Tuesday 20 June 2023



Peter Philipsen, known to some you as as Peter Too from depeche-mode.com reviewed shows on the last tour for this blog and I was delighted when he asked if he could do it again. This is his review of what sounded like an incredible show in Amsterdam and this contains some fascinating insights into what goes on at each show. Thanks very much for this Peter and it was great to see you albeit briefly at Twickenham. All pictures are Peter's so don't steal them.

When Amsterdam was announced, I knew this would be a “must go” stop on the tour. Double-nighter (the first of the tour to boot), European kick-off shows, some of the few in-door shows on this leg and the first one just happened to be on my birthday.

I’m always a little bit at a loss as to where to start when writing these show reports. If you’re reading this, chances are you already know a lot about these shows; probably even been to one or several at this point. So I’ll try to recap the day and the show, tell you what was “different” about the second night compared to the first, and hopefully sprinkle in a few interesting bits and pieces.

The band and crew had actually been in town for a while at this point. Of course there had been the show two days before, and before that, there had been a full scale rehearsal, to make sure everyone knew what they were playing, and testing out alternate songs for rotation at double nighters and later on in the tour. Don’t worry - no spoilers on that front here.

And even before the band arrived to rehearse, the entire stage setup had to be rebuilt from the ground up, with completely new bits and pieces. Rather than shipping over the stage and the gear after the North American leg, everything that could be sourced “locally” (read: in Europe), was sourced here. So rather than shipping over 20 or so containers worth, they only had to bring over about two containers worth of equipment. 

On the day I went to the venue late afternoon, and had a wander in and around the venue before doors opened. There’s a weirdly solemn atmosphere about an almost venue that’s ready for a show. That goes for all shows I suppose, but with Mode it’s something special for me. In Amsterdam my personal excitement was mixed with a slight tinge of disbelief that this was all happening. I can honestly say that when Fletch passed away - less than a year ago - I had not expected to be here. 

There’s a few things I try to do every time I go to a show. I like watching the doors open, and the crowd swarming in. Such a rush. I also try and go say hello to some of the people I know on from past tours. As Cold Cave was performing, I was treated to a tour of the video set up, and the spotlight controls. Never fails to amaze how much gadgetry and tech goes into a show like this. 

Remember way back in the day, when lighting-crew would climb eerily flimsy ladders to go sit 10 meters above the stage, manually controlling the spotlights? Those days are long gone. The spotlights are mounted with small cameras, and are remote controlled from backstage. The rig looks like a steam punk, multi-player arcade racing game setup. 

They are working with completely new lighting designers and crew. And they’ve done phenomenal work. This show looks absolutely stunning. Front of house (the mixing desk) is also helmed by a new guy, who’s super good. But other than that a lot of familiar faces. 

The show itself was great. The crowd seemed way more into it on Thursday than Tuesday. A couple of glitches here and there - the system Christian use to trigger songs failed after the intro, so the first song started a little late. A little funny seeing the confused looks, as the techs frantically fixed whatever was the matter. Ghosts Again also got off to a rough start with Mart’s guitar falling out. 

And if you were there, and thought there was one too many people on stage: No, you’re not wrong. That was a local photographer… Anton something or other… who was taking photos of throughout the show. 

We got a total of three “new” songs on the second night: My Favourite Stranger (listed as “Perfect Stranger” on the set list), Home and Condemnation. Personally I wish they played more from the new album at the shows, so it was cool hearing My Favourite Stranger again. As far as I remember, it hadn’t been played since the Munich warm-up gig. 

A relatively small and calm affair backstage after the show - with most of the crew having to pack everything down and load out there seemed to be fewer people and less partying than on the first night. But the video juke box did play Just Can’t Get Enough, so there was that.


Thanks very much Peter - not a bad way to spend your birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Great review and in total agreement. An incredible night. Great vibe before, during and after the gig. I wore my blog T-shirt (IOW) for my Spoons breakfast and journey home!