Review - Depeche Mode @ SAP Center (10/8/17)

Kevin Keating
David Gahan of Depeche Mode
David Gahan of Depeche Mode (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Depeche Mode performed the first of two Bay Area shows last night at the sold out SAP Center in San Jose to promote the release of their 14th full length album, Spirit (iTunes). If you missed the concert, you’ll have another shot tomorrow night (Tuesday) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Tickets can still be found here. The band’s supported by the LA-based Warpaint, who put on a solid 40 minute warm-up set that showed signs of The Cure, The Smiths, and Fleetwood Mac.

The three core members of Depeche Mode, David Gahan (vocals), Martin Gore (guitar), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards), were joined by Christian Eigner (drums), and Peter Gordeno (keyboards), both of whom have been performing with the band since the late 90’s.
Andy Fletcher & David Gahan of Depeche Mode
Andy Fletcher & David Gahan of Depeche Mode (Photo: Kevin Keating)
DM’s set kicked off right at 8:45pm and continued for a solid 135 minutes with an incredibly diverse range of songs from their massive catalog. Their new album, Spirit, was given the most attention, with 5 of the 22 songs performed throughout the night, and the band did their best to spread out the love across 9 of their other albums, not including a touching cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”, which coincidentally, is the same song that got David Gahan the frontman job for Depeche Mode back in 1980 after he was heard by Martin, Andy and former founding member, Vince Clarke.

But if there’s a single complaint from the night, I’m guessing that the majority of the audience would have appreciated a few more of the radio hits from their back catalog. This was underscored by a fan sitting behind me, who probably had a bit too much to drink, and who yelled about halfway into the show “Play more classics!” In fact, it wasn’t until the seventh song that the band played “World In My Eyes” which got the crowd to their feet. But any momentum the band had was lost when Martin Gore took the lead on a bare bones and slow-tempo, “A Question of Lust”. The slower rendition performed by only Martin and Peter on keyboards, gave the rest of the band a quick, well-deserved break offstage.
Martin Gore of Depeche Mode
Martin Gore of Depeche Mode (Photo: Kevin Keating)
What possibly impressed me the most last night was the sheer energy from David Gahan. Whether he was belting out a fan favorite, or leading the charge on one of their newer tracks, David was the sole member showing the crowd that Depeche Mode is still a force to be reckoned with! And although Depeche Mode is nearly 40 years old, David worked the stage with unending energy and his voice sounded fantastic.

For me, highlights of the night included: Spirit’s “Where’s the Revolution”, the Bowie cover “Heroes”, Music for the Masses’ “Never Let Me Down Again”, and everything from Violator (“Enjoy the Silence”, “World In My Eyes”, and the closing number, “Personal Jesus”.) Given the health challenges that David’s encountered in the past, he seemed to be in top form last night and here’s hoping that it continues through the rest of the tour and beyond.

If you have the chance, you won’t want to miss this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominated band when they come to your town! Be sure to check out the remainder of their tour dates here!

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Depeche Mode Setlist SAP Center, San Jose, CA, USA 2017, Global Spirit Tour

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