Depeche Mode, 2017, used with permission by kind courtesy of Columbia Records / Sony (Hollywood Sentinel)
Depeche Mode Conquer Hollywood, in this Music Review by Hollywood Sentinel publisher Bruce Edwin, for subnormal magazine
— Bruce Edwin
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, USA, November 6, 2017 — Depeche Mode; World Spirit Tour (with Warpaint)
Hollywood, Calfornia, USA; The Hollywood Bowl
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Warpaint took the stage promptly at 7:30pm, delivering nearly an hour of amazing, passionate, beautiful songs, like masters of the stage, and completely in their element for a show this size. The sound for Warpaint was mind-blowingly great, perfectly miked deep and sharp, cutting in every stellar note and minor and major chord to perfection. Tearing out stunning tracks starting with their newer “Heads Up,” they then lead into the brilliant “Elephants,” “So Good,” “Bees,” “Intro,” “Keep It Healthy,” and the beautiful “Love is to Die,” with their newer cut “New Song” next which dominated the night, making a perfect night that was just the beginning. The brilliant punk-like song “Disco” (from the Disco / Very back to back single) closed out the set by this phenomenal, brilliant, beautiful band of rock goddesses.
When New Wave Was Underground
Before 80’s Music was called 80’s music, when it actually ‘was’ the eighties, most so-called 80’s bands that we know of and love today, were, back in the day – called New Wave – and most of them couldn’t even get played on the radio, back when radio actually mattered – before the internet, and before You Tube.
During their earliest years, bands including the Cure, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and others were called “New Wave,” and later “alternative” rock. And – those of us that listened to such music – as well as punk rock, were called “freaks.” Duran Duran became more teeny bopper and mainstream – yet stayed great. Depeche Mode was a part of that early new wave scene, and always remained more underground in their sound and fan base in the beginning, yet went on to influence some of the greatest bands of all time after their rise, across multiple genres.
Seeing these legends, for the fourth and final show at the Hollywood Bowl, was itself – mind-blowing. Seeing them with nearly 20,000 other fans – was itself a shock, considering I used to listen, transfixed to Depeche Mode most of my life – starting at around 15 years of age.
Gone were the videos of scantily clad female fashion models – save for the sexy video of a female ballet dancer. Darker images dominated the video backdrops of the stage with images of the band, along with rockets, space scenes, and at times even animals among more – artistically shot, and ranging from color to black and white.
Martin Gore crooned; beautifully singing back up, and with his solo ballads perfectly on key, and his stunning wide range expertly on point. The audience howled with delight at his soaring ballads and romantic voice.
Long standing band member Andy Fletcher was flawless on keys. Supporting guest members Peter Gordeno rounded out more keys, vocals, and bass, and Christian Eigner jammed on drums.
David Gahan reigned; prowling, strutting, and spinning round and round in circles at times – and fluidly waving his arms like a dancerly, gothic angel. His voice – stunningly perfect, ageless, spine tingling, and mesmerizing. The sound of his every vocal intonation filled up each and every cell and fiber of every body under the crisp, cool, perfect fall Hollywood night.
With occasional howls, growls, and “yeah!” shout outs, at times the band broke into seemingly spontaneous back-beat instrumentation for seventeen thousand person strong sing-alongs. They deftly captivated the masses with an impressive, group-like, religious-style experience of Depeche Mode audience voices under the stars. “Yeah! Yeah! Come on! Sing!” Gahn encouraged the audience, “This is Hollywood after all!” – adding to the excitement of this legendary night in the most famous of all cities.
Devastatingly handsome, David Gahn evolved during his career from a boyish, British heart-throb – later in black eyeliner, to a tattooed stud with long jet black hair, to today – a Harley riding Latin-lover-like Rock Star, perfectly in charge of his voice, his body, and the stage. Seducing the already seduced audience; the camera zoomed in on David on a couple of occasions; grabbing his crotch, grinding against the mic stand, and shaking his hips like the sex symbol he also is – which he owns so well.
Opening their set by playing the introduction to The Beatles “Revolution,” Depeche Mode are the consummate professionals. With technical perfection at every turn; every note and every beat blended into a symphony of danceable bliss. If the band made one error – it was undetectable. If there was one dull moment, it was between a fast blink of the eyes.
“Cover Me” instrumental followed, into a brilliant version of “Going Backwards,” “Barrel of a Gun,” “A Pain That I’m Used To,” “Corrupt,” “In Your Room,” “World In My Eyes,” “Cover Me,” “A Question of Lust,” “Home,” “Poison Heart,” “Where’s the Revolution,” “Wrong,” “Everything Counts,” “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” and then a short break for an encore.
The band returned to play “Somebody,” and even a Bowie cover of “Heroes,” where David Gahn sang – “You can all be heroes!” to the Hollywood crowd. They continued with “I Feel You,” “Walking In My Shoes” featuring a video of a pretty guy in drag getting dressed up in makeup and heels, and closing the night out with a rocking version of “Personal Jesus.” Ultimately, this show proved to be without question, one of the great moments in the history of music, by one of the greatest bands of all time.
Bruce Edwin gives a very special thanks to Depeche Mode, and Columbia Records / Sony.
Depeche Mode next plays Dublin, Ireland, with tour dates detailed at their official website here below.
Hollywood Sentinel Public Relations
email us here
Depeche Mode; Where's the Revolution