Depeche Mode is in some rarified company. Along with U2 and a few other bands, they have managed to stay both musically relevant and at the same time push massive units throughout all of the 80’s, 90’s, and even today, never repeating themselves, never going backwards, always stretching, expanding, and wandering creatively. From the beginning, and along the way, they’ve spit in the face of genre and created their own musical forms. Much of what is modern day electronica owes its roots to Depeche Mode, and their effect on the new wave, and what would become “modern” rock is undeniable as well.
You’d think after 20 plus years in the biz they’d be content to kick their feet up and stare at glow sticks, but the group is still making music and still searching for a new angle, new sounds, and new ideas. Their latest tour is, from the evidence on their latest concert DVD, Touring the Angel, a revelation. Still present is the old fire. Still there is the attention to detail, the energy, and the endless catalog of hits that you never quite realize Depeche Mode has until they start busting them out one after the other. And the new material is pretty damn impressive as well.
The concert is, visually and aurally, just incredible. I saw them at Dodger Stadium for the Violator tour, and as great as that was, and in light of the fog of retrospect, this one looked better – more vibrant, more energy, and the feast for the eyes. Their design crew, construction, the whole nine, deserve a lot of credit.
Much of the impact is a result of the polished presentation of the DVD itself. Every camera angle is spot on. Every shot gives you what you need; it pushes the music but doesn’t overwhelm it. As great as it would have been to be at this show (which was filmed in Milan), the digital image is a pretty good substitute and I’d say you actually get a better view. Obviously, nothing can replace the raw experience of being there – the crowd, the excitement, and the energy.
If you have some kind of idea stuck in your head the Mode is outdated, old, or past their prime, you need to rethink it. Because to me, and I’ve been a casual fan for most of the 20 years, they look sharper than ever. And the new music, at least the bit I’ve heard, is their best since Violator. This disc is well worth the pickup- the music, the show, and just the realization as you're watching it.
As I mentioned, of what an ungodly amount of beautiful and original songs that you know by heart, they keep belting out one after the other. And the timeless quality of their music, it could be 80’s, 90’s, or today, but it all blends into the Mode. It’s an inspiring thing, cause these guys really seem like they care about putting on a show, about touching people, at least for that few hours they’re in the same stadium together. That’s something you just can’t put a price on, which is why they continue to pack arenas wherever they go.Powered by Sidelines