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Title: Tour Of The Universe: Barcelona 20./21.11.2009
Artist: Depeche Mode
Genre: Electronic/Pop
Release Date: 5th Nov. 2010 (Germany) / 8th Nov. 2010 (Europe) / 9th Nov. 2010 (North America)
Label: Mute/EMI

DVD Review

Finally it’s here – DEPECHE MODE’s live DVD from their 2009/2010 ‘Tour Of The Universe’! Almost a year after being recorded on location in Barcelona the package – available in three different formats – hits the stores, just in time for the Christmas sales!

The ‘Tour Of The Universe’ was a two-edged sword for the band. On the one hand it was their most successful tour to date with sold-out football stadiums all across Europe in summer 2009, selling out arenas and amphi theatres in North America subsequently just to return to Europe for equally sold-out indoor shows in winter 2009/2010. Even South America was granted with a few shows, something the fans down there had to wait for no less than 15 years!

On the other hand it was their most difficult tour with lots of small hiccups and mere disasters – first and foremost Dave Gahan’s cancer diagnosis and the following surgery, which resulted in more cancelled shows than in the previous 29 years altogether. Considering the abysmal news in May 2009, it’s a surprise that DEPECHE MODE continued the tour at all. That Dave Gahan was back on stage only four weeks after the surgery seems to be a miracle - and I will never forget the gig at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, when tens of thousands of fans were in total frenzy to welcome Gahan back who was stunningly in top form and totally on fire this night!

The DVD ‘Tour Of The Universe: Barcelona 20. /21.11.2009’ gives you a very good idea about the euphoria and ecstasy of a DEPECHE MODE concert. Barcelona is known for excellent crowds, and perhaps that’s a main reason why DEPECHE MODE picked this city to film the DVD. Although DEPECHE MODE are not the most talkative musicians on stage, there is a strong bond between band and the fans. The way director Russell Thomas filmed this live DVD showcases the euphoric atmosphere of a DM show and this connection between band and followers excellently! There are lot of crowd shots in the concert footage, and not just standard shots but also cameras directly *in* the crowd. This gives you almost a feeling of actually being at the show!

All in all, this concert movie just looks gorgeous! Compared to the rather experimental 2006 DVD ‘Touring the Angel - Live in Milan’, which was full of obscure effects, the filming is rather conventional this time around. But it looks sublime and very high-end, also thanks to the widescreen aspect ratio. The audio of the concert is just on par with the visual side. The sound track of the main disc is available as Stereo PCM and 5.1 Dolby Digital, and the mix is very clear and crisp. Perhaps there’s a bit too much echo but that’s probably what you get in huge arenas. Apart from this minor complaint this DVD offers one of the best official DEPECHE MODE live recordings ever! The concert footage sounds big, has a lot oomph and yet all the little details of DEPECHE MODE’s synth music are there.

Unlike some other DEPECHE MODE live recordings, the actual atmosphere at the show comes across fine. The balance between music and crowd noise is spot on, and I noticed that all the fans’ sing-alongs are loud and clear. You hear the fans where you supposed to hear them, and you hear them less when the music itself should be the only focus. I can’t say this about too many official DEPECHE MODE live releases; more often than not the audience is too low in the mix, which might sound pretty awkward during parts where Gahan lets the crowd sing!
My major complaint about this DVD is the same as regarding the last leg of the ‘Tour Of The Universe’ - quite obviously! It is the selection of songs you find here. DEPECHE MODE have by now a reputation of playing always the same old songs at their tours. In fact, eleven songs on this DVD were already on the 2006 DVD ‘Touring The Angel’ - which means that half of both DVD’s track lists are identical! This is a little curious, as DEPECHE MODE started their 2009 tour with a very well-balanced set with seven new songs from the recent ‘Sounds Of The Universe’ album, three rare gems that haven’t been played live in almost 20 years (‘Strangelove’, ‘Master & Servant’, and ‘Fly On The Windscreen’), and enough big hits to please a stadium-size crowd.

In the course of the tour the band dropped the old gems, and some of the new songs, to replace them with songs they’ve done a bazillion times over the years. That the “big three” - ‘Personal Jesus’, ‘Enjoy The Silence’, and ‘Never Let me Down Again’ - are musts at any DEPECHE MODE gig is quite clear. But a song like ‘Policy Of Truth’ is surely not so strong that it has to be featured at every other DEPECHE MODE show. To this effect, the song is one of the redundant tracks of this DVD. And while we’re at it, I know at least three dozen fans who would give each band member a tenner if they would finally drop ‘I Feel You’!

Thankfully ‘Fly On The Windscreen’ made the cut for this DVD release and apart from this it’s the songs with Martin Gore on lead vocals who give the die-hard fans a treat. His acoustic rendition of ‘Dressed In Black’ is pure bliss, and among the bonus tracks he delivers further gems like ‘Sister Of Night’ and ‘One Caress’.

DVD 2 features the usual bonus stuff you find on such DVDs. The documentary ‘Inside The Universe’ is very interesting, very honest and a little shocking, I have to admit. Dave Gahan speaks very openly about ageing and still touring, and that he’s not sure if he could do this for much longer. Maybe a hint that we won’t see DEPECHE MODE touring stadiums for endless months too often in the future! The second DVD also features some of Anton Corbijn’s little films which the band used as projections on stage, three pretty odd “montages”, and the official promo clips of the singles from ‘Sounds Of The Universe’. Highlights are another acoustic number by Gore, the song ‘Insight’, and two songs from the rehearsals in New York City before the tour. ‘Insight’, apparently filmed in Birmingham although the liner notes don’t mention this, is a very intense and excellently sung piano number which will give you goose bumps. ‘Wrong’ and ‘Walking In My Shoes’ from the rehearsals are very raw, direct and powerful. This version of ‘Wrong’ is probably the best you’ve ever heard!

Thankfully both the Deluxe and Super-Deluxe versions of ‘Tour Of The Universe’ also features a double CD with the audio from the filmed concert. It’s not exactly rocket science to rip audio from a DVD but it is nice to have these two audio CDs, after all.

There’s also a Blu-ray version of ‘Tour Of The Universe’, the first DEPECHE MODE Blu-ray ever, but unfortunately I “only” have the DVD version to review. To sum it all up, DEPECHE MODE offer a great package with ‘Tour Of The Universe: Barcelona 20./21.11.2009’. A beautifully filmed concert with a great audience and a well-rehearsed band, and while the extra-features are not really ground-breaking it offers enough for die-hards and casual listeners to make the four-disc edition worth buying. Probably DEPECHE MODE’s best concert movie since ‘Devotional’!


Super deluxe 4-disc version (2xDVD, 2xCD):
DVD1 (a 21 track live performance plus four alternate/bonus tracks)
DVD2 (extra bonus content including documentary and promo videos)
2 x CD (audio of the 21 tracks from DVD1)
Deluxe version (1 x DVD, 2 x CD):
Contains DVD1 and the two audio CDs
Blu-ray (2x Blu-ray discs)

Tracklist (Super Deluxe 4-Disc Version)

Depeche Mode - Tour Of The Universe Barcelona 20/21:11:09


01. In Chains
02. Wrong
03. Hole To Feed
04. Walking In My Shoes
05. It's No Good
06. A Question Of Time
07. Precious
08. Fly On The Windscreen
09. Jezebel
10. Home
11. Come Back
12. Policy Of Truth
13. In Your Room
14. I Feel You
15. Enjoy The Silence
16. Never Let Me Down Again
17. Dressed In Black
18. Stripped
19. Behind The Wheel
20. Personal Jesus
21. Waiting For The Night

-Bonus tracks
World In My Eyes (20th)
Sister Of Night (21st)
Miles Away / The Truth Is (20th)
One Caress (20th)


-Inside The Universe
Tour documentary with subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Hungarian and Czech.

-Tour Of The Universe / Screens
In Chains
Walking In My Shoes
Come Back
Policy Of Truth
Enjoy The Silence
Personal Jesus

-Tour Of The Universe / Rehearsals
Walking In My Shoes

-Bonus tracks
Hole To Feed
Behind The Wheel
Never Let Me Down Again

-Sounds Of The Universe – Videos
Hole To Feed
Fragile Tension

01. In Chains
02. Wrong
03. Hole To Feed
04. Walking In My Shoes
05. It's No Good
06. A Question Of Time
07. Precious
08. Fly On The Windscreen
09. Jezebel
10. Home

01. Come Back
02. Policy Of Truth
03. In Your Room
04. I Feel You
05. Enjoy The Silence
06. Never Let Me Down Again
07. Dressed In Black
08. Stripped
09. Behind The Wheel
10. Personal Jesus
11. Waiting For The Night


Dave Gahan - Lead Vocals
Martin Gore - Guitars, Keyboard, Vocals
Andy Fletcher - Keyboards
Peter Gordeno - Keyboards
Christian Eigner - Drums, Percussion, Keyboard


Cover Picture


Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 10
Extras: 9
Total:  / 10


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