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Forced To ModeKulttempel, Oberhausen, Germany
17th April 2022
Forced To Mode - “2 x 20 Singles”

40 DEPECHE MODE songs in two shows – that’s what FORCED TO MODE had to offer on Easter weekend at Kulttempel Oberhausen. I showed up for the second one which was part of their 20+20 program. With that they planned to celebrate the 40th band birthday of their heroes in 2020. But due to Covid restrictions the concerts had to be postponed multiple times. Now they could finally play the shows. And for the first time in eleven years of FORCED TO MODE the trio of Christian Schottstädt, Thomas Schernikau and Matthias Kahra put some songs of the “past Alan Wilder-era” in their sets.

Music & Performance
So why do you go to a tribute band concert? There are some possible reasons: 1. The original band doesn’t exist anymore. 2. The original band sounds shitty live nowadays. 3. The original band wants too much money for a ticket. 4. The original band doesn’t play lots of your favourite songs anymore. In case of DEPECHE MODE, we can exclude the first two points. But especially the fourth one critically hits every time when the Berlin trio enters the stage. In their classic “keys, guitar and voice with drums coming from tape”-line-up they started with a tune from 1985 that writer Martin Gore absolutely hates. ‘It’s Called A Heart’ is one of those songs die-hard-fans mostly like. In Oberhausen it seemed that not everyone knew this old non-album-single. But soon the atmosphere changed completely with the ‘Violator’ classic ‘Policy Of Truth’.

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FORCED TO MODE really sound close to the original but in some songs they are adding different or extra sounds to their versions. ‘I Feel Loved’ (another one original DM never play), the only danceable song of the super-calm ‘Exciter’ LP from 2001, pounded really hard due to some additional drumbeats. There was a short vibe of NITZER EBB or SPETSNAZ in the room - cool stuff without any doubts. But if you travel through 40 years of history, atmospheres come and go. ‘Strangelove’ and ‘Leave In Silence’ showed a more romantic side, before the “lyrical monster” and the “keyboard monster” followed. Singer Christian joked about the amount of text he had to learn for ‘Wrong’, after that Thomas presented his keyboard skills und explained why it is so difficult to play ‘Suffer Well’; the piece written by Dave Gahan consists of eight completely different tones, samples and melodies.

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Fortunately his fingers got a bit of rest then. For ‘Condemnation’ and ‘A Question Of Lust’, Thomas grabbed the microphone and proved how fantastic he is as a singer as well. Remember: A great DEPECHE MODE tribute is only a great DEPECHE MODE tribute when you got a second man with a higher voice being able to sing the infamous Martin Gore ballads. After a lot of “deep cuts”, the second half of the evening brought up hit after hit. People chant along loudly, in between Christian praised the invention of “water on stage”: “You know, having water on stage is that important. Because’re so hot!” Everybody laughed about that “pickup line”. In general, there was a great connection between band and audience who claimed to come back to Oberhausen in September (although nothing seems to be officially confirmed now). The climax was the “101 finish couple”, it seemed that everybody knew the lyrics of ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and ‘Everything Counts’. Christian stated “ok, that’s it for tonight” - but if you counted the songs, you would have known that there had been only 19.

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So, there was another one coming to wrap it all up. And if there is a tune named ‘Cover Me’ it absolutely makes sense to play it as a cover band, right? So, a fantastic evening with fantastic music, musicians and fans ended - definitely it was worth the wait!

01. It’s Called A Heart
02. Policy Of Truth
03. I Feel Loved
04. Strangelove
05. Leave In Silence
06. Wrong
07. Suffer Well
08. Condemnation
09. A Question Of Lust
10. Blasphemous Rumours
11. Behind The Wheel
12. Barrel Of A Gun
13. A Question Of Time
14. In Your Room
15. Enjoy The Silence
16. Home
17. People Are People
18. Just Can’t Get Enough
19. Everything Counts
20. Cover Me

For completion, here is Saturday’s setlist
01. Martyr
02. World In My Eyes
03. Walking In My Shoes
04. Love In Itself
05. Shake The Disease
06. See You
07. Stripped
08. I Want You Now
09. Heaven
10. It’s No Good
11. Master & Servant
12. I Feel You
13. Little 15
14. Where’s The Revolution
15. Personal Jesus
16. Somebody
17. But Not Tonight
18. Dreaming Of Me
19. Never Let Me Down Again
20. Goodnight Lovers

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9.3 / 10

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All pictures from the Saturday show by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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