Saturday, October 14, 2006

Depeche Mode: Touring the Angel- Live in Milan (Sire/Reprise)
release: September 26, 2006
rating: ****

It was around 1993-4 that Depeche Mode went through some major changes- Alan Wilder left the band after Songs of Faith and Devotion, Dave Gahan was dealing with personal issues (drugs), Martin Gore picked up guitar and they brought in live drums. Andy Fletcher was...well, you know. While Depeche Mode 101 was the group's defining concert moment, Touring the Angel captures the band comfortably adjusted to the changes from years ago, as well as proving them to still be a significant veteran artist that can fill an arena (in Milan I'm sure they are more appreciated than the US by more people). With a stage lighted mostly with deep, darkish muted (hey, first time i'm using that word) reds, blues and greens, the three original members, along with a live drummer and additional keyboard player, made the right choices for the setlist. I wouldn't want to know the setlist before a concert even if it's a dvd, so I'm not going to spoil anything. Let's just say that the first half, while it features a few of their best songs, is worth the wait to get to the second half, which is full of non-stop hits. This includes a couple of surprise, lesser-known songs sung by Martin Gore, who isn't the best performer due to his weird, unexciting hand movements, but has a beautiful voice to make up for it. Having seen them on this tour nearly a year ago, I felt a little disconnected from the show, but that was probably because my seat was so far away. I started feeling the same way when this video started (mainly because of the editing and effects) but because of their original sound and fantastic songs, it wasn't too long until DM reminded me why I liked them so much in the first place and why they are one of the best and most longlasting bands to come out of the new wave era. -Kenyon

and now for those like me yearning for the Mode's heyday, here's "Everything Counts" from 101 (1988).

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