Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Live Review - Depeche Mode @ MSG

Anytime Depeche Mode go on tour something always pops up to sideline them for a bit. In the 90's it was singer Dave Gahan's drug problems, on the last tour 2005/2006's "Touring the Angel," Gahan suffered laryngitis and was forced to cancel some North American dates. This past summer Gahan was diagnosed with a form of cancer, canceling a slew of shows at the top of the tour and once they hit the road again, he tore his calf muscle. Gahan has become one of the most unlucky front men around. However, after seeing the band three times (including last night), my theory is that all of this pain and suffering makes Mr. Gahan stronger. Madison Square Garden was an all out dance party for the first of two close-to-sold out concerts from the legendary British group.
Every time I see Depeche Mode they constantly out due themselves, last night was the best I ever witnessed. Playing for a solid two hours, Depeche Mode brought out the hits, deep cuts and new ones to please fans of any kind. Opening with "In Chains," off the band's brilliant new disc Sounds of the Universe, and going into the new stadium anthem of "Wrong," DM were in top form. Gahan had a smile on his face all night as he swung around stage like a Gothic Elvis and spun around like a ballerina, you would never know the guy had a cancer scare just a few months ago. Guitarist Martin Gore was decked out in a mirror ball suit that only Martin Gore could wear, while keyboarded Andy Fletcher had his signature sunglasses on and composed the programming section like a conductor to his orchestra.
What keeps me going back to seeing Depeche Mode is the atmosphere generated by the fans and the bands sights and sounds. Fans from all over the world fly into the US because when they tour Europe they are the hottest ticket in town, MSG looked more like UN last night with tourists from Italy, England, France, Croatia and as far as Russia came in and built a vacation around seeing their heros. As much as the sound and band's performance is important to any show, Depeche Mode rank up their with U2 on making their concerts a spectacle. Backed by a giant LED screen with a giant ball sticking out of the center, a glow in the dark stage and a axis of lights the would have the rigs weaving in and out like a sewing machine, the English trio made their fan's get their monies worth. With semi pornographic, spacey and serious images floating behind the band on that giant screen, it kept the audience's attention that even the fair weather Mode fan being dragged by a lover or friend was entertained. The highlight of the night easily came during the always show stopping "Enjoy the Silence." With the crowd screaming the lyrics, and Gahan forcing everyone to have their hands in the air, it was just a sight to be seen. What a band, what a night! Depeche Mode are going against Kings of Leon this week at Lollapalooza and after last night my choice to split the evening just got more difficult.
Opening the show was Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John. The quirky trio had some sound problems right from the get go, even blowing a speaker, but once things got fixed they were awesome. In a brief 25 minute set, that would see Peter jumping into the crowd, and his band mates dancing on stage, they were a perfect opener and the only band on the planet that could make whistling sound so damn cool in a song.

Depeche Mode MSG Set List 8/3/09
In Chains
Hole To Feed
Walking In My Shoes
It’s No Good
A Question Of Time
Fly on the Windscreen
Little Soul
Come Back
Policy Of Truth
In Your Room
I Feel You
Enjoy The Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

Encore 1:
Master And Servant

Encore 2:
Personal Jesus
Waiting for the Night