It was a hot, steamy, humid ticket at the Minnesota State Fair for the sold out Depeche Mode live show with opening act Bat For Lashes on August 27th 2013. Their first visit to the Twin Cities since 2001, the trio of Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Andy Fletcher (keyboards) with assistance from Christian Eigner (drums) and Pete Gordeno (keyboards, vocals) rocked the house with an energetic set of twenty-one songs to a backdrop of beautiful visuals by long time video collaborator Anton Corbijn.

The set, which was heavily laced with songs from the new record, Delta Machine, flowed well and included a number of favorites.

Highlights included Walking in my Shoes, Policy of Truth, Enjoy The Silence, Personal Jesus, Just Can’t Get Enough (written by former DM member Vince Clark who went on to form Yazoo (Yaz) with Alison Moyet) and Never Let Me Down Again. It seems that some longed for a few more old hits, but I felt the show was well rounded and I’m enjoying the new album much more now that I’ve seen them perform so much of it live.

Dave Gahan was in top form physically and vocally—holding up the rock star end of the deal.

He worked the entire stage and engaged the crowd a few times with a bit of audience participation, including on the pop-rock All I Ever Wanted. Martin Gore, who has been the primary writer since 2001, delivered some beautiful vocal performances as well, particularly the stripped down piano/vocal duet, Shake the Disease, which took on a Freddie Mercury-ish feel reminiscent of some of Queen’s more jazz/cabaret-influenced work.

statefair_cooldownCooling stations dotted the fairgrounds as people tried to escape the heat.

Lately, there has been an influx of bands heavily rooted in electronics that have been touring without a dedicated drummer. Thankfully, Depeche Mode is not in that camp! The live drums made a huge impact on the overall performance, bringing backbone to the music so often neglected with many gear-dependent acts.

For me at least, visuals are such an important part of a show—especially when the band’s music video library has staked as large a place in my memory as the music.

The Depeche Mode visual effects brought back a familiar noir club vibe of the late 80s and early 90s and included random cuts to the darkly clad masked trio injected with bits of humor, political statements and many visually interesting effects. The fire and sparks effects on Should Be Higher and the Apple-esque dancing girl in I Feel You stood out for me.

RTC_fairHere I am up in the nosebleeds.
We moved to get some space from the sweaty crowd. Still sounded great!

I could have got my glowstick on a number of times, but alas, no glowsticks for sale at the merch table. Next time?

Set List
1. Welcome To My World (Delta Machine 2013)
2. Angel (Delta Machine 2013)
3. Walking in My Shoes (Songs of Faith and Devotion 1993)
4. Precious (Playing the Angel 2005)
5. Black Celebration (Black Celebration 1986)
6. Policy of Truth (Violator 1990)
7. Should Be Higher (Delta Machine 2013)
8. Barrel of a Gun (Ultra 1997)
9. Higher Love (sung by Martin) (Songs of Faith and Devotion 1993)
10. Shake the Disease (The Singles 81-85)(Acoustic; sung by Martin)
11. Heaven (Delta Machine 2013) (visually awesome)
12. Soothe My Soul (Delta Machine 2013)
13. A Pain That I’m Used To (‘Jacques Lu Cont’s Remix’ version)(Playing The Angel 2005)
14. A Question of Time (single 1986) (punk pop beat)
15. Enjoy the Silence (Violator 1990)
16. Personal Jesus (Violator 1990)

17. Home  (Acoustic) (Ultra 1997)
18. Halo (Originally Violator 1990—Remixes 81- 04 (‘Goldfrapp Remix’)
19. Just Can’t Get Enough (Speak & Spell 1981)
20. I Feel You (Songs of Faith and Devotion 1993)
21. Never Let Me Down Again (Music For The Masses 1987)

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