Clearly I’m not as big of a Depeche Mode fan as I thought. Considering I didn’t know the majority of their songs while the rest of the huge crowd sang along indicated to me I had lost touch with the band after their big hit album, “Violator.” I can be fine with that. But I can’t decide if I was fine with the lack of signature Mode songs played Saturday night.
Depeche Mode does put on a good show if not just shades below a great show. Having never seen them live, I was surprised by the energy of the bad considering their overall dark tone. Lead singer Dave Gahan was all over the stage in his sinewy fit form, black pants and vest dancing up a tizzy owning both the stage and the audience. His performance alone is comparable to the likes of David Bowie or Freddie Mercury and the audience ate up his every move and word. He’s not much for banter but the crowd roared at his simple “yeeeeahs” or “Hey Dallas!”
Martin Gore was the perfect antithesis to Gahan. He anchored Gahan’s spastic and continuous movement by jamming in one spot with his big-ass guitar. This isn’t to say he was less interesting. There is something about Gore that made it hard to take my eyes off. His curly blond hair still flopped when he sang and his eyes are still so haunting. He may be one of the few musicians who can be present yet still makes you wonder what he’s thinking.
The trippiest part of the show was the back screen. Video segments of Mode in astronaut uniforms to bouncing balls to James Bond girl silhouettes were amazing but it was the live part that messed with my head in such a good way. Cameras catching the action onstage played back behind the band. Effects relayed the show in grainy black and white or sometimes in beautifully blue fashion that felt like I was watching something altogether different, like watching a DVD of the concert yet it was all happening live. Or maybe I’m just easily entertained. When the footage completely filled the screen, it was magnificent to see Gahan fill up the stage and seeing his nuanced facial expressions. The camerawork was gloriously reminiscent of old Doors footage or cheesy camera angles from ’60s television but updated with high energy and edgy effects.
They had a way of making Dallas feel like we were the only stop on the tour. It seemed more like they wanted to put on a good show for us as opposed to just another night on their tour. But I can’t help be disappointed by their lack of signature songs. “Enjoy the Silence,” “Personal Jesus,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” and a couple of other familiar hits made the cut but their omissions were blatant. It was almost blasphemous they didn’t play “Master and Servant” or “People Are People.” Throughout the concert, they vacillated between slow and fast songs and did the same for their two encores but missed the mark completely. “Personal Jesus” ramped up their second encore but ended with the dirge-like “Waiting for the Night.” We waited with anticipation thinking they would then bust out with “Strangelove,” the song everyone screamed for and seemed the most likely. It wasn’t. The show was officially over.
The audience clapped and hollered. The crowd was not at all disappointed but outside I overheard people discussing missing songs.”They didn’t play…,” was what I heard the most and followed by a catalog of songs that made me think, “Oh yeah.” The show was good enough to make a strong impression. I was able to go home and listen to the songs they didn’t play and had as good a time imagining, “What if.”
Extra note: If you’re tall and you see everyone around you sit down for the slow song, please join them. Yeah, I’m talking to you Row S Seat 5.