Depeche Mode - Staples Center - September 28, 2013
Depeche Mode shadow danced into town aboard the Delta Machine tour at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday. On the first of a three-night stint, the arrival of the Essex-bred quintet was sure to make every aging goth/emo/new wave fan around SoCal bust out the eyeliner and black, patent leather corsets.
Clocking in at 33 years together as a band, Dave Gahan and his posse of darkwave dance mavens put on a highly theatrical two-hour show that left little to be desired when all was said and done. Fabulous sound quality? Check! Did they come out on time and play many of their old hits along with the new? Check and check!! Can Dave Gahan still shake his money maker and slither around on stage like a white viper in heat? You bet your sweet twerkin' ass he can!
After a frightening battle with bladder cancer in 2009, Gahan's stage bravado is as flamboyantly darkwave as ever, giving a big "piss off" to the notion that anything (including the big C) can keep him from fulfilling his destiny as the reigning king of morose synth-pop.
After opening the show with the first two tracks off the band's new album Delta Machine, ("Welcome to My World" and "Angel"), The Mode gave us old-school fans what we came for--a full arsenal of DM classics like "Policy of Truth," "Black Celebration," and "Precious." Highlights of the show included acoustic versions of "Shake the Disease" and "But Not Tonight," both sung by primary songwriter and founding member of the band, Martin Gore.
And much like the masterful professionals they are, Depeche Mode gave us a kick-ass encore, which included "Home" and "Never Let Me Down Again" to close out the night.
Critic's Bias: As someone who came of age listening to bands from the 80's and 90's, it was nice to see Gahan use the mic stand as a major stage prop, a la Steven Tyler, Axl Rose and other slithery-footed frontmen of my day.
The Crowd: Primarily aging goths and new wave fans in their 30's and 40's. Lots of black make-up caked in creased skin and thigh-high bondage boots.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Oh my God, They are still so awesome"!! (Said a 30-plus old goth lady in an XXL red leather corset to my left.)