Last week, ’80s stalwarts and new wave innovators Depeche Mode brought their signature synth pop to Orlando for the first time since 1998 (the closest they’ve come has been Tampa a couple of times since then) for what many have labeled a “comeback” tour (original keyboardist and founding member Andy Fletcher past away last year, leaving just singer Dave Gahan and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore as the two lone original members).
Admittedly, I was not quite prepared for the laborious, twenty-five song set list that lay ahead at the Amway Center last Tuesday, October 10; as only a casual fan of the band, I was more or less there out of my wife’s insistence. To make matters worse, photo passes for media were limited for the event (and Rewind It were one of many not to be issued one), and rather than bringing a contemporary with them to open the show, that duty was given to a bland New York-based outfit called DIIV (pronounced “Dive”), who maybe I might’ve shown some interest in had I first heard them ten years ago.
Earlier this year I had actually given Depches’ latest album, Memento Mori, a favorable review for Rewind It. But after hearing far more tracks from it than expected live (six out of a total of twelve of the album’s tracks were actually performed), I was slightly over it. “Speak to Me,” “My Cosmos is Mine,” “Wagging Tongue,” “Walking in My Shoes,” “It’s No Good,” “Sister of Night,” and “In Your Room” were not exactly the strongest songs from the band’s extensive catalogue to kick the night off with.
“Everything Counts” finally started bringing things in the right direction, before “Precious,” “My Favourite Stranger,” “A Question of Lust,” “Soul With Me,” “Ghosts Again” (one of the more favorable tracks from Memento…), “I Feel You,” “A Pain That I’m Used To,” “World in My Eyes,” “Wrong,” and “Stripped” all followed.
But the band truly saved the best for last, with “John the Revelator,” “Enjoy the Silence,” “Condemnation,” (with a brief rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” thrown in for good measure, dedicated to a 16-year-old member of the audience), “Just Can’t Get Enough,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” and lastly, the grand finale of “Personal Jesus” closing out the already exhausting evening.
Although they might have ended on a high note, there were still far too many of the band’s classics missing from the set, including “People are People,” “Policy of Truth,” and one of my personal favorites, “Blasphemous Rumors” (I’d take any one of those tracks over “Just Can’t Get Enough” any day). But I digress; regardless of what songs they included in their set, there’s no denying the everlasting imprint Depeche Mode have left on modern music, so to hear them live at least once in this lifetime was fully worth the investment.