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Concert Reviews:
Depeche Mode gets its goth on during North American tour opener at DTE

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Depeche Mode fans, as the songs says, just can't get enough of the British electro-rock troupe -- especially when it only tours every three years or so.

But they certainly got their fill on Thursday night, Aug. 22, when the group opened the North American leg of its Delta Machine Tour at the DTE Energy Music Theatre with a visually arresting 21-song set that stretched just over two hours, celebrating more than three decades of techno-goth glories as much as it promoted this year's "Delta Machine" album.

And if there were any concerns about rust after more than three weeks off the road, they were discounted early in the show, with frontman Dave Gahan sashaying around the stage and brandishing his microphone stand like a classic arena rocker from the 70s.

Anyone who's been paying attention over the years knows that Depeche Mode in concert is a markedly more potent concern than its studio counterpart, and that certainly held true at DTE. Fortified by a pair of adjunct touring musicians -- particularly rock-solid drummer Christian Eigner -- the group played with force and bite that's not always evident on its carefully crafted studio work, lending muscle to even moodier fare such as the opening salvo af "Welcome to My World" and "Angel," both from "Delta Machine." "Walking in My Shoes" offered a bit more stomp and swagger, and the show really hit its stride early with romps through "Black Celebration," "Policy of Truth," the new album's "Should Be higher" and "Barrel of a Gun."

Gore took lead vocals on a quiet coupling of "Higher Love" and "But Not Tonight," and later on the similarly gentle "Home." Depeche Mode interestingly skipped "Delta Machine" singles such as "It's No Good" and "Dream On," but "Soothe My Soul" and "Should Be Higher" kept in step with a rash of older favorites like "A Pain That I'm Used To," "A Question of Time," "Enjoy the Silence" and "Personal Jesus."

The extensive video production -- including a massive video wall at rear stage -- enhanced the set with a combination of live footage and produced treatments, including arty, black-and-white Anton Corbijn films for "Heaven" and "Halo." "Precious" was an early-show winner thanks to a video montage of irresistibly cute dogs, and a lengthy "Enjoy The Silence," meanwhile, was accompanied by a clip of three female contortionists who held painful looking positions for the extended duration of the tune.

A finishing blast -- "Just Can't Get Enough," a granite "I Feel You" and "Never Let Me Down Again" -- brought the show to a buoyant close and certainly gave the faithful enough of a fix to tide them over for the next few years until the group rolls through town again.

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