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CONCERT REVIEW: DEPECHE MODE @ THE HONDA CENTER, ANAHEIM, CA (05.22.18)

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Looking back over the years, there may not be another band more influential on my own musical DNA than Depeche Mode.  I can recall as a high school student how popular the band was, but never imagined at the time how important they would be to me personally 30 years later. As for many, Depeche Mode’s lyrics were real, meaningful, and relevant.  Combined with cutting edge visualizations (courtesy of none other than legendary photographer Anton Corbijn), Depeche Mode sparked a firestorm in my creative soul that has endured over the years and ultimately transformed into my passion for live music photography – one that to this day shapes who I am as a person. 

Walking up to the Honda Center on Tuesday night, I took a moment to reflect on Depeche Mode and how influential they were not just to me, but to music as we know it today.  Now I’m not just speaking of dance or alternative genres, but all music.  Bands like Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, and Muse all cite Depeche Mode as powerful influences on their music, and it should be no surprise with the success they have had since their humble beginnings in Basildon in 1980.  Since that time, they have released 14 studio albums, topped the charts with countless top-10 singles, and have sold north of 100 million albums worldwide.  It’s not a stretch to put Depeche Mode among my top five bands of all-time, and it shouldn’t be for you either.  This band is the real deal.

Opening for Depeche Mode was San Francisco trio, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (or B.R.M.C).  While many in attendance had little exposure to this killer rock band, I had heard them on a few previous occasions and was excited to see what they could do opening for one of the biggest bands on the planet today.  Expectations were high and am happy to report that B.R.M.C delivered on all levels. Their set-list (although limited as an opener) was tight and helped to showcase what an incredible band this is. I highly recommend picking up a copy of their latest album, 2018’s Wrong Creatures, and giving it a spin. It’s incredible.

As Depeche Mode was ready to take the stage, a near-capacity crowd at the Honda Center began to work themselves into a frenzy as The Beatles classic, “Revolution” rocked the massive amps located throughout the arena.  Fans immediately jumped to their feet as the song came to an end signaling that the show was ready to begin.  As dim lights went black, a massive video screen flickered on with Depeche Mode’s trademark Spirit Feet animation and captured the attention of a now packed arena.  Touring members Christian Eigner and Peter Gordeno were the first to take the stage, followed by original band members Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher. Then, from a catwalk high above the stage, Dave Gahan appeared.  Wearing his trademark sunglasses, he spun around a few times before throwing his fist into the air and launching into 2017’s “Going Backwards”.  With all of the political turmoil taking place around the globe, it seemed like the perfect choice to open Tuesday’s show.

Over the next 2 hours, Depeche Mode’s fans (known affectionately as Devotees) from all over the world celebrated with one another as Depeche Mode cranked out an amazing 20-song set list spanning their entire catalog.  From classics such as “Everything Counts” and “Stripped”, to more recent releases such as “Where’s the Revolution” and “Wrong”, there was something for everyone at Tuesday evenings performance.  My personal favorite of the evening was “The Things You Said”, off 1987’s Music for the Masses.  I feel this could be one of their most underappreciated songs of all-time and was super excited to hear it live (The first time since 1988). I am thinking the 10,000+ in attendance probably felt the same way I did.  The show came to a spectacular end with a killer four-song encore that consisted of an acoustic version of “I want You Now”, “Walking in My Shoes”, “A Question of Time”, and probably the most popular Depeche Mode song of all-time, “Personal Jesus”.  

As the crowd began their long walk back to the parking lot, I took a few moments to speak to several Depeche Mode fans regarding their take on the evenings show.  One fan who had flew in from Germany said that this was her first time attending a Depeche Mode show in the states and was blown away by the hospitality of fans in America.  Another from Los Angeles had said this was his 15th Depeche Mode show and couldn’t have been happier with their performance and setlist.  Comments like this were common amongst fans pouring out of the Honda Center, and validated what I had already came to realize – This was an incredible show!

Overall, I think that Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andrew Fletcher scored a “hat-trick” on Tuesday night at The Honda Center (Home of our Anaheim Ducks).  Depeche Mode’s setlist was diverse, the bands chemistry was spot on, and the crowd was fully into the show from start to finish.  And when you consider that Depeche Mode has been selling out shows for over 35 years, it’s no surprise that this band is just as solid musically as they were back in the day.  And seeing well over 75 live shows this year, I think it’s safe to say that Tuesday's performance ranked #1 for me in 2018. Bottom line, Depeche Mode will continue to put exclamation points on every show they perform this year in support of their 2018 Global Spirit Tour.  If you have a chance to see them live this year, please do.  This is a "bucket list" type of show that cannot and should not be missed.  The blokes from Basildon are at it again,  and continue to provide incredible Music for the Masses, even after all these years.

Stay Frosty and Rock On!

Setlist:

Going Backwards

It’s No Good

Barrel of a Gun

A Pain That I'm Used To

Useless

Precious

World in My Eyes

Cover Me

The Things You Said

Home

In Your Room

Where's the Revolution

Everything Counts

Stripped

Enjoy the Silence

Never Let Me Down Again

Encore:

I Want You Now (Acoustic)

Walking in My Shoes

A Question of Time

Personal Jesus

Matthew Belter

Editor - Long Beach

Website: iceboxphoto.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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