Stade de France, Paris, France
15th June 2013
Depeche Mode & Douglas J. McCarthy
So here I am in this giant French stadium named "Le Stade de France". I didn't want to go and see them in my homeland (UK) as English crowds has never been the most supportive for DEPECHE MODE shows. My heart balanced between Germany and France until last minute and it's due to luck that I'd managed to find last minute tickets for Paris. The atmosphere was the closest you could find to the Pasadena's cult concert, at least in our imagination as few of us was really there. I won't go through a detailed track by track review and will manage to go straight to the point: I hated this concert.
I felt boredom, sometimes earache and most of all a great sadness... If I can summarize:
- Can somebody tell Martin that he is NOT a guitar player. I hear every day 15 or 20 year-old kids play better at the pub next door than Martin and especially a much better sound, more worked. Gore made an infamous boil of dirty distortion and riffs were almost played with a saw.
- Go back to electronic beats. ‘Black Celebration’ or ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ sounded like poor demos despite a great, great introduction to ‘Black Celebration’ that gave me goose bumps... but everything collapsed at the first chorus when the track is supposed to go higher in tension.
- Get rid of Corbijn. What was this dog's thing on ‘Precious’? What about the same dancing girls taken from a poor Austin Powers style, used on every tour since ages (ok, different girl, different dance but same yellow and red fluo background) on ‘I Feel You’. With the exception of screenings on ‘Heaven’ (that would have also made a great promo video) and the funny trip with the hats... it now becomes very, very embarrassing. The letters drew on ‘Welcome To My World’... same stuff as ‘Stripped’ in 1993 and I don't know how many more numbers since then
- Oldies - apart a couple of that I speak of later - are simply slaughtered! The top of it being ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’... what is this f*cking version? Even the worse midi file you find on internet sounds better than those horrible synth sounds... I wonder what Vince Clarke would think of it. And why bother performing this song while dozen of others would have been more interesting AND commercial: ‘People Are People’, ‘Shake The Disease’, ‘Master and Servant’, or if you want to go to the teen era, ‘Leave In Silence’ or ‘Photographic’.
Any Positive points? Yes of course... a couple like
- the newly reworked intro of ‘Walking In My Shoes’
- ‘Policy Of Truth’ that I found absolutely huge although nothing really new was brought to it. I do not know, there was an energy there.
- The most powerful moment to me was ‘Soothe My Soul’ that will certainly be a classic in DEPECHE repertoire and ‘Should Be Higher’ was also a very, very good moment.
- Other good things: ‘Halo’ in the splendid GOLDFRAPP remix, ‘A Pain That I'm Used To’ in Jacques Lu Cont's version with Peter Gordino on bass, ‘Higher Love’ sung by Martin and surprisingly, the awaited break of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ that was really punchy.
- Last but not least, and this has been raised by a lot of fans, the vocal performance of Gahan was hallucinating. Without a doubt, the use of ear set and more time spent on singing than shaking his ass all over the stage.
But in the end, the biggest feeling that I emotionally felt since the “Tour Of The Universe” is that they become a bit of a parody of themselves, just like a tribute band... but I've seen much better ones! While they still manage to pull out some good records, when back on stage, it's just a catastrophe. DEPECHE MODE has never been, is not and will never be a ROCK BAND! They don't have the culture in their DNA, they don't have the experience, they don't have the lifestyle, they don't have the attitude. They are one of the most incredibly talented NEW WAVE / SYNTH act that has never been, they had inspired thousands of bands in the world and it just looks like they are ashamed of it. While electronic music has been accepted all around the world why not doing a massive electronic show! For the masses maybe? Because it bothers them? Call some real decent programmer and producers and they will prepare you a set far from being boring.
They claim on still being alternative, out of the system and so on... but they deal with Sony and Livenation, their tickets price are as high as the stadium monsters... and they look like teenies who want to punch above their weight, go to see a U2 or MUSE concert guys! The stage and screens look absolutely ridiculous, the advanced catwalk is useless and nothing, NOTHING, was made to adapt the show to a stadium size. I maybe sound like a fan of the "old times" that can get over the change that happened with the year 2000's... but come one dudes! Look at the DVD of ‘Devotional’ and come to me afterward telling me this was a brilliant show of Depeche Mode. Don't ‘Lie To Me’, and most of all to yourself. Let's see what happens this winter for the arena tour or the show in the south of France, in Les Arenes de Nimes. It will certainly be more positive as they will play in places designed for their stage but I'm really, really not excited to go there again...
And for the fans who want to kill me now: I'm not a frustrated journalist. I'm a fan that truly adores this band, have an awful lot of respect towards their career and achievements. And this is certainly why the deception is so big. As you can see in the press every day, journalists love the DEPECHE MODE of today (while they were insulting them 15 years ago)... probably because DM is now part of their world?
02. Welcome to My World
04. Walking in My Shoes
06. Black Celebration
07. Policy of Truth
08. Should Be Higher
09. Barrel of a Gun
10. Higher Love (Sung by Martin)
11. Judas (Acoustic, Sung by Martin)
13. Soothe My Soul
14. A Pain That I'm Used To ('Jacques Lu Cont's Remix' version)
15. A Question of Time
16. Secret to the End
17. Enjoy the Silence
18. Personal Jesus
20. Home (Acoustic)
22. Halo ('Goldfrapp Remix' version)
23. Just Can't Get Enough
24. I Feel You
25. Never Let Me Down Again
All pictures from Nice by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)