Depeche Mode / Show Review
Words & Photos by Todd Meador
On a hotter-than-usual September evening, the masses made their way out to East Austin with anticipation for one of the most exciting live acts of the past 30 years.
It’s been four years since Depeche Mode has played Austin. During SXSW 2013, they surprised us all with a smaller promotional show at Brazos Hall, then returned later that year to headline Austin City Limits Music Festival. Most of DM’s recent Texas tour-stops skip over Austin for the larger metropolitan cities of Houston & Dallas. Therefore, the 14,000 capacity venue of Austin360 Amphitheater was easily filled for the band’s Global Spirit Tour.
The evening of music started with opening act Warpaint, a four-piece all girl band from Los Angeles. As the crowd made their way to their seats, the sun began to set, and the cool of the evening breeze settled in. Immediately after Warpaint finished their final song, the eager DM fans would give sporadic chants and screams welcoming their favorite band.
Blackout gave rise to a deafening cheer as the audience was greeted with The Beatles’ “Revolution,” and the screens portrayed the walking feet graphic that graces Depeche Mode’s latest album cover for “Spirit.” The song would soon turn into their latest hit “Going Backwards” as the band finally took the stage. Lead singer Dave Gahan took control of the crowd as he stood atop the back of the stage silhouetted with the giant screen as his backdrop. Throughout the show, Gahan would have the fans hanging on his every move as he danced across every inch of the stage, crooning the lyrics they all have come to memorize over the years.
The band played tracks from most of their albums and filled the set with their greatest hits, as well as deeper cuts that fulfilled die-hard fans like myself. Moments that stood out to this fan were the crowd’s reaction to the pulsating intro to “World In My Eyes,” and the extended version of arguably their most popular song of all time, “Enjoy The Silence.” However, my favorite moment of the night was seeing every hand in the audience raised and swaying back and forth as we all sang the chorus to my favorite song, “Never Let Me Down Again.” It was as if we had all been transported back in time to the Rose Bowl for the Concert For The Masses on June 18th, 1988. A moment forever etched in DM history in their famous documentary, 101. “See the stars, they’re shining bright, everything’s alright tonight.” To say that the night was great is an understatement… it was absolutely amazing.
Martin Gore connected with the crowd on an emotional level when he sang his stripped down versions of “Question of Lust” & “Somebody,” with only the accompaniment of Peter Gardeno on keyboard.
Another moment that made the night special was the band’s ode to the late and great David Bowie with their cover of “Heroes.” For the entirety of the song, the crowd realized the importance of this moment and understood how fitting this song was for the band themselves and everyone in attendance that night. During the final note of the song, Dave Gahan blew a respectful kiss to the sky.
The night ended with the band playing back-to-back hits of “I Feel You” and “Personal Jesus,” and this left the crowd wanting more as everyone remained steadfast until the band’s final bow. It’s incredible to witness an act that has been playing music together since 1980 put on a show, with the satisfaction and bliss of a band that’s just making it’s way onto the scene. The bond with their fans is a testament to their legacy, and this life-long fan is thankful they made a stop in East Austin this tour. I’m certain I’m not alone in hoping that they make Austin a regular tour stop for many years to come. You’ll see me there.
So Much Love
Barrel of a Gun
Pain That I’m Used To
In Your Room
World In My Eyes
Question of Lust
Where’s The Revolution
Enjoy The Silence
Never Let Me Down
Walking In My Shoes
I Feel You