Depeche Mode has long provided a sonic commentary on the state of the world, exploring politics, religion and, of course, love and lust. With an expert ability to craft aphoristic choruses, their music is distinctly recognizable and instantly memorable—and their 2017 record Spirit, the band’s 14th studio album in almost four decades, contains no shortage of the aforementioned. And it might even be their most topical and overtly political record to date.
So what would a Depeche Mode concert be without countless anthemic singalongs to songs covering this subject matter? Returning to Portland for the first time in 16 years on Monday, October 23, a packed Moda Center was more than ready to raise their voices to the rafters in honor of the legendary trio, joined by longtime touring compatriots Christian Eigner on drums and Peter Gordeno on keys and guitar. Led by our devoted guides, the blond ringleted angel and chief songsmith Martin L. Gore and the tall, dark, brooding and gyrating baritone known as David Gahan (both sporting black leather vests), Mr. Andrew Fletcher maintained his subdued presence behind dark sunglasses and an array of synths.
Reaching as far back as 1983's Construction Time Again for “Everything Counts” and 1984’s Some Great Reward to kick off the encore with Gore onstage solo singing “Somebody,” DM proceeded to hit at least one track from 10 of their following releases (leaving out only the weaker moments from their modern catalogue—2001’s Exciter and 2013’s Delta Machine—as well as their first two records).
Besides the repeated thank you’s and shouts of Portland, there was no banter. Gahan let the lyrics do the talking, along with his youthful twirls, mic stand thrusts, butt jiggles, air guitar windmills, and mid-lyric yelps. Meanwhile, Gore’s iconic riffs on “Personal Jesus,” “Enjoy The Silence” and so many others reminded of the lasting power of the synth giants.
More than a two-hour show was capped by the greatest singalong of them all (for “Personal Jesus,” natch), and the opening set featured the wholly stoked South Eugene High School grads Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, co-vocalists and guitarists of L.A.’s Warpaint.
From The Beatles’ “Revolution” playing in the moments before the band walked on stage to an encore cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” DM’s message was clear: There may be so much “Wrong” in the world today, you may feel like we’re “Going Backwards,” and you might want to scream out “Where's the Revolution”? But in the end, it’s important to see the “World in My Eyes” and understand what’s it like “Walking in My Shoes.” Know that you have “So Much Love” to give, so tell someone who doesn’t look, talk or act like you, “I Feel You.” CY
Cover Me (Alt Out) (instrumental intro)
So Much Love
Barrel of a Gun (featuring a snippet of Grandmasters Flash’s “The Message”)
A Pain That I'm Used To (Jacques Le Cont Remix version)
In Your Room
World in My Eyes
A Question of Lust
Where's the Revolution
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again
Walking in My Shoes
Heroes (David Bowie cover)
I Feel You