Wednesday 21 June 2023



John H, John C, Stuart, Me, Colin, Andrew, Paul

My second gig of the Memento Mori world tour was at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 17 June. This was always going to be a special show. Depeche Mode's last UK stadium gig at the London Stadium in June 2017 was wonderful but, after Fletch died, none of us were sure we would get the chance to celebrate the band on that scale and on home turf ever again. There was, therefore, very much an air of celebration before, during and after Saturday's concert.

As has become standard for these events, I suggested to my friends that they dress up in blog colours. They very generously agreed to do so as you can see above. The group I was with were friends I have had since school (the two Johns and Stuart) and from University (Colin, Andrew and Paul). They have all had to suffer my Depeche Mode obsession for between 30 and 35 years and, happily, they are all still talking to me. They are of course Depeche fans too and, despite being a long time fan of the band, this was Colin's first Depeche Mode concert, a fact I was quite jealous of. Imagine seeing a band like this, a band playing so well, for the first time ever? Lucky man. 

I was delighted to be spending a weekend with my oldest friends seeing a band we all love, a mood shared not only by our own group, but by almost everyone else we saw, spoke to or messaged throughout the weekend. People had come to this concert from all over the world to see this concert and trying to say hello to everyone you wanted to say hello to proved impossible. We spent part of the Saturday afternoon at The Barmy Arms in Twickenham, enjoying a beer or two, watching Depeche T-Shirts from all eras. A group of fans had bespoke luminous baseball caps which seemed to cause some jealously among my friends who were all wearing their free T-shirts. You can't please everyone I suppose. We chatted to two lads from Devon who had driven up for the gig, one of whom hadn't seen the band since a show in St Austell, Cornwall in 1984. I needlessly pressed him for what he remembered about the concert. Really must stop doing that....

We planned to head from there to The Cabbage Patch for a large DM meet up but couldn't get in, so we made up for it with a trip to our hotel bar where my mates got their first taste of this blog's appeal (if that is the right word) as people came over to say hello. 

From there, we headed to Twickenham to get a good spot in the golden circle. I managed to say a few hellos to people I know (hi Pete, Peter, Glynn, Michael L, Duncan, Thomas, Michael P, Carsten, Mark, Chris, Scott, Claire and Adele) and to people I'd never met before, all of whom wanted to chat about the blog and Halo. I still can't get over that really - it still takes me by surprise and genuinely means a lot. 

Carsten, Thomas and me

As was the case in Dublin, Young Fathers were fantastic. I really hope that a lot of Depeche fans have been impressed by them as they are one of the best live acts around. Once they were done, and once we'd bought another round of drinks at £7.50 a pint (!!), it was time for Depeche Mode.

My Dublin review covered the set in detail so I won't go into it in depth here. The only change was Martin swapping Home for A Question Of Lust, a long time favourite of mine and a song I had never actually seen Martin perform live before. That was a real treat.

The band were on fantastic form. Dave was in full preening, twirling, part-vampire, part-showman mode and he held the stadium in the palm of his hand throughout the concert. Of the new tracks, Wagging Tongue and My Favourite Stranger sounded incredible, the latter really packing a punch. Stripped was as powerful as ever and Never Let Me Down Again shook the stadium to its foundations, prompting all seven of us to form a circle and jump around like men half our age. 

That act of celebration summed up the whole night for me. Everywhere you looked, people were bouncing around, jumping about and just generally going crazy as Depeche Mode played a set crammed with tracks that had provided the soundtrack to the lives of tens of thousands of people at the sold-out stadium. This was more a celebration than a concert. Depeche Mode have a special way, a unique way even, of making songs that seem intimate when you listen to them on your own still have that effect despite being played in a stadium to thousands. Of all the bands that have existed in the last forty years, there is no doubt that Depeche Mode are the least obvious stadium fillers but fill stadiums they do, and the world is a better place for that.

When Fletch died, I couldn't work out why I was so upset. It only made sense when my wife said to me that it was understandable because Depeche Mode had been such a big part of my life for so long.  I was reminded of that and of the length of time I have loved this band at Twickenham by celebrating them with my oldest friends, a theme common among the many groups of people there that night. 

That is why Depeche Mode are special. That is why the Twickenham gig was one of the best experiences of my life.


  1. Great review as always. I was there and it was a special night.

  2. Top review and good to say Hello. Hopefully see you in Berlin 👍

  3. Dagnabbbit I was at the Cabbage Patch with Mandy & crew before my friends arrived. The fan from Romania from the Spirit doco was there too (although I guarantee he won't have remembered meeting us at the screening whenever it was) Cracking review! 🖤

  4. We were looking out for you 😉 Twickenham will go down as possibly the most special DM gig I'll ever do - for all the reasons you've said (we did the Duke of Cambridge pub, you should have come there!) and for the fact I was with Emma and it was our one year anniversary. Her first and my 50th? (I've lost count).

  5. Great review, thanks. I was down there in the Golden Circle somewhere too. Been going to DM gigs since Speak And Spell and this one was right up there. Found this bit of footage on Youtube you'll probably enjoy that sums up your review nicely :-)