Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Depeche Mode still wields sonic might

On Saturday, Nov. 19, it was time to make the trek to San Diego's ipayOne Center to see Depeche Mode. I didn't know what to expect because I had been playing the band's latest disc, "Playing the Angel," for a few days before the show and honestly was mixed on the CD.

But Depeche Mode didn't disappoint, and neither did the material from their new disc. Leading off with "A Pain That I'm Used to" and leading into "blues-tinged "John the Revelator," the new material was wonderful and blended well with the electronica act's classic material drawn from its seminal '80s and '90s releases.

Lead singer Dave Gahan remains most of rock's most energetic frontmen, and would pace and incite the crowd while twirling and getting many in the crowd to scream. And armed with a setlist that included propulsive songs such as "Behind the Wheel," "Personal Jesus" (featuring Martin Gore delivering some distinctive guitar work), "Policy of Truth" and "Enjoy the Silence," the concert grew stronger over its two-hour length. And with the well-crafted encore - including "Everything Counts" and "Nver Let Me Down Again" - the audience seemed as if it could dance all night.

I would love to tell you what Andrew Fletcher was doing behind his sci-fi styled console, but I really couldn't tell you. Despite my great view of him (I was seated to the side and he was often the only one I could see on stage clearly), he adds little to the proceedings. That made it even more clear how talented Gahan and Gore are as Depeche Mode continues to amaze fans and challenge itself musically.

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