Concert Review: Depeche Mode at Austin360 Amphitheater: electronic icons thrill the faithful and devoted on a sultry Texas night.
It speaks to Depeche Mode’s enduring popularity that even the wide confines of Austin360 seemed barely able to contain their adoring (mostly black-clad) public last night.
It was a humid evening, but the group donned the stage just as a refreshing breeze began–a perfect omen for an energized show.
Opening with the politically charged Going Backwards (off the band’s latest album Spirit,) the group got the crowd on its feet before launching into another new track, the percolating, lustful So Much Love.
Frontman Dave Gahan continues to defy age with his physical performance, injecting evangelical fervor into classics like World in My Eyes, Enjoy The Silence and Barrel of a Gun (which ended with the singer quoting Grandmaster Flash’s The Message).
Principal songwriter Martin Gore offered backing vocal harmonies that soared over the mix (the stirring Wrong a particular standout). Longtime member Andy Fletcher was also on display, giving the occasional wave to the crowd in-between keyboard stabs.
Gore’s solo slots were all top-notch, including stirring renditions of A Question of Lust and Home, and a chill-inducing Somebody for the group’s first encore. The latter held particular significance for my wife and I (it was our wedding song), and he nailed it. He was backed on each track by keyboardist/vocalist Peter Gordeno, who complimented his vocal stylings perfectly.
In addition to a live camera feed to give those in the cheap seats a better view, the band utilized film clips (from frequent collaborator Anton Corbijn), adding layers of cinematic texture to Songs of Faith and Devotion classics In Your Room and Walking in My Shoes.
Some may have been miffed the group omitted some of their biggest singles (including Behind The Wheel, Just Can’t Get Enough and Policy of Truth) in lieu of newer material (6 Spirit tracks in all), but Depeche Mode refuse to fully indulge in legacy act nostalgia. Overall it was well-balanced between hits, new singles and deep tracks, including vintage numbers like Stripped and Everything Counts (which ended with the crowd singing the chorus in unison).
After a solid Bowie tribute (Heroes), the group finished off with two of their biggest (and bluesy) hits, a double whammy of I Feel You and Personal Jesus. The fans reached out and touched faith, and it capped the night off in fine fashion.
Depeche Mode are a band that still sound of the moment. While they’ll forever be linked to the 80’s, the current electronic indie musical landscape is largely built in their image. Their fusion of the spiritual and synthetic remains an enduring and rejuvenating proposition, keeping both band and fan young at heart.
Depeche Mode Spirit Setlist
So Much Love
Barrel of a Gun
(with ‘The Message’ (Grandmaster Flash) snippet)
A Pain That I’m Used To
(‘Jacques Lu Cont’s remix’ version)
In Your Room
World in My Eyes
A Question of Lust
Where’s the Revolution
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again
Walking in My Shoes
I Feel You