Depeche Mode’s 3 night reign at Staples Center ended with a bang Wednesday, October 2. The attendance about equaled their Rose Bowl concert of 1989, but spread out over 3 nights. No doubt, some fans attended all 3 nights.
DM seared through their set, front loaded with their best tracks from their latest album, Delta Machine. They thundered though blistering renditions of “Welcome to My World,” “Should Be Higher,” “Sooth My Soul,” “Heaven,” and “Angel.” Lead singer Dave Gahan shows no signs of slowing down, grinding and strutting as if no time has passed. Gahan is cooler than ever.
Martin Gore evokes a million moods, often through guitar riffs processed to sound like synthesizer effects back in the mid-80s. Live, the guitar rings out unashamed over keyboards when DM play their extensive back catalog, shedding new light on old classics. They jumped full force into powerhouse songs like “A Pain That I’m Used To,” and their more muscular grunge-tinged songs from the ‘90s, spotlighting Gore. With a guitar in his hands, Gore sparkles like the glittery array he dons. Guitar Player magazine gave Gore a late-in-coming nod in 2009.
When he steps forward to sing a solo, Gore commands the stage completely with his rich voice and pared down piano arrangements of “The Child Inside,” “Shake The Disease,” and “But Not Tonight.” He often plays the keyboard parts in the air, reaching toward the sky. The audience quieted down and cheered vociferously at the end. Gore smiles to the bursting point, like he still can’t believe people love his songs. He humbly says a simple thank you.
Full of surprises, they leave room for improvisation. Gore let out bluesy riffs during “Sooth My Soul,” “Personal Jesus” dipped beats that made you want to Samba. They still prefer to let the music do the talking, and get the audience singing along. There are no long speeches or stories, just smiles and thank yous.
Most of the focus is taken up by Gore and Gahan. Andy Fletcher, Fletch to friends and fans, looked quite healthy and focused his efforts on looking cool. And, yes, he was playing the keyboards. The backing band of Peter Gordeno on keyboards and bass, and drummer Christian Eigner fill in that more rock-oriented live sound. But one thing went on practically un-altered; the bouncy, tripping 1981 dance hit, “Just Can’t Get Enough” penned by former band member Vince Clarke who went on to score hits with Yazoo (with Allison Moyet) and Erasure (with Andy Bell).
As much as there is to love about Depeche Mode’s past work, their latest work proves they are still relevant and fresh. They scored a number 6 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and number 1 on the Alternative Albums chart, and Top Rock Albums chart with "Delta Machine." Their fans range in age from children to adults in their 40s. In case anyone is worried about their cheaper nosebleed seats not being good, take heart. Not only do DM light up a stadium, they look like their spry younger selves from far away. They’re sure to be bringing a blistering set out to your city. Please check out their website for links to social media and tour dates www.DepecheMode.com.