REVIEW: Depeche Mode in Bucharest: Feelings are intense, words are trivial

Newsroom 17/05/2013 | 14:34

Reach out to see the review and pictures from the Depeche Mode concert in Bucharest, as part of the Delta Machine Tour.

Back in the 90’s, when Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan was heavily using drugs, he was nicknamed The Cat, for his uncanny ability to survive, against all odds, several brushes with death. But, judging from his feline movements and stage presence, this nickname should stick even now.

It was the second time Depeche Mode was playing Bucharest and Gahan was in top form.

It could have been the third time, had they not cancelled their concert due to his illness in 2009. The previous Tour of the Universe was anyway strewn with bad luck. After being diagnosed with a malignant tumor and undergoing surgery, he was back on the road but bad luck seemed to follow him everywhere: he sprained his ankle during a show and experienced voice problems on a number of occasions, not to mention having to undergo treatment quite often. ”Every time we took a break, I went back to the hospital for some more treatment, so it was a bit of an uphill battle. But the tour itself and the shows themselves were absolutely extraordinary. Talk about a mixture that lifts your spirits!,” he said in an interview for Billboard.

However, Delta Machine seems to have started off on the right foot. Gahan was on fire in Bucharest, which was scheduled after Tel Aviv, Athens or Sofia as part of the batch of dates they didn’t get to play during their previous tour. It seems like an auspicious start.

Official estimations say that 45,000 attended the concert on the revamped National Arena. Groups of people kept on flowing in, even after opening act Fox had completed their part.

Welcome to My World, the first track off Delta Machine, kicked off the show. “And if you stay a while/I’ll penetrate your soul/I’ll bleed into your dreams/You’ll want to lose control,” Gahan sang, while the fans in the front of the stage rolled out a huge billboard saying “Welcome to Our World.”

Angel, the first single released by the band off Delta Machine throbbed like heartbeats, and it was followed by the classic Walking in My Shoes from the album Songs of Faith and Devotion.

The visuals of the tour are nothing short of riveting. In charge of them was famous Dutch photographer and film-maker Anton Corbijn, an old collaborator of the band whose name can be linked to videos such as Enjoy the Silence and Personal Jesus.

Precious, one of the hits from the band’s 2005 album Playing the Angel was accompanied in the background by a moving video picturing man’s best friends, the dog, while in the background of Enjoy the Silence ran an intriguing clip of women bodies twisted in such a way to resemble the shape of the Greek letter Delta.

In 30 years of making music, Depeche Mode have gathered an army of fans from all walks of life- from the 20 year olds, who came in contact with their music on the iPod to the 50 year olds who were re-playing their vinyls or cassette tapes beyond repair. In the Bucharest crowd too, the mix of ages could easily be seen. Most were clad in Depeche Mode black T-shirts, so from a bird’s view all one could see was a sea of black.

While Gahan took a few moments backstage to catch his breath, Martin Gore, the band’s primary songwriter, took his place, playing Higher Love, which is part of Songs of Faith and Devotion. Accompanied by Peter Gordeno on the keyboard, Gore sang “Heaven bound on the wings of love/ There’s so much that you can rise above”… and the entire stadium went mute. And it stayed that way until he wrapped up his part.

When asked by journalists how they pick out the songs that they will play in the tour, the band members said that it is a complicated process in which each of them pitches in his proposals and the decision is made in such a way that the concert is a mix between newly released songs, stadium stompers like I Feel You or Personal Jesus and tracks that were barely played before like When The Body Speaks– for the hard-core fans who always want to hear something new. This is probably why some famous pieces such as World in My Eyes, Strange Love, Everything Counts, People Are People, It’s No Good or Behind the Wheel had to be left out.

During A Question of Time, the master of ceremonies was leading the show with an iron hand, stomping his feet, making pirouettes with the microphone and causing roars from the crowd at every look or every lift of his hands. After the first song, he had abandoned his jacket for his famous vest but when the first guitar riffs of I Feel You kicked off, he took that off as well for the rest of the show.

Never Let Me Down Again closed the show amidst cheers and a sea of hands in the air. “The crowd was great, it was a perfect night. We must do it again!,” founding member Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher told organizers backstage after the show.

 Otilia Haraga


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