Depeche Mode At The O2

February, 22, 2010 / 0 comments

By Rob Virtue ~

Depeche Mode’s stylish return to The O2 helps ease bus-based pain, writes Geoff Cowart.

Thirty miles from where they formed in Basildon, and 30 years since they first crashed onto the post-punk electro scene, Depeche reappeared on Saturday night.

Not that they ever went away, they would be keen to point out.

The Mode have been touring consistently for years – and despite an illness in 2009 that forced the New Wave pioneers to cancel a previous O2 gig – the Essex boys were keen to promote their new album Sounds of the Universe.

Happy Birthday is not on the album.

But it was sung by the sell-out crowd, who defied the horrendously-slow replacement bus service to the North Greenwich venue, in honour of keyboard player Peter Gordeno.

However, In Chains, Wrong and Hole to Feed are on the band’s new disc and Gahan took special care in reminding his legion of loyal fans that they are not just another reunion band.

Hey, we’re still making music here, he seemed to suggest, as he paraded in front of the Anton Corbijn graphics in a full suit and waistcoat.

Who would guess just nine months ago he was in surgery.

Looking physically fit, and seemingly immune to ageing, Gahan with slicked-back black hair was on top form.

Slowly discarding items of clothing as he prowled the stage he almost looked like he was auditioning for a job at Stringfellows as the 47-year-old mercilessly groped his microphone stand.

While at other times Gahan skipped across the stage like a flamenco dancer.

He was almost taunting the crowd as he patrolled the catwalk as he slunk into their midst, while delivering every line in his note-perfect baritone, ably supported by the shy guys with the instruments behind him.

But it wasn’t long before the crowd-pleasing hits began to appear, with Walking in My Shoes, World in My Eyes and Policy of Truth raising the tension across the million square feet of the arena, before a slew of balloons was unleashed on the crowd.

Just what the balloons and the song Policy of Truth (a chart-topping sideswipe about former US President Richard Nixon) have to do with each other is another matter.

Probably nothing – but as theatre, the Dave Gahan show was becoming majestic, almost dictatorial in its own right. And then came God.

Closing with crowd favourite Personal Jesus, the crowd was on its feet and the night had been masterfully choreographed to lead just to this point.

It was a clinical, powerful display by a veteran band pulling all the strings in a breathtaking live performance.

And then it was time to once again take a ride with an old friend – the rail replacement bus service.

I may have been lucky to escape north Greenwich, but it would be no surprise that by the next time the Mode take The O2 stage a few fans will still be waiting in the queue for one of those buses.

Source: The Wharf