15th January 2018
Depeche Mode & Pumarosa
If there’s a band that packs out massive stadiums all around the world and makes the entire audience, from the front lines at the stage till the top tears up above, completely lose it, a band that makes all those who had tickets for the seats jump up euphorically as the intro resounds awaiting the musicians to hit the stage, a band that makes their fans dance from the first sounds on making the benches shake to the beat and sing along every single line with a big smile on their faces - it’s DEPECHE MODE.
We are glad to have been part of their “Global Spirit Tour” extravaganza at the sold-out Lanxess Arena in Cologne and have to tell the world: DM put on a grand and heartfelt show; the band was radiating joy and passion and their fans were shining with gratitude. DM novices and also disciples who had been following the act for many, many years sang from the same hymn sheet: The DEPECHE MODE show on January 15th was yet another absolutely delightful and truly high-spirited event to be remembered.
Under the name of PUMAROSA, Isabel Muñoz-Newsome (vocals, guitar), Henry Brown (bass), Tomoya Sukuzi (keys, saxophone), Jamie Neville (guitar), and Nicholas Owen (drums) create their “Industrial Spiritual” sound. The London-based act, founded in the beginning of 2015, brought out their debut titled ‘The Witch’ last year: “None of us having made an album before - that’s years of condensed experience. A long period of life has gone into these songs.” http://pumarosamusic.com / https://www.facebook.com/pumarosamusic
Music & Performance
PUMAROSA hit the stage in the dark and just a little bit of blue light set some dreamy, atmospheric vibes for their ethereal opener ‘Dragonfly’. Isabel’s clear and prominent vocals resound in the arena and she creates a hypnotic guitar sound by softly hammering the strings with a drum mallet making it clang like a bell. By the forth song, the crowd is under the spell of the siren and applauds the band’s electrifying Dreampop. Unfortunately, the musicians aren’t equally lit on stage. However, no matter where one is standing, one cannot miss the dynamic front woman who’s running and jumping and moving around wildly swirling her arms and shaking her hair in her interpretive dance. The audience gives them a big hand for their mesmerising and powerful eight-minute-long dance tune ‘Priestess’. Isabel thanks DEPECHE MODE for bringing them along to play “such Colosseums” and tells the Lanxess crowd that it’s their last show tonight. The five-piece from London have used their 35 minutes of playing time to show that they are an exciting live act inviting one to dream, groove and rock along. Thumbs up for their atmospheric Indie Rock that at times powerfully culminates in psychedelic outbursts.
Total: 8 / 10
It’s been for over three decades that DEPECHE MODE from Basildon, Esexx, have moved and inspired electronic music lovers from all around the globe. Their debut album ‘Speak & Spell’ came out in 1981 and their fourteenth opus ‘Spirit’, produced by James Ford, was unleashed on the world in 2017. In celebration of ‘Spirit’ the band kicked off their “Global Spirit Tour” in May 2017 to play, on the whole, 120 gigs all around the globe. Last summer, DM rocked with their “Devotees” at the Rheinenergiestadion in Cologne open-air. This January, they were back in town again and on the agenda was to raise the roof of the Lanxess Arena. http://www.depechemode.com / https://www.facebook.com/depechemode
Music & Performance
It’s 8:45 pm, the lights turn off, and about 20,000 DM folks silently watch a video clip of the non-profit organisation charity:water (https://www.charitywateruk.org) on the huge screen above the stage. DEPECHE MODE and Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot have partnered to make everybody aware of the mission to bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries. This time, the goal is to raise funds bringing clean water to 50,000 people around the world. Then, ‘Revolution’ by THE BEATLES resounds and the crowd knows the time has come. The fan next to me switches on her colourful disco gloves that glow in the dark and she’s not the only one starting to clap and stomp enthusiastically looking forward for DM to grace the stage. One by one Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher, supported by drummer Christian Eigner and bassist/keyboardist Peter Dean Gordeno, are greeted with a loud round of applause. DM begin with the slow-building opener ‘Backwards’ and finally, also front man Dave Gahan appears.
First, we only see his silhouette against the brightly coloured screen that makes him look like a tiny black figure on a vast Modernist painting. Then, he sweeps across the stage with spread arms and the arena cheers. His warm baritone grabs and guides us and the arena turns into an amazing DM choir right from the first song on. ‘It’s No Good’ from ‘Ultra’ (1997) is up next, the drums sound killer together with the familiar intro riff, and Dave swirls around himself super-fast arms spread like a windmill. The wonderful wide screens showing black-and-white close-ups of the band bring the heroes closer to their fans. So, also those celebrating in the back or in the stands high up above get some peeks of the front row feel. One can see that Dave is already drenched with sweat giving everything he’s got. No one rocks a sleeveless vest as he does and with a smirk he walks around as if he’s on a catwalk, points towards the fans, sticks out his tongue, shakes his hips, grabs his crotch, jumps around, bends wide forward, does the chicken dance, and shakes hands with those lucky fans in the front. The vocalist seems fit like a ballerino as he takes us on a wild ride full of memories with the help of twenty songs.
Dave barely needs to animate the arena to clap along as they start to play another fan-favourite: The heart-wrenching ‘Precious’ from ‘Playing the Angel’ (2005) earns a thunderous round of applause. We do enjoy our “pain and suffering in various tempos”. The vocals of Gahan and Gore harmonise greatly, the audience joins in, and when Martin’s guitar is in the limelight both gents are back to back like supporting beams. Dave smiles and blows the audience a kiss before the band moves to the next smasher, the magical ‘World In My Eyes’. During the stellar, slow piece ‘Cover Me’ from the latest record, the music video is shown on the backdrop. And while astronaut Gahan floats weightless through space in the video, real Dave on stage leans back and orbits his arm round and round in slow motion and the fans go wild. The older ‘Insight’ makes for the perfect follower. Martin and Peter stun the audience by presenting it as a gripping piano tune and create another calmer moment. Martin remains in the spotlight singing ‘Home’ beautifully. Towards the end of the song he conducts the “Lanxess choir” that keeps on chanting along the melody.
‘Where’s the Revolution’ is the third and final track presented from ‘Spirit’. During the timeless and much celebrated classic ‘Enjoy The Silence’, various animals in neon lighting appear on the screen moving in slow-mo. These evocative images contribute greatly to the melancholic aspect of popular tune that is at the same time driving. Dave holds up his mike towards the people making us all sing the chorus at the top of our lungs. And after he counts “Eins, zwei, drei, vier!” in German the fans clap their hands to the beat till the end of the song. The beloved ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ calls for a sea of arm swaying from left to right before DEPECHE MODE end their diverse set - for the moment. Of course the sold-out and cheering arena brings them back on stage for a phenomenal encore, the cream topping of the night.
‘Strangelove’ as another piano version sang by Martin with 20,000 voices supporting him suddenly makes one wish for a DEPECHE MODE acoustic tour. The ever marvellous and honest piece ‘Walking In My Shoes’, the second single from their seventh studio album, ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’ (1993), appears in a new social context dealing with gender identity. The video in the background shows the transformation of a male musician doing his morning routine. He does his hair and make-up, gets dressed, and walks in damn high heels to some bar for a gig. Then, after the up-tempo stomper ‘A Question Of Time’, the devotees finally celebrate along to the cult hit song ‘Personal Jesus’. And so, it is for the very last time that the entire arena turns into a sea of raised arms to “reach out and touch faith.” What a phenomenal evening with DM in Cologne. Hats off!
01. Going Backwards
02. It’s No Good
03. Barrel Of A Gun
04. A Pain That I’m Used To
07. World In My Eyes
08. Cover Me
11. In Your Room
12. Where’s the Revolution
13. Everything Counts
15. Enjoy The Silence
16. Never Let Me Down Again
18. Walking In My Shoes
19. A Question Of Time
20. Personal Jesus
Total: 10 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)