Depeche Mode in concert

As I learned from the Britney, George Michael, and The Police shows, you’re allowed to bring point & shoot cameras to most concerts nowadays, so we brought ours.

This was their Seattle show for their Tour Of The Universe, in support of their album Sounds Of The Universe. Frankly I don’t love this new album, it all kind of blends together, so I didn’t make much of an effort to get tickets to the show: in the end we had back row, upper balcony tickets, but that was fine with me. Last time they came around I had 5th row tickets, so I didn’t feel the urge to get up close again. (they didn’t sell out the show so we got relocated to the bottom balcony instead of the upper balcony, which was fine with us).

In any case, this was one of their better tours in the last 10 years. They had a ton of energy and the acoustics were great for us (although some other folks we know who sat in other sections said the acoustics sucked for them). As a stage set goes, it was relatively simple, even for DM, though nowhere near as simple as it was on their 1998 “Greatest Hits” tour. As it was, I thought they played a good set and was pleased to see some older stuff sneak into the set list. “Fly on the windscreen”! Yay! For the first time since 1994. It was good to hear that one again. I was hoping for more old stuff (would it kill them to play something from before “Black Celebration?”), but true to recent form, they’ve been focusing on music from their post-Violator days.

Martin’s voice seems to have gotten stronger with time, as opposed to Dave, who’s voice has slowly been slipping (compare their 2001 Tour DVD to their 1994 Tour to see what I mean). Martin played only a few songs solo (“Home” and “Jezebel”), I could have heard him play a few more, but no matter. If you haven’t picked up Martin Gore’s solo albums, you should. His most recent, Counterfeit 2, is amazing.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures we took from the show!

This first picture is the stage before they took the show and before the lights went down. The “DM” logo is scrolling on the video ball in front of the screen but behind the stage. During the show, a variety of video & effects would show up on the video ball, which was pretty effective from our seats (which were fairly straight-on to the stage). I wonder what it must have looked like for people to the sides.

This next shot was taken a short way after they got started: maybe during the opening number? (“In Chains”). Martin wore a shiny silver suit and Dave wore his typical outfit, although this time he didn’t take off the vest (usually he strips it off and throws it into the audience, maybe he’s more subdued now that he’s quit doing heroin). Yes, that’s a guitar Martin is holding: he’s been playing it more and more regularly on tour since the mid 90’s.

This next shot is during “Fly On The Windscreen,” one of my favorite songs to hear them play. This may be just the 3rd tour they’ve played this song on? I liked the arrangement of this song this time, although truthfully the hip-hop influenced version from 1994 was superior.

Here they’re performing a fairly heavily-rearranged version of “In Your Room,” another fan favorite. The lighting was actually quite varied during the show, I just noticed that most of my shots only have the red lights, but trust me they used the full rainbow.

One final shot: the band taking their bow at the end of the show. Unlike last time, Martin and Dave rarely strayed from the center of the stage. I was expecting them to use the stage extension more (and was hoping for them to perform a few songs out there) but it was not to be.

I didn’t take a picture of the lesbian toe-sucking video that they played during Strangelove(!) and in retrospect that was a mistake – I would like to have had a picture to commemorate the first time I’d seen that at a concert.

All in all, a fine show, even if it was a bit like their previous tour – and the one before that too. I guess they’ve found a formula that works for them, and they stick to it. If I had to rate this show, I’d put it somewhere in the middle- it was no “World Violation” performance, but it also wasn’t as bad as their Greatest Hits tour either.

See here for the full set list for the tour: (Seattle had “Set list #11”).

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