Depeche Mode: Live Last Night
By Mark Jenkins
Roughly rendered, Depeche Mode means "fast fashion,'' a phrase that seemed increasingly inappropriate as the British band lumbered through a two-hour concert Tuesday night at Nissan Pavilion. Rarely has a pop group earned such devotion playing such draggy material.
The band, which began 29 years ago with sprightly synth-pop, now plays mostly ballads, dirges and marches, relieved by the occasional midtempo disco beat. At Nissan, the trio and its two longtime accompanists started slow with "In Chains'' and "Wrong,'' uninspired new songs. But the show's pulse quickened in its second half, which featured more material from the group's late-'80s peak.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
The music combined simple keyboard motifs, skeleton-rattling beats and bleak lyrics. The best-known of the latter were often ceded to the audience by singer Dave Gahan, who encouraged the crowd to take the refrains of such glumly catchy tunes as "Stripped.'' Behind Gahan, a video screen illustrated diverse themes: universal brotherhood, space exploration and -- during "Strangelove'' -- foot fetishism.
Principal songwriter Martin Gore played guitar for most of the show, but it was audible chiefly during intros, outros or riffs unnecessarily transcribed from the original versions's keyboard melodies. The only song transformed by guitar was "Personal Jesus,'' which became a twangy blues-rocker. More such alchemy, and a few added uptempo songs, would have been welcome.
Openers Peter, Bjorn and John expanded such blithe ditties as "Young Folks'' with dance-club timbres and arena-rock flourishes. The bigger sound didn't seem entirely fitting, but the Swedish trio's songs proved sturdy enough to withstand the treatment.
By David Malitz |
July 29, 2009; 11:09 AM ET
Live Last Night
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