10. Great review ! Depeche do seem to have hit a late career purple patch both the album and this tour. See you in Milan

  11. As much as I agree with most of your comments, I LOVED A Pain I'm Used To.
    It was my 11th time to see them, all the way back to Sept 82 and I can honestly say like a fine wine, the boys are aging well. If it's to be the last Dublin performance THANK YOU FOR A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES.

  12. I saw them in Bratislava last month (cca my 20th DM show) and frankly was little bit disappointed. I´d expected less "hits" setlist and more surprises (not that often played songs).

  13. Saw them first in 82 and most tours since. Probably the last time I will see them...but a great send off to a lifetime of joy...thanks for music and memories