VOYAGES OF RC! Depeche Mode – The Delta Machine Tour w/ Bat for Lashes @ BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL (9/15/13)
At a time when 80’s new wave bands are struggling to stay relevant, Depeche Mode breaks free from all conventions. Judging from their looks and display of high energy, you’d NEVER know these musicians were in their 50s. Not only is this British electronic new wave band moving better than musicians half their age, they are doing so, all while filling up arenas capable of holding 15,000 people or more, just as they did Sunday night (9/15/13) appearing at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL on the Delta Machine Tour.
Before Depeche Mode would take the stage, Natasha Khan a/k/a Bat For Lashes opened the evening to deliver her dramatic goth-inspired set reminiscent of The Cure, Kate Bush and Bjork. While it was a great opportunity, the BB&T Center may have been a bit less accommodating for a band better suited for performing in a tiny, dark venue.
Khan was clothed in a gorgeous floor length, black and white striped, backless gown. Her sultry presence clearly matching the mood of each song, as she gently writhed around the stage area allotted for her band. They closed out the set with the simply steamy, dreamy tune, ‘Daniel,’ but by now, you could tell that the audience was patient, yet anticipating the headlining act.
Dave Gahan, at the tender age of 51, sweat, swaggered and swooned the audience, and he did so while enjoying every moment. If this was work for Gahan, you could hardly tell, as he wore a perma-smile the entire night. And moves, well not likely those like Jagger, but certainly intense. He gyrated, he spun and he swirled himself around. He even swirled, while he twirled his mic stand like baton.
After the opening song, ‘Welcome to My World’ off Delta Machine, Gahan disrobed and revealed his black vest with gold backing. He continued the vest theme for the entire evening, switching them out during the night, but at one point, the vest would come off completely.
Before getting too sexy, Depeche Mode found a way to tap into the most emotional parts of the audience when they performed ‘Precious’ with a backdrop of dogs displayed sitting on a sidewalk, one at a time. I think I got a lump in my throat. Thankfully, they quickly took us out of the somber moment when they kicked it up a notch with ‘Black Celebration’. The evenings’ mood was accurately summed up with ‘Soothe My Soul,’ a track from the latest album, Delta Machine, as Gahan leapt onto a riser to shamelessly shook his tail feather.
Despite Gahan’s attractive and enjoyable display of energy, head songwriter, Martin Gore was capable of capturing the attention of the audience during his solo moments during songs ‘Home ‘ and ‘But Not Tonight’. Surely, Gore had his work cut out for him, as Gahan’s “in-your-face” audience appeals would be hard to match. And, where was Gahan during all of this? Adoring his bandmate, Gore with graceful bows.
For a band that has been in existence over 30 years, Depeche Mode has also found a way to successfully integrate their greatest hits with new material. A monstrous feat that has boggled the minds of established bands for years.
‘Enjoy the Silence’ off their 1990 album, Violator, was performed with a sexy video backdrop looping incremental movements of nude female contortionists being filmed whilst lying upon glass. During this sexy display, Gore takes center stage to play his electric guitar.
Now, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t hear them perform, ‘Personal Jesus,’ which began with a very slow tempo, but eventually found its way up to the more recognizable tempo. Everyone would ultimately oblige Gahan’s request to “reach out and touch faith.”
The concert would soon come to an end, but not before a five song encore and not before he turned us all on by tugging upon his low-rise waistband during ‘I Feel You.’ When does this love affair between Gahan and the audience end? Hopefully, not too soon because we still hadn’t yet experienced early 80’s Depeche Mode. Then it happens, their 1981 hit single, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough.’
After sincerely enjoying an evening with Depeche Mode, a band filled with a rich and colorful history, it becomes clear that not only is this is a band we have all matured with, but a band that has truly matured with its fans.
Depeche Mode setlist:
Welcome to My World
Walking in My Shoes
Policy of Truth
Should Be Higher
Barrel of a Gun
The Child Inside
But Not Tonight
(Acoustic: Sung by Martin)
Soothe My Soul
A Pain That I’m Used To
(‘Jacques Lu Cont’s Remix’ version)
A Question of Time
Enjoy the Silence
(‘Goldfrapp Remix’ version)
Just Can’t Get Enough
I Feel You
Never Let Me Down Again