The strange thing about Depeche Mode is I was never, ever, a fan. At least, not until I worked with a guy called Michael. In fact Michael was my boss. A chilled out type of guy who absolutely loved his music…especially with an ‘80’s vibe’ (he often talked like that). Gradually while working with him he lent me just about every album from the Essex lads. Although I didn’t like everything I heard there was enough to get me interested. So much so that he managed to drag me to see them once before in the same venue back in 2006 and although they were good then the sound was a little disappointing. Since being renovated in 2008 the Point Theatre (now O2 Arena) is a far more efficient venue with better views and better sound than it ever was before. I’m still not its biggest fan but it has to be said that it is a well-run arena.
For tonight’s gig we were seated. This was Michael’s choice. If there is a choice, 95% of the time I want to stand at concerts, unless there really is no benefit in doing so (acoustic performance maybe, seats instead of standing at the front of the venue, etc) but Michael said he was getting old and was getting too lazy. Now I admit that there are times when you don’t feel the best and prefer to sit your arse on a plastic seat but for a rock band it (of which Depeche Mode would be an alternative kind) surely deserved a bit of a mosh?
Anyway I bowed to Michael’s choice as a) he was getting the tickets and b) it was his favourite band so what he said went on this occasion. However I maintain that sitting at these type of gigs does take something away from the concert experience, this is especially true when over eager concert staff spend the gig telling you to sit down.
So what of the gig? Well Depeche Mode where touring their new album, Sounds Of The Universe and it was the opening track off that disc that opened the show tonight, a simple atmospheric song called In Chains. This lead straight into lead single Wrong. A powerful new track that turned out to be pretty fantastic live. It’s not all new tracks tonight of course. There was a good mix of songs played including 4 each from Universe, Songs Of Hope And Devotion and Violator, with another 3 taken from Ultra and then others from earlier albums. Nothing though from before 1987 including no Just Can’t Get Enough. I though on the whole that wq a good mix. 20 songs played from albums from the last 20 years was pretty good. Not sure whether Michael thought the same. If it was me seeing a band that I knew inside out I would probably want at least five B-Sides but then again that’s probably just me and my music geek ways.
The band has some stand out songs in the main set including the rawktastic I Feel You, Enjoy The Silence, Policy Of Truth and closing track, Never Let Me Down Again. It is the encore (especially the last two songs of it) that makes the hair stand up. A quite stunning, Behind The Wheel and Personal Jesus. Of the 20 songs played I knew half very well and was familiar enough with most of the others. Dave Gahan is a powerful lead singer and combined with the skill of Gore and Fletcher the band are a tight unit that have now had 30 years of success and are a highly impressive live band.
As I write this in April 2012 (still trying to catch up with all my reviews…nearly there) I haven’t seen Michael at all. Not sure if it was something I said or what but he has certainly distanced himself since this night. I am a reasonably ok guy…I think…and I very much enjoyed the show tonight.
Ticket: December 10th 2009
Ticket Price: €68.20