Depeche Mode @ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre – 10/06/2017
Coming off news earlier in the week of a nomination for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Depeche Mode played a highly anticipated SOLD OUT show Friday, October 6th at the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista. The trailblazing English electronic band that formed originally in 1980 in Basildon, Essex continues to pack venues internationally and is in the middle of their Global Spirit World Tour.
Traffic jams formed early around the amphitheater in preparation for Depeche Mode’s first appearance in San Diego since September 2013. Quick glances in the early evening around the parking lot resulted in an easy determination that there was a huge influx of fans from Mexico that made the trip to the venue (located a mere 3 miles from the international border).
The iconic band’s latest effort Spirit was released earlier this year and is the band’s most politically charged release to date. Their 14th studio album was heavily featured in the setlist, with 5 songs represented. In all, the 22 song, 2+ hour tour de force show was a well-produced & orchestrated performance.
Opening with the lead track off of Spirit “Going Backwards”, the song is a musical commentary on the current cultural landscape. An artistic LED backdrop bathed the set in multicolored light. The band’s lead singer, Dave Gahan entered atop a riser at rear stage and powered through the first song, setting the tone for the evening—supplying previews of his patented pelvic thrusts and snarling attitude that have become his trademark moves over the years.
Regardless of age, the 55 year old Gahan continues to be the consummate front man…slithering about the stage throughout the show and providing females with swoon-worthy moves. It is difficult for even the casual Depeche Mode fan not to appreciate the legacy that the band and singer have created. On “So Much Love” the lighting shifted, bathing the band in bright light. Gahan immediately removed his customary dress jacket, revealing a vest and bare chest.
Many of the band’s greatest hits were reserved for the second half of the set, in the meantime the band continued with “Barrel Of A Gun”, “In Your Room” and “A Pain That I’m Used To”—which was offered up with a remixed treatment. The layered synthesized groove on their latest single, “Cover Me” helped build the urgency that invoked by song’s end.
Martin Gore, the band’s lead songwriter, gave Gahan a mid-set break filling in on lead vocals for ballads “A Question Of Lust” and “Home”. Once Gahan returned the jets were turned up to the max and the main set came to a roaring seven song finale. The lead single off Spirit, ”Where’s The Revolution” is the band’s most politically charged tune to date and was met with a positive response from the nearly 20,000 fans in attendance. The band has noticeably abandoned much of the religious overtones of their late ‘80s and early ‘90s albums in favor of observations from the current global environment.
Classic hits “Everything Counts”, “Stripped”, “Enjoy The Silence” led up to the main set closer, “Never Let Me Down Again”—which always involves a high level of audience participation, the song finished with frenetic waving arms from the capacity crowd.
There is no doubt that Gahan continues to be the perfect front man, the 55 year old is still going strong after over 30+ years of touring. His charisma and energy are still highly contagious after all these years, his endurance during the 2 hour plus show is dumbfounding.
During the 5 song encore, Gore initially reemerged with keyboardist Peter Gordeno to perform “Somebody”. Gore had help singing from many in attendance, turning the amphitheater into a giant choral sing-along moment that was also accompanied by thousands of cell phone flashlights.
Gahan, keyboardist Fletch and drummer Christian Eigner returned to the stage for “Walking In My Shoes” and “Heroes”, the David Bowie hit that has been recently released as a single. A thunderous version of “I Feel You” lead into the show closer “Personal Jesus”. Gore ripped through the 1989 chart topping hit, complete with it’s unmistakable bluesy guitar riff. Fan favorites “Policy Of Truth”, “Just Can’t Get Enough”, “People Are People” and “Strangelove” were all noticeably missing from this tour’s setlist but no die-hard DM fan would bother to complain.
The band promises set list mix-ups and surprises for their upcoming run at the Hollywood Bowl, the shows (Oct 12, 14, 16 & 18) are all sold out, marking a record for the most consecutive sold out nights in the iconic LA amphitheater’s history. They continue their US dates, finishing in the Pacific Northwest later this month. The band returns for round 2 of European dates from November through February 2018 and various dates in Latin America next March.
Depche Mode Setlist: Going Backwards | So Much Love | Barrel Of A Gun | A Pain That I’m Used To | Corrupt | In Your Room | World In My Eyes | Cover Me | A Question Of Lust | Home | Poison Heart | Where’s The Revolution | Wrong | Everything Counts | Stripped | Enjoy The Silence | Never Let Me Down Again Encore: Somebody | Walking In My Shoes | Heroes | I Feel You | Personal Jesus
Depeche Mode Photo Gallery